Home > Uncategorized > 7 questions to reflect on before hiring a college intern for social media

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.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Tierney
    November 15, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    Jay,

    this is pretty interesting to read, as I’ve started doing a lot of the social media for my new company. I feel like I have a pretty clear grasp of utilizing social media for whatever means, but some of the head honchos took classes on it, and like to point out what they think I’m doing wrong. I think the way adults use Facebook and the way my generation are used to using Facebook (even for business matters) is definitely very different and kind of fascinating.

  2. November 15, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    As a recent college grad and a veteran of many internships in marketing and journalism, I think there are some other very important things to consider when hiring interns in addition to the great things covered in your post.
    If the intern will be doing any writing whatsoever (which honestly in 90% of cases they will), I recommend asking for a portfolio. If they don’t have clips from a student newspaper, college essays or blog posts will do. Proof of good writing should be essential. This goes for design as well. Spec work is fine if they don’t have a lot of experience, but a “great” resume only gives you so much – I think PROOF of talent and potential is important.
    I agree wholeheartedly that knowledge of social media is vital, and I would want to see proof of its utilization for a purpose other than chatting with friends. A college student who uses Twitter to network for future career opportunities and follows and links to industry related blogs is a good bet.

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