When you start a company, creativity comes easily. There's never been a shortage of ideas at CoolPeopleCare. But, there have been more than a few roadblocks to pulling off these creative endeavors, mainly money, time and people.
We're solving that this spring by bringing on six quality interns.
We had an intern a few summers ago. We weren't looking for one. She contacted us. I appreciated the initiative and agreed to interview her. After coffee and a chat, she came on board and handled various tasks and we couldn't have been happier.
So, we decided to try it again, albeit a bit differently. We decided to go after an intern or two, instead of waiting and hoping they'd find their way to our doorstep. We thought we'd maybe have one or two college kids show an interest, have one take us up on the offer, and put in about five hours a week taking care of various, routine details.
Instead, we were blown away. And now, we've got a half dozen interns, all taking on new initiatives, all highly qualified, providing the equivalent work of three extra, talented people. Here's how we found them:
It Begins With a Network
We didn't use Craig's List or post flyers around campuses. We went straight to professors and directors of career centers and asked them to send students our way. Because I'd spoken to several college classes over the last few months, I already had a network in place. And, I mentioned the internship each time I spoke. Because I mainly speak in business and entrepreneurship classes, I knew I had a good chance of finding a motivated and creative student. If you want talented students, then ask your professor contacts to send you talented students. If you don't have professor contacts, then you need to get some, starting now.
Don't Give Them a Job Description
Click here and you can see the one-pager (PDF) that we sent out. We technically call the position a Social Media Intern, because that's what we thought we were looking for. As you can see, the description is vague. That's because we were flexible and open to anyone showing an interest. There is no way that you can make up for initiative and hunger. I'll turn down an unmotivated, super-qualified person for one that's energetic and untested.
Do Give Them Money
As you can see, we pay our interns. That's because all interns should be paid. And that's because they're doing work that is worth something. If you have interns that aren't doing worthwhile work, then why do you have them? Better yet, why does this work even need doing in the first place? Offering to pay interns means you'll get more and better applicants to choose from.
Let Them Work on What They Love
Each of our interns is focusing on a task or area that excites them and is in a direction they hope to go for their career. They don't expect a job offer from us come May. But they do expect a hell of a resume line when it's time to apply elsewhere. So, we have one intern working in product development, one in media relations, one in social networking, one in content development, one in marketing, and so on. Some of these interns should be working at PR firms or larger companies in town. But we snatched them up because the work here is more exciting. And no one gets anyone coffee. Coffee here is free and is only about 8 steps from the farthest chair.
Currently, the CPC staff numbers 3 people. We're tripling it in one week (when everyone starts). And, we expect to more than quadruple our reach and effectiveness. It's bound to happen when you've got an entire team of curious, unique and dedicated people.