Have you ever found yourself wishing for extra help and thinking, “if only I had someone who could __________” (you fill in the blank!)?
Chances are if you are in the events business the answer to that question is a resounding YES!
Peaks and ebbs in workflow are pretty typical right? Between that and trying to grow your business it can be tough to figure out the right time to add to your team. Or get the right kind of help. Hiring full-time or part-time is a big commitment. And if you work independently, hiring someone may not be feasible (or desirable).
So what if you could get the help you need – for exactly the duration you want? And what if it was easy on your budget and you were helping someone at the same time?
Open your door to an intern and you just might find:
- A fresh perspective and new ideas. Interns are eager to help and come without the “the way we’ve always done it” mentality. Chances are as you engage them in your business they will see new ways of doing things and offer fresh, creative ideas. Be open and encourage this. It’s to your (and possibly even a client’s) benefit.
- Extra help with special projects or tasks that you struggle to keep up with. Interns are anxious to gain experience to enhance their resume and bolster future interviews. Engage them to help get a new project off the ground or to keep things running smoothly while you do. The key is to give them meaningful, measurable work they can be proud of and that helps your organization.
- Expertise outside your core. You may be a fantastic event producer but everyone has his or her strengths and support with a skill that drains you may save time and stress. How about an accounting intern to help get/keep your books in order (save time and money with your accountant)? Maybe a marketing or PR major? Web developer? Or even an interior designer to spruce up the office? You get the idea.
- Inspiration. Interns bring an eagerness and enthusiasm that’s hard to duplicate. They can infuse your organization or event with a new vitality, which can be wonderful, particularly if you have them working on a recurring event.
- Tech-savvy. Most young professionals are pretty comfortable with the latest communication tools and social media and may be a great addition to your team if you are introducing or growing these programs.
- A future employee? An internship is a great trial period that could lead to something more. Not only will you determine an intern’s potential but you can experience first-hand if they are a fit for your team. A great way to take the guess work out of hiring and they can hit the ground running.
- Save money. Take a look at where you need extra help, reorganize the workload if necessary and see if an internship could fill the gap instead of a full-time hire. It’s easier on the budget and an intern can likely do the same work as an entry-level employee. As an added benefit you are getting someone who is looking for experience in a chosen field rather than someone anxious for any job they can get.
- Feel good. Ok so this may be a little touchy/feely…or lofty…but don’t underestimate the satisfaction and joy in guiding a potential future industry leader. Everyone needs to start somewhere and an intern is a worthy recipient of your shared expertise. You could play an influential role in shaping an important career!
Ah yes…the inevitable ”however”… As with so many good things there are the caveats! Here are a few important considerations when you are thinking about engaging an intern. Think twice if….
- You don’t have a specific job or clear goal. A student or young professional is looking for real experience. If you can’t articulate what an intern will do, how will you (or they) know if they have been successful? Helpful? Learned anything? It’s ok if the job is to generally assist with an event as long as you can outline the types of jobs and they understand up front what you have in mind. Try to assign at least one task for which they can take ownership.
- You don’t have time. Yes, part of the reason you may be engaging an intern is because you are busy, but to be fair, an internship will only benefit both parties if you have time to dedicate. Upfront planning (outline tasks and goals), thorough interviewing to find the right person, sufficient training time and regular update/follow-ups (a few minutes at the end of every day works wonders) will ensure expectations are met on all sides.
- You are just looking for free labour. You may need help but is an internship the answer? Don’t try to make this a replacement for a full time employee if you really need one. Your intern will require time and dedication just as a full time employee would. And if it’s just a few hours here and there when you need help, a paid, hourly temp might be a better option.
Have you hired an intern? Tell us about it!
Post by Margaret Johnston, eventswork.com
As a career event professional, Margaret brings valuable insight and knowledge to the recruitment, management and development of high-performance teams for the event industry. A strategic and inspiring leader, Margaret has held executive roles for several global event management companies and key roles in the start up and orchestration of many high profile and international events.
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