How to Find Great Marketing Interns

The growing pressure for students and new graduates to gain experience before beginning a career has led more of them to take on internships. And while that may sound like a good thing for businesses hiring interns, it means that companies will need to spend more time searching through a large pool of candidates to find a few shining stars.

But it wasn’t always this way. Once upon a time, finding an intern was easy. There were less people competing for a single position, and those who interned were considered an apprentice more than an intern. They were handy sidekicks interested in the business, willing to do what it took to learn and get started.

As technology and careers progress, things have become more complicated. That means it’s not quite so easy to find the trusty, irreplaceable intern anymore—especially in larger metropolitan cities like Miami or Washington, D.C.

Making matters worse, some companies find that their interns come into work each day just to check off that box rather than to learn and get started on their career. According to Forbes, “You have a whole lot of students now who do a whole lot of internships only because they need to have the work experience on their records.” That’s why it’s critical to find interns who are there for the right reason.

So, what can you do to try to narrow the search and find great marketing interns who work hard to earn that title? You’ll want to follow these tips:

  1. Evaluate Your Internship Program 

With job rating tools like Glassdoor, prospective interns are able to evaluate the workplace before they even land an interview and step foot in the front door—that’s why you need to evaluate your program first. Your program needs to offer enough value to your interns for them to consider the role.

How do you create a valuable internship? The first step is to understand that interns are not personal assistants. We have all heard the horror stories of internships gone bad: coffee runs, filing, and busywork.

Instead, consider your interns an extension of the team. They expect to gain as much out of your company as you do them. They are there to learn more about the field of marketing. Do not use them—utilize them. Show them the ropes, ask them for assistance on big projects, and prepare them for their first career to the best of your ability.

If you don’t have the time to teach your interns anything, you might want to reconsider hiring them in the first place. Interns are not a way to obtain free or cheap workers. The understanding is that each of you will provide something valuable to the other. In layman’s terms, you have each other’s back.

  1. Offer Incentives

Remember, great interns come with a cost. If you can’t squeeze interns into your budget, consider other ways to interest them. There are a lot of places hiring the most qualified candidates, and you want to score a few of your own. Here are some ideas:

  • Offer a Stipend. Consider offering them a stipend to cover lunch and gas expenses. Something as simple as $20 a day can change the way interns view your company. Trust me. Once upon a time, I was an intern, too.
  • Feed Them. Have snacks in the office so they don’t need to go out and buy food. Treat them to company events, like bowling or holiday parties.
  • Be Honest About Your Motives. Foster direct and open communication. If you would consider hiring an intern, tell them that! Explain that, depending on their performance, they might be promoted to a full time or part time role if one opens up—but never lie to your interns. Stay true to your word.
  • Pay them. If they do great work and offer value to your company, pay them. Many interns deserve to be compensated for their work. If it’s in your budget, paying them will demonstrate that you value their input—and it can help attract other great interns, too!

Don’t limit yourself to these ideas, alone. There are still many other ways to capture the interest of potential candidates. Be creative!

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  1. Look in the Right Places 

When scouting interns, professionalism is a key factor. The more professional of a place you are scouting, the better results you will get. While there might be a few promising interns found on Craigslist, there are plenty of unqualified applicants who will vie for your attention as well.

Try using a site designed to match employers and interns, such as InternMatch, or a university’s job board services. These sites offer a more professional way to find candidates and keep track of their status throughout the hiring process.

  1. Review Their Resumes—For Real

If you want to hire valuable interns with real potential, you need to (actually) review their resumes. Don’t just call anyone and everyone out there. You need to really consider who you are looking at to find real potential. Here are some tips:

  • Communication is an Indication. Does this prospective intern really want the job? Analyze their cover letter to see how serious they are. Consider how they speak to you on the phone. If they sound uninterested, they might be. Do you really want to invest time in someone who doesn’t want to be there?
  • Relevant Experience. See if they have any related experience. If they do, that’s a plus. If they don’t, remember: this is an internship. Not a management position. See what they are majoring or minoring in. If it’s not marketing, find out what interests them about the internship to gauge whether it will be constructive for both parties.
  • Scope Out Leaders. Leaders are easy to spot. They come across as confident, they have ideas and aren’t afraid to speak up. Not every intern has to have leadership qualities, but it will benefit the team if you can spot one or two from the start. Marketing takes thought leaders to push strategies forward. 
  1. Don’t Be Afraid to Give Out Chances 

All that being said, remember that not every great intern is going to fit all of these qualifications.

Sometimes, a candidate doesn’t have everything you are looking for, but they have a little spark. Sometimes, they don’t have that spark, but they have all the training, education and experience necessary to excel. If you see potential, it might be worth it to give them a try. It might backfire, or it might just give a star the opportunity they needed to shine.

When considering applicants, don’t limit yourself to applicants who are currently in college, either. Some college grads just need a chance to break into the business. 

Your Next Great Interns are Just a Step Away 

Now is the time to get out there and get hiring! These are just a few ways to attract the best marketing interns for your company. If you have any suggestions, please let us know. We would love to hear from you. And if you are looking for a marketing internship, don’t be shy—apply!