As an innovative competitor, you know the value of a good marketing intern. With emerging social technology advancing at an unprecedented rate, it pays to have a fresh set of eyes. You’ve posted on Upwork, Indeed and the local college job boards. You have a good pool of candidates to sift through, but which candidate will match your investment of time & money? Which candidate will offer new insights, and push organizational goals to new levels?
There are several considerations when making your decision, but perhaps the first thing is to address the goals and expectations of your internship program. If your only goal is to stuff envelopes, answer phones, and deal with the overwhelming backlog of necessary filing, then perhaps a good secretary is in order. If your team is ready to coach and invest in the development and future growth of your company, set new marketing expectations, and find new insights, you need a good marketing intern.
Another important factor is your current marketing strategy. Maybe your current marketing objectives are project oriented, like the launch of a new website. Perhaps your concerns are related to the ongoing maintenance of your social media presence.
These days there is a lot of niche work out there. However, the perfect intern for your team probably brings a little exposure to a broad range of marketing activities. Some examples may include, generating a regular and active social media presence or professional and clear, “cross platform” communication skills (the ability to communicate effectively on more than one social platform). In a growing world of content marketing and SEO optimization, precise writing skills are a must, and familiarity with accessible research tools is always helpful. Keep an eye out for candidates with website development, and design experience, they can offer key insights into your current internet presence.
So, you’ve narrowed it down to the applicants you think might bring the most relevant experience to the table. Now how do you tell which one is the right “fit.” Just like finding a long-term employee, selecting the right intern means figuring out how your prospective addition will work with others and behave in professional situations.
What kind of energy does the individual bring to the table. Do they have passion? Are they hungry? Remember taking on an intern is a big investment; you don’t have time to waste on people that don’t display the same level of engagement as the rest of the team. An internship may not be a long-term job, but a good intern treats every opportunity as if it were long-term.
Critical thinking skills are imperative for your new apprentice. The ability to take information from several sources, and understand the appropriate response is just as important as the necessary initiative and drive to act. Remember an intern is completing their education process. It is crucial that they not only ask questions, but that they ask the right questions.
One of the best things an intern can bring, is a special sense of honesty, and humility. Once you have found these qualities, look to nurture and support them by encouraging open dialog. In the same way, It’s important to take the time to identify a candidate that actively promotes open communication with you.
At the end of the day remember, look at each prospective intern as if she might one day be permanent. What kinds of traits do you look for in a long-term employee? Start leveraging these few tools and suggestions when you are considering the next step for your internship program. Chances are, you may have underestimated the role a good marketing intern could play in your organization.