Interns Can Help, If…

internThere’s so many great reasons to hire interns (especially for help with new media) and we all seem to want their help. But, so much gets in the way, right?

You search, you interview, they start…they stop showing up, or you don’t know what to give them… and you stop trying.

Yet, some people manage to make it work! People are using interns for help with social media marketing, technical jobs, video storytelling, and more. I’ve been collecting their secrets for you.

First, Choose the Right Things to Delegate

It’s not easy to turn over your projects to someone else, much less someone who you’re not sure is that invested or experienced. The  trick is to delegate the right things.

I think you’ll find yourself relaxing your shoulders when you see this list of specific and helpful ideas for what to delegate to interns when it comes to social media marketing projects:

10 Social Media Tasks for Interns (by Aaron Uhrmacher, social media consultant)

In a nutshell…

Don’t let an intern be the one to develop your social media strategy, be your primary voice in social media, or make decisions about how to measure success.

Do let them do important jobs like research, giving you feedback on your campaigns, creating video interviews, and much more.

Read the article for some great specifics on how to make it work. Then start writing that intern job description.

Second, Choose the Right Intern

Never underestimate the interview and selection process.

It’s hard to know what to ask someone who has minimal job experience, so here’s a great cheat sheet for you. These questions will elicit what you need to know:

Interviewing Interns (by Jim Taft, Executive Coach)

It’s Time To Go Searching

Once you’ve got your job description and your interview questions ready, it’s time to post your job and find those interns.

If you need someone soon, try listing on:

If you can wait about six months for them to start, contact your local colleges for intern options. This is the ideal way to get someone with relevant interests, and with an added level of commitment if they’re getting credit.

Feedback?

What has worked for you? Please leave your comment below. It only takes a minute and you’ll get a link back to your website.

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  • Aaron Uhrmacher

    Thanks for including my post. I really believe that interns are an undervalued commodity these days. If an organization is going to invest the time to find good people, why not let them help with the areas that not only spark their interest, but continue to befuddle companies of all sizes?

    Keep ’em coming!

    • Thanks for stopping by Aaron. I appreciate your expert opinion!

      I absolutely agree that we need to let people contribute in the areas where they have that spark. Being successful today requires letting go of control.

  • I haven’t had a chance to read Aaron Uhrmacher’s article but yesterday I just wrapped up another successful summer internship.
    What makes them work for me are three basic things:

    Know what you’re looking for and why you want an intern.
    Challenge them-don’t waste budding talent with trips to Staples.
    Lastly, I let them challenge me, giving them freedom and encouragement to ask why we do things the way we do.

    Managing interns is a lot like managing other employees. My experience in management is that people like and respond to challenges, clearly defined roles and responsibilities, and room to perform.

    • Dan, I’m so glad you stopped by to tell us your experience with interns because I’ve seen what amazing success you’ve had with your interns. The stuff your recent summer intern did for you was top notch and I think it’s exactly for the reasons you said. Thanks!

  • Great topic, Val!
    I have been hiring interns and working with the local colleges for about 6 years. I have found that the best way to get the most qualified interns is to advertise early. If you want an intern for the spring, start getting the word out in October. The students who respond to this are the ones who realize the need to plan ahead, see the importance of an internship and aren’t just trying to fill empty space in their schedules, and are actively searching for their next opportunity. The longer you wait, the more the quality goes down. If you start advertising in January, you will most likely end up with someone who didn’t plan well and is now scrambling to pick up the pieces. Do you want someone like this on your team?
    Also, try advertising beyond the career centers and regular internship posting sites. Word of mouth is huge, especially if you network with admins or professors in the college setting. They know the right people to connect with.

    • Fantastic points Angela!! Thanks for taking time to tell about your experience with interns.