Intern applications... hmmm

So, I believe I may hire an intern. There has been a guy that has been hounding me to intern for me. The thing is, he wants to engineer. I don’t need a engineer and I told him that. I told him what I do need is a PR guy to keep getting me clients since I have very little time to hunt down cool artists and get them in and explained people record here for my experience level and personality as well as the gear housed here.

Basically his job description would be to meet bands, do advert postings, possibly manage the studio’s facebook page, etc… I am considering paying him commission on the work he brings in and letting him be a part of the sessions he brings to the table.

So why the thread here???

I want to make an intern application to find out his background in the things I do to get an idea where he can fill in some things I can’s do due to lack of time. I would appreciate if ya all could help in adding aspects that would be worth knowing about…

So here are the things I currently have and in the form, it will be a Q&A type thing where there will be a question and an area to write in experience/answers.

*What role do you currently play in the music industry?

What are you looking to achieve working for Woodcrest Studio.

How many hours a week do you plan to devote to Woodcrest related things?

Do you have a criminal record?

Do you have experience in sales/public relations?

Do you have experience in website development?

Describe the method of PR you will be exercising to get artists in at Woodcrest.

Where do you plan on going to meet potential Woodcrest artists?

I’d hook up with an accredited music school (state, private, or trade) to sponsor and fill the internship position – most of them would gladly participate. Some states require interns to be paid, by the way

He is going to Temple for music. I believe he said he was going for engineering. That is a good idea though. If I could get intern school credits…

For my money it’s too much of a stretch between an engineer and a talent scout. Like putting a round peg in a square hole. It’s not the job he’s after so he won’t put the effort someone who was into the PR side of things would. It’d just sap energy.

What you need to do is make up a contest at the local college to see who can throw together the best battle of the bands or such to filter prospects. One who gets best and most would be the goto. Best to post the contest at sororities so you get a hot chick for an intern. :wink:

I’ve done a number of internships in my life, in both audio and film/tv work, and all of them involve doing mostly grunt work and just a bit of real hands-on practical applications – it’s juts the nature of the beast. However, just spending a number of weeks/months in the proximity of “the action” can be invaluable learning

I would have thought that if you re just going to pay them on a commission basis only, then just let them try and see what happens. I was looking for another engineer several years ago and tried many hopefuls untill I found one guy thats actually very good, even then it took a good year or two to get him to the point I feel happy letting him engineer and produce up to the standard we expect.

The point being that letting someone take control of the mothership is a big step but the benefits are worth it. They bring in new work and give you time off to have a life. I can see the attraction of just having someone do the PR and not letting them engineer, but I would have thought that unless you’re paying them a wage the incentive of purely commission based pay is low. You get all the benefits (through more work) and they get no real incentive (engineering/real studio experience)

That is you have no risk and the other has all the risk.

I would take the opportunity and dangle the engineering carrot in front of them and take the time to see if they are any good. As I found out there are (very few) people out there that can learn and work one’s own studio and the experience of bringing a new engineer into you’re environment is a very rewarding one if they are the right person, you’ll soon find out.

Hi Tom

Does your candidate make his own music? Does he have his own project/bedroom studio… knowing that in advance might be advantageous, as he may have designs on doing some of his own stuff in your space, which in itself could be a good way to evaluate his expertise and imagination without jeopardizing a paying gig, at least right off the bat.

Letting him take the controls in this respect will then give him an idea of your studio’s potential, which will help him with that PR you’re looking for, and incubate some desire in him to bring you business… you could pay him with time when the studio is dark.

Something to consider…

Hello Tom,

There are some interesting thoughts here on interns already, but here’s my two cents.

In my business, outside the music industry, we ran about three interns a year from a local collage, one at a time. We were a desired employer in the area and could get the best people from the program; still I always wished they came in with industry exposure and not just class room experience and a dream. Some we hired, some we should have, most we did not, a couple went off to greater heights and made us proud. It is a good way to screen people and see how that person or a similar one might help you grow the business. It forces you to work harder on your management skills in finding meaningful work and planning ahead to head off interruptions from the intern.

Outcome and costs: We paid a stipend, but the real cost was in time to teach them, we in turn would put them on a mundane task that had a high output to try and recover the loss, it came out acceptable. As the owner, I thought it stimulated the staff to show off their knowledge and skill and in turn do a better job at what they were doing. When you do something you become proficient at it, when you teach it you own it and can make it dance to your beat. On the down side, it took a toll on the staff. It was like training new people constantly, they got to a point where they just wanted to be left alone to do their work as they were a well oiled team who could rock their own world.


That language is ambiguous. Is your intention for this intern to be an employee or independent contractor?

There is no single test to establish “independent contractor” status; typically there is a 19 point criteria. Central among them is:
(1) the person doing the work be established in a trade-or-business,
(2) the contractor performs the work using their own methods and tools,
(3) establishes their own time for performing the work
(4) can assign the work to one of their associates/subordinates
(5) bills for the work
(6) can lose money on a job
(7) they carry their own insurance(s) (and can add you as an “additional named insured” on their policy

Based on information provided in this thread, independent contractor status is not established to anywhere remotely close to a level that would pass muster with the Department of Labor (neither state, nor federal).

The safer course is to put the intern on the payroll (with all applicable with-holdings and wage reporting), with an hourly wage that meets the minimum wage standard … with time-and-a-half paid for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week (vacation time, sick time, personal days do not count towards the hours worked threshold). Time-sheets (signed by the employee) should be mandatory as a condition of employment. A written job description should be provided, with the intern singing they understand the terms and conditions (internships usually have an established time frame for term of employment).

Naturally, you will need to insure for liability, workman’s compensation, unemployment and disability.

Like I said, a few states require interns to be paid (California for one). Most others permit unpaid internships if the following criteria are met:

The training, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to what would be given in a vocational school or academic educational instruction

The training is for the benefit of the trainees

The trainees do not displace regular employees, but work under their close observation

The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the trainees, and on occasion the employer’s operations may actually be impeded

The trainees are not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the training period

The employer and the trainees mutually agree that the trainees are not entitled to wages for the time spent in training.

(Taken from the Dept of Labor website)

I just read that here:

So, I now have to find out Pennsylvania law now.

When I interned, I didn’t make a dime :confused: even after I was promoted to an engineer, I still didn’t make a dime…

Where would I go to find out al the legal info in order to do this right? I am not a cheap guy at all but I am not looking to do comp, unemployment and such. If I can hire him as an independent, that would be better for me. I don’t absolutely need an intern. I already pay a boatload of insurance as it is and more insurances is not worth it for me.

Oof… I am thinking of just calling the kid and telling him I can’t teach him because of these legalities I was unaware of. Bummer… seemed like an enthusiastic kid with a decent aptitude.

Paying the “intern” a sales commission for bringing in business provides no “immediate advantage”, and meets the other criteria for an internship?

For crying out loud. I deal with these kinds of issues, and with the DOL, nearly every week. I provide this advice/counsel freely with the expectation that some folks may benefit from it. If it ain’t no benefit to you … or you like “living on the edge” then, by all means, please ignore it. :unamused:

The DOL info Doug posted may be the answer here … an unpaid internship. I would be careful not to taint it with under-the-table payments or gifts. A glowing letter of recommendation for a job well done, at the end of the term, would be okay.

The reason I questioned your intent … was to establish whether this person would be an employee, an independent contractor, or an intern (thus my comment about the language of your original post being ambiguous).

If you intend to pay them (commission or otherwise), they are not an unpaid intern. If they are paid, then you must abide by labor law, wage and tax reporting, insurances, yada yada yada. Indeed, following the law DOES put the onerous on the employer, and ultimately limits their ability to employ people.

I seriously doubt that pursuing an “independent contractor” relationship is good for either of you. Especially not for a kid that isn’t versed in running their own business.

Hopes it all works out for your mutual benefit.


I totally follow you there. No question at all.


I appreciate your contributing to this discussion. To be honest, I get intern requests all the time and this is the first person I have ever considered. Bottom line is, whoever came in to help would be in the way as bands have brought their “helpers” to sessions and I always have to continually ask them to please get out of my way as I set up for the day’s sessions.

What I need is a P.R. person to keep the work coming in. I work exceptionally late these days, usually not finishing up until 8-10PM every night. At that time, I am spent and don’t feel like going out to meet people. I don’t want to have someone on payroll. I would rather contract out what I need done if that needs to be the case.

If this is a real sticky situation, I will just tell the guy I can’t help him out. What I was looking for is someone that is driven to get into studio sessions and there would be benefit for each of us, hence I want them to bring in bands and I would gladly let them get in the way and I would teach them what I have learned over the past 20 some years I have been recording and mixing. I was looking forward to someone like I was when I was a kid that did everything possible to get into recording studios. LOL, this kid was calling me every day for a week after our first conversation to come in and meet me in person.

Thanks for that…

So as far as this kid bring bands in in order to be a part of the sessions… Is that all right? Maybe not… because of this:

  1. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the
    activities of the trainees, and on occasion the employer’s operations may actually
    be impeded;

That would be financial gain for the studio but I know for a fact that sessions would move a lot slower as I taught the intern how ro proceed with things.

Hey Swamptones,

Is it possible to have a deal set up with the school where the studio is an approved intern site and the intern is covered by the schools insurance and the studio is only opening its doors as a learning opportunity and takes no liability? This would have to have a specified set of expectations of the experience such as time to be spent at the internship, a rough outline of areas to be covered by the studio which could include maintenance and cleaning along with the fun stuff. There would have to be some written agreement between the school and the studio. It is always cool to give the next guy a leg up as has been given to all of us in our different fields. The legal aspects are such a pain.


Many companies do that. In many cases it is part of their public relations endeavors. But it can also be an opportunity for businesses to spot talent and develop relationships that can grow into a full-time, paid position.

I tried to get the firm I’m with to develop an internship program; I offered to run it. They rejected the idea on the basis of the unwanted legalities, nepotism, and liabilities. I still think it’s a good idea.

If the intern is unpaid, you don’t have to worry about the employment tax withholdings, wage reporting, workmans comp / unemployment / disability insurances. However, you would be wise to cover yourself with an insurance rider for liability (injury, theft, negligence) associated with having an intern on site.

To my point, trade the work for studio time… barter.