Monday, September 20, 2010

Urban Interns, the Go To Site to Get Help

I was introduced to Urban Interns through Collective-E, the entrepreneur group I am a member of. Urban Interns is an online service for companies to find interns and for interns to find jobs. They have a database of interns looking for work, and as a company, you can post a job posting, that stays on their website for 1 month or for however long you are subscribed. Urban Interns is owned by Lauren Porat and Cari Sommer. I decided to try out their service last year and found my first intern for
Di Manno Designs right away! She worked out well, for months assisted me in research, lists and phone calls etc. This year, I signed up again and am happy to say that in my first week of being on Urban Interns, found an intern who is helping me out! I was very impressed with my intern's resume and experience. She is awesome! I have personally met Lauren at a Collective-E event and can say she is pleasant, professional and when you have a question about the site, it is sure to be answered promptly!:)

Here is my interview with Lauren:

How did you come up with the idea for Urban Interns?
My business partner Cari Sommer and I started working on the idea for Urban Interns in the late summer 2008, so the world looked a lot different then. The recession was in full swing and full time hiring had come to a screeching halt, but we saw that companies were still looking for help to grow their businesses. But they were trending towards part time hires, interns and freelancers because of the inherent flexibility in this type of help. On the other side of the employment equation, job-seekers were increasingly looking for this type of work to build skill sets, build resumes, and get the phenomenal experience of working with start ups and small businesses. So we created Urban Interns to connect growing companies with people seeking part time jobs, internships and freelance positions – and the idea really took off.

What ways do you market your business?
To date, we’ve had phenomenal press (Fox Business News, WSJ, Crain’s, Inc. and most recently TechCrunch) and done a lot of social media marketing. We are frequently cited as experts on hiring-related topics, and we write a monthly column on hiring related topics for On the job-seeker side, we work closely with top tier universities to get the word out about our business. Going forward, we’ll be expanding our marketing efforts online.

In your experience, was it hard to get people to sign up and/or companies?
It’s really a no-brainer for both job seekers and employers to try Urban Interns. For job-seekers, it’s free to post your profile and your personal information is protected, so there’s no downside if you’re looking for a job. Employers pay to post on our site (consistent with most other job boards out there), but it’s a very affordable price for a small business - $39.95, which gives you one job post plus unlimited database access for 30 days – especially relative to the competition. Other job boards cost hundreds of dollars to post (and don’t give you database access), and Craig's List is cheap but can be spammy and is also not a database. Employers like having the ability to BOTH post AND search (or one or the other). So if you’re a growing company looking for an extra set of hands – which many are in the areas of social media, PR, email marketing, blogging, research, admin, etc. - it makes a lot of sense.

How many interns and/or companies are currently subscribed?
We have thousands of people in our database, but we don’t divulge more specifics than that.

Do you have any plans for growth or expansion in the near future?
Yes! We’re working on a fantastic relaunch with a new and improved look and feel, and better features and functionality, all to make the process of connecting that much easier. We’re really excited – stay tuned!

I am happy I was introduced to Urban Interns and am impressed with the level of professionalism and the caliber of people their site attracts! And of course I am most happy with all the hours of valuable help I am getting from my interns.:) My hope is that they are learning and gaining experience, which they can use in the future. I realize it is a 2 way street and want them to get what they need out of the internship. Most of us have had an internship or two in the past, doesn't seem like that will ever change, so congrats to Urban Interns for putting together this company and site to make it convenient and easier for us to find qualified interns!