There are many reasons agencies hire intern. They’re young, they’re eager and (let’s just be honest here) they’re cheap. Youngsters fresh out of ad school or university are blank slates who have yet to learn any bad habits or, even worse, develop the egos the industry is known for.
Agency interns and what they're doing to your other employees
However, there are some people who may not be as happy with the latest intern hire as top management are. And those people are likely to be the mid-to-senior employees left to oversee the work of these interns.
You see, it’s very rare that you’ll find an intern whose work is ready to be presented to a client without intervention from a more senior member of the department. Those more senior members of teams are busy trying to meet their own deadlines and deal with their own hectic workload. It can be a strain on them, and you may find them rolling their eyes every time management drops the word 'intern' into a discussion on hiring more staff.
But the thing is, interns are actually good for mid-to-senior team members, no matter what department. And it’s time they start to realise that and welcome the youngsters with open arms.
Aren’t convinced? Well, if you’re a more senior employee at an agency, here are a few reasons why interns are good for you.
They force you to go back to basics
Once you’ve been doing a certain job for many years, you progress from the basics and move on to more complicated stuff. What you were focusing on way back in the day is something you no longer even think about anymore. Often the work interns are doing is something you could do in your sleep.
But can you explain it with your eyes wide open? Can you go through the methods you use step-by-step and tell someone with little to no knowledge what you’re doing? When you have an intern, this is what you have to do and it’s a good thing.
For starters, you’re going back to basics at a completely different point in time. Tech has developed rapidly since you were at their level and you may discover easier ways to do these things. It also refreshes your memory and may remind you of what really matters and what you should actually be working on in your own work.
They encourage leadership skills
Your team leader or manager can’t be expected to look after a number of interns. They’re already overseeing you and your work. Which is why you, as a more senior member of a team, are now expected to train interns, which takes leadership skills.
You can’t simply hand them a list of tasks with deadlines and expect results. They need leadership and it’s up to you to give it to them. They’re only just starting out in the industry. You have the power and responsibility of shaping their understanding of the business and how it works.
Whether or not you plan to move on to a team lead or management position in the future, leadership skills are always a bonus. You can always drop this bit of info into a future job interview or during the job review process when you’re arguing for a raise. It’s nothing to turn your nose up at.
They demand patience and understanding
Patience and understanding are things that can be found lacking in an industry that relies on fast work, quality results, and hectic deadlines. In a business where teamwork and the relationships between different departments should be a priority, conflict can be a problem.
Interns require you to be patient and understand what they’re going through. After a while, you’ll find that these skills are transferable to your relationships with other colleagues. In other words, you’ll find yourself less likely to throw a tantrum (whether in the bathroom or the boardroom) when things don’t go according to plan.
It’s time mid-to-senior agency employees realise that hiring interns doesn’t simply mean more work for them. These youngsters can actually teach them a few things and better their career. So stop sighing every time management decides to hire another fresh graduate.
*This article originally appeared on Media Update.