Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Urban Interns Is Launching In Chicago!

Spread the word - we're expanding our local presence to Chicago. As a job-seeker, right now you can login to Urban Interns and select Chicago as your local city. As an employer, on MONDAY November 2nd you'll be able to post a job and/or search the database for candidates specifically in Chicago. Of course, you can find and post local positions in NYC and Boston, as well as virtual positions in any city. Our local city-by-city rollout will continue with Washington DC and other cities later in November. Stay tuned and help us help you by spreading the word to all your colleagues, friends, press and other contacts in Chicago!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Employer Report: Part Three in Our Series on Virtual Internships - Managing a Virtual Intern

In this issue of the Urban Interns Employer Report - a free resource to help you grow your business by leveraging part-time staff and interns - we will address the third and final topic in our series on virtual internships, "How to Effectively Manage a Virtual Intern."

A Brief Recap on Virtual Internships
  • Hiring virtual interns is a growing trend, especially among small- to mid-size businesses.
  • The benefits of virtual interns include low overhead, flexible scheduling and extended talent pool.
  • When selecting a virtual intern, remember the three P's: Professionalism, Performance and Presence.
So now that you've hired your virtual intern, what's next?

Goals, Guidance and Good Communication.

  • Goals: Begin your work by clearly defining what you expect from your virtual intern. When is the project due? What format are you expecting? Are there certain milestones that need to be hit by certain dates? Things that may be intuitive to you or otherwise may be picked up "on the job" need to explicitly stated when you're working with someone remotely.
  • Guidance: When bringing on an intern, or any new staff member for that matter, upfront training is needed. This is no different with someone who is working for you virtually. The more effort you put in to getting someone up to speed, the more you can expect in terms of performance.
  • Good Communication: First, get your method of communication in order and on a regular basis. Do you prefer phone, email or Skype? Or perhaps a combination of the above? Second, establish a routine for communication and check-ins. Whether daily, weekly, or regularly with as-needed updates, both you and your virtual intern will come to appreciate this ability to touch base, catch up, and regroup. The earlier you establish the routine, the quicker you can find your most productive pattern.
Virtual Interns are a great resource for cost-effectively growing your business. Check back with us for more tips on selecting wisely and managing well.
Ready to find part-time help or an intern? Login here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Employer Report: on Urban Interns & Part Two in Our Series on Virtual Internships

Read about Urban Interns in World Business's article
about Virtual Interns.
Welcome to the Urban Interns Employer Report - a free resource to help you grow your business by creating and implementing win-win opportunities for part-time staff and interns.  Each week, we will answer questions, provide tips and inspire you to think creatively about using flexible resources such as part-time staff and interns to achieve your business goals.

Virtual Internships Part Two: Selecting a Virtual Intern

As reported by Urban Interns earlier this month, virtual internships are on the rise.  In our October Trend and Insight Report, we noted that the percentage of virtual positions posted on Urban Interns increased from 9% to 24% between the end of August and September. This growing trend is also gaining a lot of discussion in the media, as indicated by yesterday's article by World Business which featured Urban Interns as well as our work with our very own intern, an incredibly talented Columbia student.   

The benefits of bring on a virtual intern are many: low overhead since you don't need to expand your office space, you can set the hours that best suit your business and your schedule, and you can tap into a talent pool that expands well beyond your geographic location. 
But, before we dive into tips on how to most effectively manage a virtual intern, which we'll do in next week's Employer Report, the first question is how to select a virtual intern.  Unlike a traditional job interview, this interview may be entirely over the phone or Skype -- meaning there's no opportunity to evaluate body language and rapport. So how do you navigate the online world to find the best fit for your organization?  Consider the Three P's of Professionalism, Performance, and Presence:
  • Professionalism:  Prior to your interview, you will likely have many initial interactions with a candidate through Urban Interns and over email. First impressions are still powerful, so even in these early interactions, you'll be able to get a lot of insight into a candidate.  If a candidate is writing you quick emails and forgetting to capitalize letters, think of it as the modern day version of walking into a room and forgetting to make eye contact or address you by the proper name.  Just because it's a virtual position does not mean your standards of excellence should be any lower.
  • Performance:  If you're adding to your staff in any way, it means you're busy and need help. You need someone who will ramp up quickly and deliver stellar work.   Ask for samples of work, professional references and perhaps consider asking the candidate to do a short exercise so you can evaluate work product.
  • Presence:  That's online presence.  With all the social networks and ways to get in touch, we're all so discoverable these days -- including candidates.  Go ahead and take a look at the information that's publicly available online. You are certain to learn a lot.
So while going the virtual road means you may need to forego some of the benefits that come with in-person interactions, there are still many ways to successfully evaluate a candidate and make the selection that makes the most sense for your business.

Stay tuned for Part Three in our Virtual Internships series in next week's Employer Report: Managing a Virtual Intern.

Ready to find your perfect virtual intern? Login here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Employer Report: Virtual Internships - An Update

A few weeks ago we highlighted for you a WSJ Article on virtual internships.

Since then, we have seen many employers turning to Urban Interns for virtual help to fill a variety of virtual needs. Some examples:
  • Los Angeles-based software company seeking business development intern.
  • Silicon Valley startup seeking part-time blogger - can work from anywhere.
  • Web 2.0 startup seeking community manager for website to manage social networking profiles, respond to question/inquires about the company, and initiate conversations in applicable community.
  • iPhone App Developer and Publisher looking for online marketing and PR internfor keyword research, app description optimization. 
  • NYC Social Media firm looking for social media intern to do keyword research, link-building and article posting.
So what does this mean to all you employers?
  • Hiring virtual interns is a growing trend and one that you should consider for your business.  Imagine having access to a pool of part-time help - students and graduates from top tier schools, seasoned professionals - that extends beyond your local area.  
  • The advantages of a virtual intern extend beyond cost and logistics.  Are you short on office space?  They work from home.  Do you like work that's done while you sleep?  Set up your virtual intern's hours to be during nighttime hours.
  • So many of today's small business owner's daily needs lend themselves to virtual work: blogging, social media, business development, research.  Sound familiar? Search here.
What to do once you've hired someone?  In our next Employer Report, we'll explore how to best manage a virtual intern.

Ready to find your perfect virtual intern? Login here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Employer Report: Seeking Part-Time Help with Experience

You may have seen Dan Schawbel's mention of Urban Interns in yesterday's US Metroencouraging college students to get started on looking for meaningful internships and entry level positions.  That college students are so on the ball these days as to not even be in school for a month and already be thinking about internships, is amazing, and presents a phenomenal opportunity for you as a small business owner to reap the benefits of such ambition!

However, this brings us to our Question of the Week: 
What if I am looking for someone with more experience than college level, but still on a part-time basis? 

College students are not the only ones looking for part-time jobs.  The Labor Department released data on Friday showing unemployment is at it's highest rate since 1993. In addition, the percentage of people employed part-time for economic reasons is up 220 basis points year-over-year and 10 basis points month-over-month.  In other words, a lot of people are looking for work right now, and a lot of people are turning to part-time work and internships in absence of a full time job.  This absolutely does not mean the quality of the labor pool on Urban Interns is any lower for it - quite the contrary.  Below is a smattering of profile excerpts from recently registered Urban Interns:
  • "Accomplished executive with 11 years experience in business development, program/project management and growth strategy"
  • "veteran in the Event Planning industry for 18 years and 15 years in the special event production industry"     
  • "I worked as a sportswriter at the New York Daily News from May 2005-September 2009"  
  • "I currently manage an e-commerce website"
  • "Ten years of New York City advertising experience...encompasses marketing, promotions, and advertising"
The Bottom Line: if you need someone with work experience and perhaps a few years (or more) of post-college life experience under their belts to help manage your social media campaign, do some writing, research, or otherwise help you execute your dream, login to Urban Interns now and start searching.
Ready to find your perfect virtual intern? Login here.