Of course we get a ton of resumes for interns starting around March of every year.  We could use this as a cheap way to get help, but since you get what you pay for, I have never hired free interns in 32 years of business.  

Here's the Do's and Don'ts of hiring and using interns for PR.

DO:

  • Look at every resume. If one has typos - delete. Just because they are likely temporary workers does not mean you can be careless giving someone access to proprietary or internal files.

  • Typically hire a journalism student. You do not want an intern making grammatical or spelling errors in emails or in any press materials. Today's young people are NOT learning proper grammar at school-they are learning improper grammar from the Kardashians. 

  • If you are looking to hire someone full time, start with a senior as an intern.  If the person works out well for the summer, you can always offer them a full time position in the fall.

  • Get references. They will usually have a professor at the very least as a reference. Ask the reference (s) real questions about character along with skills.

  • Teach them what they need to know for the amount of time they will be there. It's very easy to "overteach" and then you become the PR Academy and waste time that can hurt your business.

  • Tell them to keep their cell phones in the drawer for the day. This is another generational thing. They HAVE to check their phones all the time.

  • Give them one project at a time so there is a beginning and an end. This is good for them and for you.

  • Absolutely check and edit all of their writing.  While they may be hired for this exact purpose, we use 3 sets of eyes on all press materials here at SandersonPR.  Even though everyone here has a journalism degree, writing is a labor intensive activity and it is easy to overlook your own errors.

     

DON'T 

  • Bother showing them things they won't be working on. Not only does it waste your time as stated above, it redirects the intern's focus. Too much info to assimilate can be a problem. 

  • Let them answer your phones. By the time you teach them and they learn how to do it properly they will likely be leaving. The average internship is 60 days.  Since the person answering your phones is often the first one to make an impression on people you will want a real pro doing that.

  • Overwhelm them with learning everyone's name and job the first day they start.

  • Give them too much responsibility because you are overloaded.  It will come back to bite you in the butt.

  • Give them a key. Easy to forget to retrieve when they go.

  • Seat them near the office gossip.  

  • Forget to give them an evaluation at the end of their internship along with a personal talk indicating their strengths.  It's just a nice thing to do.

     

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