7 questions to reflect on before hiring a college intern for social media
Wait! Don’t hire that college intern for your social media needs… not just yet, at least.
First: Stop, and reflect on the following questions:
- What do I know about their use of social media? Sure, they have a Facebook profile and a Twitter account, but how are they using them? Deciding on a place to meet for the game or a movie is not the same as having social media experience.
- Taking it one step further… is their use appropriate? What does their use of social media say about their character, values, and judgment? If they can’t positively represent themselves, how well will they represent your organization and its mission? I’ve heard more than one example of where college interns in social media have made huge errors in judgment and the organizations they were working for paid the public relations consequences.
- How is my organization already using social media? In other words is there a social media team already in place? Or would the intern be solely responsible for our company’s social media presence? What would I be looking to this college intern for? What responsibilities would they carry? What is it that we’re not already doing? Is there already someone on staff who could take this on? Do we need to train someone or outsource this responsibility to a firm that specializes in social media?
- What do I know about their writing skills? We all know that abbreviations can be necessary or even expedient on Twitter or Facebook, but is that the only way they can communicate? If you asked them to write a blog, could they create one that is professional and adequately reflects your organization?
- What do they know about my business or organization? If the college intern is only going to be with you for a semester or for the summer, how much do they already know about your business or organization going in? How quickly can they get up to speed?
- What do they know about my industry or sector? Does their college major give them a solid foundation of knowledge in this arena? Have they had other internships (with my organization or elsewhere) that might contribute to success in this role?
- What are their objectives with this internship? Take a step back, and become their advocate. Would this internship help the student progress with their educational and career goals? If not, why are you offering this internship opportunity?
Hopefully, now you’ve thought through this issue more fully and are better informed. You may come to the same conclusion you started with as a goal: to hire a college intern. Or maybe you’ve decided to go in a different direction. Either way the process will have been worth it.