Hiring some college interns seems like a good idea right? Cheap (you're thinking FREE) labor...upbeat college kids eager to run your errands...etc. etc. etc. There are a lot of internships out there...and a lot of businesses not maximizing the potential from these college kids who still think they can change the world. A REMARKABLE internship...on the other hand...will give you great interns...and potentially remarkable future employees.
Ten things you need to know (in no discernible order).
10. Yes you need to pay them. If your name is Nike, or ESPN, or the Seattle Seahawks, or any other 'cool,' 'name brand' company...then no, you don't. And you're probably not reading this blog. However...if you're Company XYZ...you do, because having your name on our resume doesn't mean any more to our future employers than having Company CBA. And CBA is paying $10-15 an hour.
9. Be Flexible. For most of your interns, it'll be their first full-time day job. We're used to having time off, and probably have some vacations, long weekends, and late nights planned out. If something comes up, let your intern have the day off...they have to be happy to be remarkable.
8. Offer Credit. A student can get 4 credits for a full-time internship. All YOU typically have to do is approve some paper work. If the student wants this do it for them, it'll take you 10 minutes and make their life much easier, others won't really need the credit. THIS DOESN'T MEAN YOU DON'T HAVE TO PAY THEM.
7. Make it Real. About eight business school students sat at the same bus stop every morning last summer. I had probably the best internship of the group...but I worked for a software company. No tie, no shoes, no worries. Those who had to wear ties everyday actually had significant clout at the bus stop. Same with those who got laptop bags. Moral of the story: if you have some branded gear, give it to your interns. Your branded polo probably means more to them than the extra one does to you.
6. Be a leader of a creative team. Heard great advice on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast from the guy who wrote What Got You Here Won't Get You There (Marshall Goldsmith). Fuel creativity by allowing your interns to follow their own ideas. As soon as you say "that's a great idea...but try this," it becomes an order. Let them try their creative ideas...if it's not working well, then the next day stear them in the direction that they should go.
5. Buy them lunch. Once a week. Minimum. Make it a weekly thing. That $6 and non-brown bag turkey sandwhich means much more to them than it it does to you. Ordering lunch into the office counts too. Take them out occasionally for an hour or two at an actual restaurant, talk about stuff other than work. Even cooler. Buy them a beer? Coolest boss ever.
4. Teach. Your interns are giving you cheap labor. You better share your knowledge, be a reference, and help them out when they need it. They're a student. Don't hire an intern if you're not willing to be a teacher.
3. Get them away from the computer. We are NOT ready for 8 hours a day at a computer. Even some random errands are worth it. Don't drop us off at the monitor, check in at lunch then pick us up at 5 pm. That was kindergarten. But in kindergarten we got naps. Give us a few non-computer tasks to do. Excel spreadsheets kill your spirit after awhile.
2. Keep stuff on hand. Trailmix. Coke. Vitamin Water. Beef Jerkey. We like snacking, and free stuff means a lot to us. It's worth the trip to Costco once a month.
1. Listen to them. Ask them questions. Want to market to the college demographic? They're your avenue. Want to understand how an individual can possibly view 35 pages per day on facebook? Watch them do it. You have an amazing opportunity to understand the youth market through their eyes...use it.
A lot of people blog about customer service. The need for it, how bad it is, how you can actually differentiate yourself if you provide it. I'm young...I've never really experienced bad customer service...until the other day.
Know what I learned? Two simple words are magical "I"M SORRY." Magical. It works. Or it would
The business school messed up part of my graduation documents. Not my actual diploma but the listing...the part that everybody sees. I was disapointed. It's the public listing of my graduation. I actually had to field questions about the error. Four years later that's important to me. For the people in the counseling office...it wasn't.
In their defense the head guy, the person with the power and the abilty to check documents, was on vacation. Of course...they pointed blame, they said it wasn't their fault, it wasn't that big of a deal because the listing didn't matter only the diploma mattered etc. etc. etc.
So, at the end of my college experience, I learned a valuable lesson in customer service. Say you're sorry. It's not difficult for you...it mean's the world to your customer. Something's wrong? It's YOUR fault...I have a problem...it's YOUR fault...something in my life is slightly wrong in some way in relation to your company or organization or business school? It's YOUR fault. Acknowledge the problem. Apologize for the problem. See how you can make it right, and if you can't, do everything you can to begin the process of making it right. Period. "I'm sorry." It's not hard.
Yep....I graduated from the University of Washington on Saturday (hence few blog posts recently). I suppose that may mean that the blog may shift to a new focus...but for now, a major lesson learned from the awful graduation speech that my classmates and I endured:
KEEP YOUR CUSTOMER IN MIND...IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU, IT'S ABOUT THEM. Norm Dicks had little time to prepare for his commencement address at our ceremony. He started out well enough, he was a Husky Football player after all. He then moved into a 15 minute tirade about his political career, what he was doing, where he was going (very specifically), and very focused on his political ideology. We were graduating from college...we could have cared less. It was raining...we just wanted something rousing.
Alas, he used the opportunity to address the parents in the audience who might vote for him in the future. I hear he's running for senate. Who knows really, a student even walked up to the front of the stage and motioned for Dicks to wrap it up. It was disappointing for many students...but the business lesson (unfortunately at Dicks' expense rather than learned from him) was obvious.
Make it about your customers, not about you. It's great that Dicks' is planning to restore Pudget Sound...but all 40,000 some odd people wanted to do was hear some brief inspirational words, and move through the ceremony to get out of the rain. A long, non-student centered rant on the environment was the last thing anyone wanted.
What do you do when your television ratings are dropping, your golden team loses to the 'boring' team that people are tired of watching, and it looks like your season finale will lose to American Idol re-runs? You hope that "Tomorrow" decides to show up early
How do marketers get so lucky? You don't. You just keep your fingers crossed and pray for a miracle.
The product is of course the NBA, and that miracle is the 22 year old future, who just decides to stop playing with mortals and knock off the team that no one outside of Detroit wanted to see win again.
Amazing. The one thing that can save the NBA finals, from a marketing standpoint, happens, and now the sports world cares again, 'cause the next Michael is being Lebron a good 3 years before we were ready for it.