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Interns Can Help, If…

internThere’s so many great reasons to hire interns 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.

In a nutshell…

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

Do let them do important jobs like research, give you feedback on your campaigns, actively participate in strategy meetings, create video interviews, and much more.

Also, check out the comments below for examples from real people having good success with hiring interns.

Now write up a job description before looking for an intern.

Second, Choose the Right Intern

Never underestimate the interview and selection process, which includes talking to references.

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:

6 Must-Ask Interview Questions for Interns

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.

Positive Intern Experiences

Check out the existing comments below, from those with intern experiences. Leave some new comments if you have some good experiences or warnings to share.

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Val Nelson

Val Nelson

I’ve been a self-employed career/business/purpose coach since 2009. I help introverts and HSPs (like me) who want to make a difference — in a way that fits our practical needs too.
[More about Val, coaching, and courses.]

I appreciate feedback, good and bad. You can comment below or contact me privately.

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6 thoughts on “Interns Can Help, If…”

  1. 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!

    1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

    1. 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!

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