Bringing interns into your business these days is commonplace. And finding marketing interns is often not very difficult. You can easily recruit an intern by using online college job boards, career fairs and other events where potential interns might network.
The more important question is whether or not your business should hire a marketing intern in the first place. What value can a marketing intern bring to the table? We’ll break down three reasons you should consider adding a marketing intern to your team—and then cover a few reasons that don’t cut the mustard.
Marketing Interns Are Tech Savvy
Many marketing interns will have bountiful experience working with social media and at least a passing familiarity with other marketing tools. If you recruit them from local colleges, it’s likely they will have learned about online business practices and how to curate a professional social media presence from their classwork.
In fact, in many instances you and your team might learn as much from your intern as they learn from you. A good marketing intern will offer perspective and fresh insight into your existing online presence and marketing endeavors.
A Marketing Intern Might Be Your Next Hire
Internship programs are a great way to vet or nurture future employees. If you offer a great experience and the intern performs well, you’ve shortcut the hiring process, and will be able to bypass much on-the-job training, too. In this sense, an internship is almost like an eight-week interview.
This is a good reason to put a lot of effort into finding a great marketing intern in the first place. Make sure you have a culture fit, because while you might be stuck with them forever, an intern who doesn’t work well with your existing team will not a great future employee make—even if they’re highly competent otherwise.
Marketing Interns Bring Enthusiasm and Value
Finally, marketing interns are usually highly motivated and enthusiastic, because if they apply, they truly want to be at your company. By definition, they aren’t there for the pay—they are there to contribute, prove themselves and gain job experience.
If you allow them to, interns can add value to your team, bring in fresh ideas and be a vibrant addition to your company culture.
Here’s the caveat: None of the above perks are worth much if you hire an intern for the wrong reasons. For example, if you’re hiring an intern just to outsource your coffee-fetching and pencil-sharpening to a new bottom rung, rethink your decision.
If you want a valuable intern, you must first allow them to contribute in interesting and valuable ways. Think about THEIR position: what would they happily gain in exchange for a meager income? The answer is marketable experience that’s attractive to future companies and helps them grow professionally.
If you aren’t letting marketing interns contribute, as well as helping to guide them by providing a support network, you aren’t going to gain much from them. Your intern might quit or perform poorly, and they certainly won’t evangelize for your company within their network. But the biggest tragedy is that you won’t benefit from an intern’s ideas, input and perspective.
At this point, one might object that hiring a marketing intern seems like a lot of work. And that’s correct. If you’re hoping to gain long-term value from your interns and internship program, it’ll take effort both during the hiring process and throughout the internship.
Interns aren’t a simple fix to your organization’s chores. Internships need to be a fair exchange of value. If you offer a great work environment, real experience and a structure for accountability, a marketing internship is a great idea, and you’ll be happy you made the investment.
Because a marketing intern IS an investment—but we think it can be a darn good one.