This last summer was our first summer where we had a full intern staff. Needless to say, everyone on the executive staff was nervous but excited to have interns. We needed the help with the everyday tasks. But to lead another human being can be a daunting task. Especially for a small, start up magazine. Here are a few things I learned along the way while hiring interns.

1: External Research
You have to research the laws of your state. What is acceptable to ask of the intern? What paperwork needs to be in order? For example, in California, interns have to do work that will help their career. They cannot do mindless work such as paperwork or coffee grabbing. But they cannot be given tasks that will take away a job. For example, you can’t ask an intern to do things a marketing director could/should do.

2: Internal Research
Before you start looking for interns you need to figure out what you specifically want and need. We knew we needed extra help in our social media and editorial department. We also knew we wanted idea creators. This will help you write your job descriptions.

3: Outreach
If this is your first time reaching out for interns, you should just reach out to local schools. Schools are more than happy to hear from you. They are always looking for opportunities for their students. You can also post on LinkedIn and Idealist.

4: Interview Process
You can set up the interview process the way you want. You can do one interview and be done with it. However, I knew these interns will enter the workforce soon. In the real world outside of retail jobs, you will go through numerous interviews to get the job. I set up, two interviews. A quick phone interview with me. The second interview will be a Google Hangout with another team member. This helps the intern learn how to communicate with different people using numerous technology.

5: Project Base Vs. Hourly
If you are in start-up mode, there might be a lot of projects and/or tasks that need to be done, but that doesn’t mean you trust the intern. You need to create either a weekly task list or a project for them to work on. This should be settled before they start. I first started with weekly tasks but soon realized that it was more efficient to give some interns a main project with other tasks.

Remember we were all interns once. We all had first jobs. Let’s be a strong support system for the younger ones, who are coming up.

Hugs and Smiles,
Nicole