Another Route to New Talent, Fresh Ideas: Adult Internships

You Can Help Experienced People Keep Up With a Rapidly Shifting Industry

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I recently met a very promising account candidate who had been downsized at another firm. She had worked on a large account and when that was lost and the music stopped, there were not enough chairs to go around -- an all too common occurrence in our business.

This candidate had no digital experience. We offered her an adult internship to job-shadow a team at the agency that was in the throes of a big digital effort. She signed a non-disclosure agreement and became part of the team -- sometimes working virtually off-site, sometimes in the office. She was part of the briefing, creative development and execution process.

Being open-minded and creative when seeking top-tier talent is good business and good karma. The advertising/marketing communications game changes at the speed of light, and employees can have a hard time keeping up.

Maybe a worker started on an account that was supposed to have a big social component but never materialized, or her accounts were heavily digital and she wanted to try becoming a broader brand marketer. Then one day, for whatever reason, she finds herself out of work. Whether you are in human resources, a hiring manager or someone who is concerned that you might be out of work soon, adult internships are worth considering.

At Deutsch, believe in internships and alternative forms of exposing talent to the advertising business. We support a variety of internship programs, including the 4A's Multicultural Advertising Intern Program, the Madison's Browne Fellowship, Coalition for the Homeless First Step and The Winston School, which maximize the potential of bright students who learn differently; we also recruit interns from diversity-specific and general colleges. We tend to have one of the largest, most diverse summer intern programs in the IPG network. On occasion when we cannot fit another intern into the formal summer program, we will bring in college candidates to job-shadow for two or three weeks. Many of our interns have become full-time employees. We currently have four ex-interns in our office, and one is a member of our senior leadership team.

Adult internships are great way for candidates to gain new experiences, and for agencies to leverage reduced labor costs. We like to say that good ideas can come from anywhere, and that includes adult interns. Every company has to decide if an adult internship or job shadow is worth having. It's an opportunity to test-drive talent and perhaps gain a new employee. For little more than the cost of a desk, a computer, and an ID tag, candidates can learn new skills, and agencies benefit from an extra set of hands that are experienced in the agency game.

Our adult intern got the experience she needed, added us -- our agency and the client– -- to the top of her resume, and was able to have a cogent conversation about the world of traditional digital (a world that changes every day). She is now gainfully employed at another agency and is quite happy. Good talent was nurtured, and there was a happy ending for all involved -- good karma and good business.

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