Interns and Why You Need Them

A good intern is worth their weight in gold. It's truly a path toward learning on the job and something I think more shops should pay attention to. Often times I am afraid to say interns are looked at as free labor and nothing more. Ichallenge that assumption as I believe they are the future of our agency. Let me explain why.

A person who is interested in working for free is someone who knows that they have a chance at doing something great with you. Sometimes it doesn’t work out for various reasons, but it’s your duty to arm them with your time and patience to maximize their success.

You give them an opportunity just by having them in the building. Good interns know this, and they will give you everything and anything they have got to try and do well. Now I’d had my fair share of interns who didn’t work out for various reasons, but here’s the thing:

I always looked at myself first to see if I failed to give them the tools to succeed. And I had. Many times.

I had a recent intern who wrote me an email unsolicited. I believe that heblanketed all the agencies in the area with this email, but the email didn’t feel forced or canned. Instead this young man just asked for the opportunity to come in for a meeting where he could briefly tell us about having just got out of the military. As busy as we were, we scheduled for a half hour meeting. He crushed it. We brought him on as an intern on the spot because of his enthusiasm and drive. He cleaned windows. He took out trash. He stayed late and got in early. He was supposed to work one day a week but he came in every day. We couldn’t get rid of him, even if we wanted to. Soon he became valuable and necessary. So we hired him on full time.

My point is that an intern is someone to be celebrated – and a responsibility you have to make sure they start off right.

Just before we hired this person full time, I pulled him into my office. I shut the door, sat down and I asked him what his future looked like with us. Without missing a beat, he said that his future with us was one day having my job. I pondered his response for a few seconds. I said nothing in reply. I shook his hand and he left proud. But I was the one who was proud.

I love this stuff. It get me up in the morning. One day if I’m lucky -- he will hire me.


Nir Bashan is an executive creative director with over 17 years of advertising, entertainment and business development experience.  He writes on topics covering digital advertising, media, creative solutions and workforce management. |

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