This article is contributed by Martha Taylor.
It seems that when summer approaches, more and more companies are taking on interns – and why not? It’s basically free labor.
Some companies use interns as part of their marketing department. They allow them to sit in on meetings, help out with projects and maybe even tackle bigger projects of their own. But having a marketing intern is not always the safest bet for your company, and before you decide to hire a marketing intern, here are five ways they can be putting your company at risk.
1. They have access to your private information.
Think about all the little things that your interns will need to know about your company – they’ll know your clients, what programs you use, how you create your marketing collateral, how much you charge for certain services, and even your passwords to certain accounts. And if you’re not careful, an intern can easily pass this information onto your competitors (especially if they get a job with one of your competitors after interning with you) or use it to hurt your business. This is why it’s very important that you limit the amount of access your interns have and be sure to give them a generic password to any of your private accounts.
2. They may not be professional.
Interns still have a lot to learn, and it’s very possible that your interns may not be the most professional individuals when it comes to meeting your clients or even working with the team. If you have your intern sit in on a client meeting and they’re not prepared, they could end up saying something wrong, doing something wrong, or even making the client feel as if your company is not professional enough to handle their account.
3. Their time is limited.
Most interns are only working for companies for a few short months, and this may not be long enough for them to truly learn how your business functions. Because of this, the intern may not truly get a hands-on experience, or by the time you’ve finished training them, it’s already time for them to leave. If they were working on a project, it’s possible they will leave without finishing it, and you’ll be stuck trying to figure out where they left off.
Plus, most interns do not work full time schedules, so it will be hard for you to allow them to work with clients if they’re not going to be around on a consistent basis to be there when the client needs them. If your client can’t get hold of their point of contact, it may force them to take their business elsewhere.
4. They can make costly mistakes.
Interns may not know everything they need to know about your business, and this can be troubling for them, especially if they are put on the spot. For example, if you put your marketing intern in charge of your company’s social media accounts, and a customer asks a question that your intern doesn’t know the answer to, they may end up giving the customer an answer they find on the internet, making one up, or simply ignoring the question altogether, all of which make your company look bad.
5. They don’t think of it as a career.
Most interns don’t choose to intern because they want to – they intern because it’s a requirement in order for them to graduate. Because of this, your interns will not consider your company a career, which means they may not take their responsibilities seriously. Instead of taking in the entire experience and learning from it (and even doing such a good job that you hire them) they may use their internship to catch up on homework, peruse the Internet or goof off until their time requirement is over.
Author Bio: Martha Taylor works with The IconID companies. Icon ID has helped numerous marketing and merchandising professionals by providing relevant controlled internships focused on branding, signage and lighting for commercial buildings.
Images: courtesy of morgueFile