2014 is certainly a different time for the industry. It wasn’t all too far in our past that you’d start getting resumes in January and by March had your Summer staff pretty well chosen and locked down.
Now it requires a little more pro-activeness on our part. To sit and wait for people to come to you for internships will elicit flashbacks to Mr. Carlson as the Maytag Repairman.
First, heading into the Summer, a decent goal or target is 20. Because you’ll lose three immediately when they realize you’re not going to play their bands demo or just that mom and dad want them to get a real job.
The 4th of July is a metaphorical turning point for the season and you’ll lose several immediately and as Move In Day and Orientation Week start to get closer on the calendar, they’ll start to fall off like dead skin from a leper victim. (Sorry: there was this really cool show on PBS last night…)
If you’re lucky you’ll limp into Labor Day with five. Wow. That would be great. These individuals should be immediately lauded and given some additional roles and responsibilities to entice them to stay on.
But now, in January, is the time to start working the contacts, because if you wait until March, all of the good ones will be taken or have found gigs.
Maybe the best internship program that I know of in the states is done by Rachel Geddes at Cumulus in Saginaw. Starting around this time every year she starts reaching out to the colleges, meeting with advisors and classes and basically getting in their faces. And every summer she ends up with one of the most devastatingly amazing groups of smart young interns anyway. But it takes work.
Why do you want a lot of bodies? Because at the inevitable concerts and festivals and events that you’ll be at, the A #1 axiom is “Whoever has the most bodies, wins.”
Do you want to be the sad tent with one bored looking promo person texting, or do you want to have the plaza flooded with people greeting the crowds, directing them to your set up, handing things out and generally politicking the shit out of the joint?
And there will be times when you’ll even want to add to those numbers, which is why it’s good to have a cheerleading squad in your back pocket.
But now is the time to start the grassroots efforts. Reach out to top shelf former interns, see how they’re doing and ask if they have friends or sibs who are looking. Go (don’t send an email) to the schools. Talk to the classes. And remember; presentation is everything. While we want to make sure they understand that is a learning experience, don’t neglect to highlight the fun and this will be a GREAT summer for them.
Next? Caring for, grooming and training your interns.