Interns can be a great addition to a team if they are leveraged in the right way. They can bring new perspective, fill existing gaps on your team, and expand skills you didn't know you needed. Let's talk about how to get the peak performance out of your interns.
Why Hire an Intern?
For the past 5 years, I have been helping develop our internship program at Acadia.
I’ll admit in the beginning, we had a few skeptics within the team. Would an internship program be successful for us?
First, we identified our primary area of need for interns. We decided it was our marketing team as our new Omnibound™ process was going to be rolling out.
Second, we established the basic criteria for our internship program:
Attend local university career fairs
Focus on Juniors and Seniors studying marketing/sales
Students should fit and enhance our company culture
We will assign real, client marketing/sales projects
Determine flexible schedule needed
Will it be internship-to-hire or internship only
Schedule weekly intern meetings
The actual process of hiring an intern is a topic to address another time.
How to Engage Your Interns after Hire
We made the decision to offer the interns real projects (rather than coffee runs and errands) in hopes the program would be a win-win; we needed help with rolling out projects and the interns wanted to learn and acquire work experience. We found our program to be very successful.
We gave them responsibility and challenged them to complete tasks without being micromanaged, with the understanding you have to provide guidance, support, and collaboration.
Not only did the students get the real-world experience and benefit from our knowledge, but we learned from them too. They brought fresh, new ideas and excitement to our team. They were able to apply new methodologies and tools they were learning in class to our real projects.
Our interns have helped us with:
Social media metrics
To summarize, keep an open mind about what an intern may bring to your marketing team. It may be a fresh perspective, a new tool or process. Also, mutual respect is important to make the relationship work. They will learn from you, just as you can learn from them.