Summer is coming...do you ever hire interns?

Back in my college days, I spent multiple summers and semesters as an intern working for several different advertising agencies and package design firms in San Francisco (pre-social media days LOL). It was some of the best education I received. I still fondly remember those days!

Have you ever hired an intern?
Do you have a formal intern program?
How many interns do you have at once?
How long is the term?
Do they have direct client account access?
Where do you find them?
Are they paid :dollar: or just college credit?
What’s the biggest thing they get out of working with you?
What’s the biggest thing you get out of working with them?

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Yes, I have but I just can not do it again, can not stretch myself any thinner than I am. It is a huge commitment. They got college credit and were paid. The term was for the full summer.

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ahhh yes…the training! It’s so important for both the agency and the intern! I remember back in the day…there wasn’t any at some places…I going to date myself, but I spent hours standing in front of a copy machine at a PR agency in Hollywood looking for client gossip stuff to clip while learning nothing, but at a TV station I got tons of hands-on training helping the graphics department.

These days I think there are lots of tasks that an intern can do and if you do some planning they can still learn a ton. If I was hiring, I’d set it up like a “day in the life” of a social media manager…that intern would then get exposure to so many real world things!

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As a former college professor who helped place lots and lots of interns (and helped them get academic credit), I’m really interested in this topic!!

Specifically:

  • are colleges easy to work with to help a student get credit or can this process be improved?

  • Is it easier to hire an intern as a w-2 employee, a contractor, or pay a stipend directly to the university?

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I never interned anywhere. I wish I had, but I honestly had no idea what I even wanted to do! I just think it would have given me some very worthwhile perspective on the working experience.

I have personally hired several interns for my own business. In all cases, I paid them, made sure they’d get some level of school credit, and put it on their resume. I even took one of my interns, who was interested in the beauty industry, down to NYC to have meetings with some of my old beauty industry colleagues. In all cases, however, I definitely underutilized them; in the future I’d be clearer on their tasks and give them greater challenges. Each of them worked for me for just a summer.

I didn’t have them working on anything for clients, just on my own business, but they did sit in on client meetings so they could see what I did in action. They saved me a lot of time on stuff that didn’t really need to be done by me personally, and they definitely discovered that doing things hands-on was trickier than learning theoretically or just doing personal social media.

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Would love to hear your thoughts on using interns in your agencies @lee @EddieGarrison @jencoleict @jonathan @shaun @joanna1 @jackie.benjamin @savannah

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I never hire interns. We’re a small agency and I just don’t have time to train someone. I only hire people with experience who can hit the ground running.

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Hmm … it depends on what you mean by intern. I’ve always associated this term with the US more than the UK. Rightly or wrongly, to me, it says ‘unpaid work experience for people just out of education/at the start of their career.’

I’ve never expected anyone to work for free for me, even if they have no experience - we all have to start somewhere & we all have value.

If the work and experience offered is unpaid it can exclude people from certain backgrounds. If you come from a well-off family, you may be able to take this type of position, in the knowledge that there’s someone back home to help pay the bills. For others who have no-one to turn to for support, or very limited resources, it means that they have to pass up the opportunity. That seems unfair to me.

Everyone I’ve hired has brought value with them - a different perspective, humour, hard work, knowledge outside of what I do or my own background, skills I didn’t even think I needed.

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I agree Joanna. Everyone has value and unpaid work is not possible for everyone so it creates a situation where the advantage can only go to people who can afford to not be paid.

I work in UK government comms and we usually have a GCS intern for the summer. For the last 2 years we’ve also had a Change 100 intern - this is an internship for university students and recent graduates with any disability or long-term condition. Which I would hugely recommend. All our interns are paid.

Although working with interns includes an investment of time at the beginning of the programme, they have always been worth the effort - they offer enthusiasm and fresh perspectives. It’s also an opportunity for teams to learn mentoring and line management skills.

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Many internships these days are done for pay (although probably not that great) or college credit. Totally agree with you about hiring people who bring value!

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Love this perspective! Thanks for sharing Anna!

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Ruth,

All of my student interns are being hired as 1099 contractors. I’ve asked a local CPA to come to speak to my students about the financial implications and how they can prepare themselves at year-end.

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So smart Krissy!! The sooner they learn that the better prepared they will be! (ps great to see you here!)

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I can’t send them to the wolves, Deb! :rofl:

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We’re very similar to, Samantha. We’re a smaller agency so we need people that come in and start immediately with just minor guidance on our procedures, workflow, CRM, etc. Perhaps when we grow (yeah!) would would look at hiring interns at that point. But for right now, we like things just the way they are.

Personally I wouldn’t mind being in more of a teaching role when/if we ever hired on interns. At one point at University I was going to get my Doctorate to become a teacher. But I stopped at a Masters to pursue my own career.

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Funny story…my son took Financial Algebra and Calculus his Junior year in high school. He is a college Junior now…still says the class that made the biggest impact and he learned the most in was that Financial Algebra class…which was basically real-world finances. I can see what you are doing having a HUGE impact on your students!

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Thanks for sharing your perspective @EddieGarrison …I think both you and @savannah have interesting points. Hitting the ground running is critical for smaller agencies! I’m looking forward to our Social Pulse Academy helping prepare students for just such occasions. In fact, @ruthbinman it might be cool down the line to have an intern prep course in the Social Pulse Academy!

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@ruthbinman in my opinion, the colleges I have worked with are very nice and understanding. I started my business by hiring interns to help me get it off the ground. It worked very well. I also enjoyed the fact that I could pour into them! At Wholesome Media I would much prefer to pay them as a contractor rather than not pay them at all. That is just my experience.

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What did you get your masters in @EddieGarrison?

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Hey @linaburgjeremy I received my Masters in Sociology.

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