Hiring an intern is a lot like hiring an employee in that most companies want to use internships as an interactive method for future prospects. The difficulty with internships in general is that you're working with mostly college students, or entry level applicants that require a lot of training.
Fortunately, hiring a marketing-specific intern has shown to be a much wiser investment as young and inexperienced interns have been exposed to marketing techniques and advertisements their entire lives. Between mobile apps, social media, blogging, and creative content production most of the younger demographics bring a fresh perspective your small business can greatly benefit from.
Finding the right intern is as much about what you can offer them, as they can offer your company. Here are three primary steps to selecting the best intern to work for your company.
Step 1: Should You Even Hire An Intern?
Oh yes, step number one is all about determining whether a marketing internship program is even right for your business. Internships require a lot of responsibility, especially when it comes to the length you intend on keeping an intern busy. One and done assignments aren't fair to potential prospects, and it won't give your business a good reputation for future applicants.
You should only hire an intern if you:
- You feel your business can benefit from the perspective of a younger demographic
- Have enough free time to train and educate them
- Can offer base pay, fulfill their college requirement, or both
Do not hire an intern if you:
- Intend on having them do basic administrative work
- Haven't gotten your whole team to agree on the internship program
- Aren't willing to be open minded to their perspective.
Step 2: Where To Find The Best Candidates
Making it to this step means you're still ready to start looking for an intern that would mold well with your company. This step is also where many businesses get stuck as it's not always obvious where the best interns exist. Simply put, most interns will be waiting for you at universities and on the internet, but to be more specific:
- College and university job boards - Every college and university in your area has specific pages on their website devoted to job postings and internship opportunities. Get in touch with the with the school to get your posting listed, which might require a small fee, but most are free.
- Job Fairs - Job fairs are one of the best ways to meet potential interns because it requires face to face interaction. Marketing is all about interpersonal communication and being able to show up confidently, the same qualities should be present in your interns.
- Resources On The Web - Young interns intuitively seek out all sorts of different mediums to find the right opportunity. Try and make a posting on Craigslist.org, SimplyHired.com, or Internships.com just so you know all of your bases are covered. Finding interns on the web is also crucial for towns that may not have a university or community college nearby.
As you seek out your interns try to keep in mind that college students have limited availability during their semester's. If you can offer an internship full time over summer, especially if it is paid, you'll be much more likely to retain an intern full time.
Step 3: What Qualities To Look For
Marketing is a facet to business that has many parallels across different industries, especially when it comes to the tools and techniques responsible for an effective marketing campaign. All businesses have different needs, and so here are five basic traits to look for in your marketing intern applicants:1. Excellent Writing Capabilities
Marketing nowadays involves a plethora of unique skills but one that has never changed is the ability to write effectively. The written word continues to power our blog posts, commercial advertisements and is a crucial aspect to communicating through email.
Ask your intern to submit some writing samples, or prompt them to write something describing their outlook on your business and how they'd approach running a marketing campaign. A lack of writing skills should be an immediate red flag.
2. Confidence and Extroversion
There are many careers that allow us to be out of they public eye, but unfortunately marketing isn't really one of them. Look for applicants that look you in the eye, and can carry a conversation. Marketing involves a lot of interpersonal relations and the best marketing interns should be confident enough in themselves to help represent your company.
3. Social Media Proficiency and Appearance
Social media is constantly evolving. In order for your company to keep up with the trends you'll want an intern that knows how to use a variety of platforms front to back.
In addition, marketing interns should apply to your business with the expectation that you might check up on their personal profiles. If anything stands out to you on their public profile as unprofessional it's wise to keep looking as your employees end up being ambassadors to your brand.
4. Leadership Experience
While it's unlikely your intern will be managing your marketing campaign, having leadership experience is a large benefit to working with a team and accomplishing goals.
Leadership skills also teach us to act independently, while leading through example opposed to telling people what to do. Having an intern capable of self-motivation will greatly increase their value to your company.
5. A Knack For Creativity
Modern marketing tactics know no-bounds. Between video, photography, graphic design, writing, and music it's essential that a good marketing intern can chip in on creative projects. High-quality content should be one of your highest goals for your marketing campaign, and your intern should possess a few, if not many, creative skill sets.