Businesses have been hiring interns for various reasons for a long time. Sure, it’s probably not such a hot idea to turn your entire social media campaign over to interns, but there are some good reasons to bring an intern or two on board just the same:
- To look good is to feel good – The mark of great managers is the ability to surround themselves with people smarter than they are. Smart people make for smart teams whose accomplishments make the manager look good. Hiring a great intern or two is a sure-fire way to inject energy into your team, and that can be the catalyst to a team producing stellar results. So what if you need to work longer hours to get the interns up to speed? Remember, it’s better to look good than to feel good.
- Silver and gold – Interns, being high school and college students, are part of the next wave of consumers for many companies. In fact, for some companies these interns represent their primary target demographic. No matter how great your marketing department may be, having members of your target market on hand and ready to make a difference is a solid gold asset. Also, since they’re at the beginning of their careers, interns can be a relatively inexpensive resource (aka cheap labor) that can save your company some silver.
- Be a Patriot – Face it, the economy is dragging and one of the biggest drags is the job market. Who do you think is going to fix that? Not the government, and not big business… it’s small business that drives this economic engine. It’s our patriotic duty to start hiring again, and what better place to start than with interns? Give them a start, get them off the streets, and help get this engine firing on all cylinders again.
- As you sow, so shall you reap – Do you remember trying to get your first job, and wishing somebody would give you a chance? Do a good deed and give an intern a chance. You might tap a fountain of great talent that will benefit your company, and make a good business networking contact at the same time. Plus, your good deed may come back to thank you later, as you…
- Do unto others – There may come a time in your career where you’ll find yourself unwillingly on the job market. (It happens all too frequently, and don’t kid yourself that it can’t happen to you too.) When it does, you could be at the mercy of a hiring manager’s whims; wouldn’t it be great to have a former intern to recommend you or, better yet, have the hiring manager be that former intern? (Umm… Note to self, treat the interns better.)
I don’t advocate hiring a bunch of interns to make coffee and run errands. While those tasks might help some folks, it definitely won’t help the interns. On the other hand, I don’t advocate turning over critical business functions to them either – that’s a little more risk than I’d recommend for anyone. Still, if you give an intern some real responsibility and experience, you might find that they do well.
You might instill in them a taste of entrepreneurship that they savor for the rest of their lives. You might just find your next great employee, one that will help make you look good.