Your public relations career is moving along nicely. Pitches are being sent, press releases are being written and media lists are being organized. There’s just one thing missing….someone to share it all with; a loyal companion who will stay by your side and attend to your every need. A good PR intern. But not just any intern; you want the best around. So how do you go about seeking out your perfect match? Follow these steps and you’ll be in intern bliss in no time.

Step 1: Write a job description

What is your potential intern going to be doing for you on a day-to-day basis? Be realistic. Write it out with love and care in hopes that the right person will see it and think, “That’s me, that’s exactly what I want to do!” Be detailed in your qualifications and frank in the daily tasks and what you’re looking for. This will weed out the people who aren’t looking for a solid commitment. Then, post it everywhere, send it to trusted colleagues who can spread the word that you’re looking for love.

Step 2: Assess your applicants

Take a quick look at the applications as they come in. If they aren’t qualified according to the job description you wrote, file it away. If they are qualified and supplied all the information requested, request a call to discuss the position. I find that I have a much easier time weeding candidates out by talking to them on the phone for a few minutes about the position and their experience before they ever come in. And, if they sound good on the phone, it’s the perfect time to set up an in-person interview.

Step 3: Set up the interviews

Sometimes it takes the pressure off if it’s a group setting instead of a one-on-one interview. I find that it’s helpful to involve the person they will be reporting to in the interview process. This way, you can both ask questions and give information about the position through different points of view, and there are bound to be fewer awkward silences.

Step 4: Set expectations

Ask all the usual questions pertaining to the job and then tell them about the actual position. Who will they be reporting to, what is expected of them, what the hours are…etc. Often, interviewers make the mistake of not explaining all the details of the position in the interview process. This is an essential time to set expectations.

Step 5: Make a decision

If a person I’ve interviewed doesn’t follow up with me afterward, they’re automatically disqualified. To me, that’s like saying, “thanks but no thanks.” If you liked an applicant, so did your colleague, they fit the job description AND they followed up with you afterward, hire them!

So in summary, when talking with the potential intern, make sure you aren’t vague and generic in your statements about the job. Set them up for success by explaining exactly what your expectations are so that they are able to perform their public relations duties with zeal!