How To Hire The Best Intern

As the weather warms up, it is time to start thinking about summer interns. I found my passion for demand generation and marketing automation platforms (MAP) through a summer internship and you may also find your next new hire the same way.

Who to hire and what to look for in an intern? As part of any fast-growing marketing, software or consulting firm, there are many diverse roles necessary to power the team. However, before you go searching for your summer intern, define what position or role you need to fill and identify the skills necessary to be successful in that position. Essentially, like any good hire, you need to understand what it is you are looking for in terms of talent or skills, knowing that an intern is there to learn, to grow, but also to fill a need.

Are you in need of a marketing automation intern or perhaps a designer or a writer for social media and content marketing? Don’t look in just the typical places for your interns (marketing or business schools); rather, scour the campus and related campus services. You’ll find great candidates from the business school, to the engineering school or the math, sciences and journalism schools, too. The important thing is to understand what the students’ educational backgrounds are and to clearly communicate in the interviewing process how those skills align with the internship role you’re hiring for. Not every journalism student is the right fit for a content marketing internship, nor is every computer science student a good fit for a marketing automation intern.

Here are three tips to finding the perfect summer intern:

Marketing students
Marketing majors can be interested in a variety of specializations: sales, branding, communications and marketing research to name a few. Remember, students don’t learn about scoring models, progressive profiling, content marketing or nurture programs in their studies. What they learn is the push/pull theory, adoption curves, Porter  five force analysis and two guys named Ansoff and Maslow. Although it is likely not an exact match, realize these are the foundations of marketing and demand generation. It is necessary to identify the candidates that would be able to translate their current studies into new skills and ways of thinking to bring both personal and professional satisfaction from a role that incorporates it all while helping to build your organization.

Engineering students
If you are looking at engineering students, the role you are hiring for is a critical thinker as they will be learning about building and integrating major business processes. In marketing automation, every day is about work flow, technology integrations and analytics that students can untangle and optimize! It is important to outline key core competencies required for the job and understand that current skill may not be an exact match- it is about ability to learn and transfer current skills into new skills.  In your interviews identify those who are truly open to learning about different types of technology and stress the importance that reporting and metrics play in you success. No modern marketer will be successful without understanding basic reporting and metrics.

Technology students
As Demand Generation Strategy is enabled by technology, these students must be able to quickly learn the in’s-and-out’s of what marketing automation platforms are capable of. They need to understand and read the language of customer relationship management (CRM) and third-party connectors to really drive the alignment between marketing and sales. Whether your organization is just starting with marketing automation or has been using it for years, these students will help you to optimize the inner gears of your systems while obtaining invaluable experiences with up-and-coming technologies.

Internships are a great way to expand your bandwidth, give experience to those hungry for it and potentially find your next new hire. Don’t be afraid to diversify your search into different schools or areas because you never know what talent is out there. Think about those students still in school as well as new graduates. Just understand, interns require a commitment from an internal resource, they are seeking positions to learn and gain new skills and those skills need to be taught. Interns are an excellent way to identify local talent, fill any gaps in your team temporarily or permanently and may even help you develop your next new hire. However, the key is finding the intern that has the capacity to learn and grow and is hungry for experience.

*For more on building the perfect team, take a look at a recent post, Key Marketing Automation Players on Your Team.

Author: Kathleen Hoehn @KathleenHoehn is a Marketing Automation Consultant, ANNUITAS


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