Tuesday, January 23, 2007

New hires and interns--Unrealistic expectations?

Thanks again to our host, Tim Smith at Wagg-Ed, and our guests, Professors Erica Austin and Bruce Pinkleton from the WSU Murrow School of Communication for all the great discussion last Friday.

Friday's debate over the popularity of public relations as a major and the increasing competitiveness for certification at the WSU School of Communications morphed into a discussion about the quality of public relations interns and new graduates from Washington state universities in general.

One high-profile forum participant, owner of a premiere local PR firm, said he prefers new hires from East Coast for their motivation and competitive nature.

Other participants voiced frustration at the amount of time spent educating and training new hires who seem to lack the initiative to "figure out the answer on their own" or even to proofread their work before submitting it for review by their superior.

Can you teach initiative, confidence, responsibility and innovation?

Is it fair to expect PR programs to do this?

Are these things as important as strong writing skills, solid research capabilities and the ability to conduct a strategic communications campaign?

As hiring professionals, what do we want our universities to teach? What's our top priority?

Is it the University's responsibility to teach students a work ethic and professionalism or do the PR professionals who hire these interns play a role?

Is it unrealistic to expect interns or students right out of college to be ready to enter the workplace without significant coaching and guidance from their new employers? Are we willing to mentor these young professionals?

What were we like as interns and/or new graduates? Have we forgotten what it was like to be just starting out?

What do you think?

1 comment:

Rachel T. said...

I am a recent PR graduate from a Washington university and the more I sink my teeth into the industry, the more I realize that the fundamentals we were taught were not only inadequate, but extremely outdated. I have found myself having to teach myself basic fundamentals that I should have learned in the classroom. A major overhaul of Washington University PR programs is necessary and younger professors with more insight into the changing media environment are required.