Interns can be key to your success if hired smartly. So how do you find the cream of the crop?Screen_Shot_2012-07-24_at_4.38.06_PM (1)

It starts with attracting the right ones.

We’ve found that a creative job description is key. If you want to attract creative people to your agency you have to think outside the box in how you position the opportunity. Plain, old word documents, with the same old boring description, won’t do the trick.

Don’t be shy about encouraging applicants to send in unique responses either! We’ve received music videos, haikus, FLIRTy mocktails and more! We’ve found that applicants who go above and beyond during the application process are the typically the ones who go the extra mile during the internship.

Test an applicant’s ability to follow directions.

Include specific directions about how they should apply.  An easy way to do this? Ask that they apply with a specific subject line and the email be addressed to someone specific in the company. It’s a great filter to weed out those applicants who aren’t worthy!

There are lots of options out there for interns – so don’t forget it’s equally as important to “sell” them on it.

Highlight the responsibilities that will give them the experience they are looking for. There is nothing wrong with interns making binders, doing research and helping out with task-oriented activities around the office – but smart ones realize they need more in an internship. They want the opportunities that will give them real world experience, something that will help them build their portfolio. If these opportunities aren’t already built into the job description, identify some that will enable interns to build their resume and pull these to the front of your description.

Use multiple channels to get the word out.

  • Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, your Blog…are all great, but not enough. Most of us are alumni, why not reach out to old professors and ask they share the opportunity in their courses?
  • Use previous interns to attract new ones! Referrals are always our first choice and always seem to turn out the best new interns.
  • Contact local universities and request they post the internship on their student employment database. 
Hey, we’ve all been there…being broke ain’t easy!
Attracting the cream of the crop is only going to become increasingly difficult, as fast paced startups and promising hands-on experiences emerge every day. Meet a college student’s basic needs by offering course credit and paying them! Most interns are happy to work for free, but the good ones have options. Bite the bullet and invest the $150-$200 per week to attract quality interns.

Don’t leave em’ hangin

The application and interview process is a learning experience for interns so it’s important to give constructive feedback to those applicants who weren’t hired. They devoted time to you; it’s only respectful to do the same. At the very least, give them a call or shoot over an email and share your opinion on their strengths and opportunities for improvement.