In the first part of this series "Where Can I find a Digital Asset Management Intern?" we looked at not only where you could find an intern but also what the intern can do for your organization and ground rules for having an intern. In this post we'll continue to look at the ground rules — there are many.
Ground Rules for Having an Intern
Interns are temporary workers. Some internships treat the interns just like regular temporary employees with few benefits and expect just as much from them as other employees or contractors. On rare occasions, IF an intern excels well beyond expectations and IF there is room for them within the organization and IF there is budget for them, the intern may be offered a junior position after their internship.
Do not hold your breathe though, but if the intern is interested, they should discuss it toward the end of their internship. The internship can be a stepping stone for the intern. Again, think mutual benefit and value. This is not about adding a line on the resume/CV after watching reruns online or playing games while "working." You can do that at home on your own time.
- Interns are not there to fetch everyone coffee or tea on an hourly basis. If an intern gets any coffee, they should be drinking it themselves. Do not be a lazy slave driver. Invest in a good coffee machine.
- Interns are not there to spend most of their time making photocopies, stuffing envelopes nor fax all day long. Using ancient technology teaches the intern nothing. Not even patience. What is next? Typewriters? Dictating replies to your emails? There is software for that now. Learn how to use resources and interns in a non-wasteful manner.
- Do not have "sexual relations" with an intern (whether you work in the White House or not). Do not abuse your position. Professionalism is still required from everyone. We all know some who try to sleep their way to the top.
- Bad interns may not show up often nor on time nor will they put much effort into completing any of their work. There is a maturity factor involved here, but it may not all be tied to age alone.
- Some people still value having a work ethic for themselves and with their fellow co-workers. This is not overrated and can get noticed.
- Signing on a junior, senior or recent college graduate may yield a more experienced, skilled and mature intern, but that is not a guarantee.
- Set requirements and expectations early on, before the internship begins (during the interview process) so there are less surprises for all. An intern may come with tremendous energy and excitement toward experiencing the real working world. Encourage them both positively and realistically.
- Do not bore the intern. Have enough work for them. Keep them busy with real work. Challenge them. Not with useless busy work.
- Allow them to learn. They will not get everything right. Point out these learning experiences calmly (as needed) in case they miss those points. Yes, they could fix their errors themselves with some guidance.
- Be flexible when using the interns' skill sets/knowledge to help your organization.
When Should I Start Looking for an Intern?
The best time to look for a summer intern is the beginning of the year. Yes, six months ahead of time would be planning ahead so you have the time to actually get applicants, review applications and interview potential candidates for the internship(s). Fall or Winter internships are not unheard of either, but start looking for them early. DAM interns do not grow on trees.
Have them commit to a specific time frame, such as three months. Within that time frame, set a minimum number of days per week and a minimum number of hours per day, otherwise the internship will be more trouble than it is worth for all parties involved. If an intern comes in one or two hours per week, this hardly justifies your time spent finding them nor their commute.
On occasion, you may even need to set a maximum time commitment as well or they may start living in your offices seven days a week. Real world experience is what they crave, so do not deprive interns from this if they made the cut to stay and learn.
Where to Find that Who
While some job boards have some internships posted, this is not necessarily the best place to get interns with a particular educational background. I would recommend researching the top schools / colleges / universities which have the right programs.
In the case of Digital Asset Management, the top schools with digital librarianship and information science programs can yield the basic skill set you are looking for. Why? Because they love to catalog and sort things like digital assets.