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Hiring Web Design Interns

Published April 13, 2010

Image credit: amprok on flickr

We often get requests to hire interns during the year and the summer months. As the summer approaches, I am receiving a lot of those requests. Today, I met with someone who wants to start giving classes on computer topics as a form of re-education. He came to me and asked if I would let his students work, for free, in my office to gain experience. He said, I can put them on projects that are not all that important.

I was honestly taken back by that request. I told him, absolutely not. Every project we work on here is important. I would never put an intern on a project without the client specifically asking for it. Furthermore, it takes even seasoned programmers months to get up to speed on our environment here. To have new programmers come in for an internship position and try to get up to speed to actually be allowed to code something would probably take 5 internship slots over the course of a couple years. It just isn't worth it from our perspective.

That doesn't mean we have never hired an intern. We have. But most of those interns have never touched a piece of code that runs on a client's web site. Nor have most of them actually had what they have worked on go into production. In fact, most of them I give a meaningless project that never sees it outside the walls of this office.

There was one or two interns that were impressive and ultimately led to employment as some level. But in most cases, interns are looking for two months of busy time and then will likely never come back to work for the company they interned at. Maybe I am wrong - but at this point, it is something we are not too positive about.

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Barry Schwartz is the CEO of RustyBrick, a New York Web service firm specializing in customized online technology that helps companies decrease costs and increase sales. Barry is also the founder of the Search Engine Roundtable and the News Editor of Search Engine Land. He is well known & respected for his expertise in the search marketing industry. Barry graduated from the City University of New York and lives with his family in the NYC region.

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