Hiring any Marketing Intern can be a daunting task, and hiring the wrong one (especially if you work on a smaller team) can lead to many headaches down the road. Before beginning the hiring process, there are a few key questions you need to answer, so you can properly tailor your job description. By providing the most accurate job description, you can ensure that applicants will be well-informed and will have a good understanding of the position. Before starting, the easiest way to write the description is to begin by asking yourself and your company a few easy questions.
What kind of intern does your company need?
We already know that a Marketing Intern is the end goal, but this job can range anywhere from making copies for the marketing team to making business development calls to owning social media posts and blogging. Therefore, you must decide what your needs are as a company before putting together a description. Maybe you simply need a gopher?
- A low-ranking employee whose job is to perform low ranking tasks (i.e. making copies or data entry in your CRM). So-called because of its sound like to “go-for”, as in to go for something, such as to go for coffee.
Or do you need someone who is going to be completing tasks that affect your company’s reach, engagement, or brand? Either way is fine. I would caution you to stay away from the gopher as it could affect your reputation with future interns. Interns and college students talk, so if your company is known for gopher internships, the caliber of applicants will go down. However, if you provide your intern with a good, quality experience, that will help your company to recruit top-notch employees and interns in the future.
What tasks would you assign them?
Like I mentioned above, tasks can range greatly when hiring an intern for marketing. Before compiling your description, make sure you have a clear idea of what projects need to be done. Using Marketing Interns is a great way to accomplish tasks and projects that you might not have the time for. But before pawning meaningless tasks upon your hapless intern, think about your own marketing strengths and weaknesses. Are you already a great writer, but not so great on interpreting analytics? Or maybe social media is your forte, but you can’t wrap your head around the SEO? I would make it a habit of focusing on hiring Marketing Interns who show skill in one area that your company needs to fill. By preplanning your tasks and timeline to completion, you can go into interviews with a plan.
What questions should I ask?
Keep in mind that the majority of people applying for your Marketing Internship will be college students or recent graduates. With this in mind, you should not hold that assumption that they will have a wealth of expertise or knowledge. They may have a few marketing classes under their belt, but do not assume that they have the knowledge to create email campaigns, write blogs, or perform SEO audits. So, ask questions that really tailor to the character of the intern, rather than skills. “Hire character. Train skill.” Peter Schutz (former CEO of Porsche). Remember that this intern will probably only be with you for a few months during their semester. I would suggest some of the following:
- Why did you choose to go into marketing? (Gives you a bit of insight into their past and future plans)
- Where would you like to work after graduation? (Provides you with information on what kind of goals they have)
- What aspects of marketing are you really good at? (Tells you a bit about where their strengths are)
- What marketing skills could use improvement? (Gives them a chance to speak on their weaknesses and how they would like to improve upon them)
- What are your thoughts on our website? (Tells you if they have done their research)
- If you were to write a blog, what would you write on and tell me your process? (This gives you insight into their creative process and how they think on their feet)
- We use the big three, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for our social media. Which one do you think is the most important and why? (This tells you their views on each social platform, if they know how to use it, and if they know about your company)
- What classes have prepared you for this job? (This tells you that they have a good understanding of the job)
I have a few good candidates. How do I choose who would be best?
Good question and definitely the toughest of the four to answer. A few interviews you have will be no’s within 10 minutes of stepping through the door. But those who are left make things a tough decision. Prospective interns who go a little above and beyond will normally score brownie points with me. Someone who has done extra research into the company or an applicant who writes a thank you email will definitely be placed higher on the list. Remember, we are looking for characteristics over skills. Skills can be taught if you have the time as a manager. If you do not have the time to teach someone and value hard marketing skills, then make those the top priority. Look for the person who most closely aligns with your company’s needs at the time and future needs.