In Minneapolis, Intern-Hunting is Basically ‘The Dating Game’

By Bob Marshall 

Pictured to your left is Grant Spanier, a young UX intern at the Minneapolis office of Digitaria (formerly known as JWT Minneapolis). While Grant has yet to do much of note since he got hired last Friday, the process that he went through to attain his new job is quite bizarre.

You see, the Twin Cities are home to terrible professional football, baseball, basketball and hockey teams. So, when watching old VHS tapes of The Mighty Ducks gets boring, Minnesotans have to get creative with the most mundane of tasks in order to stave off depression. That’s why for the past two years, the Minneapolis Interactive Marketing Association (MIMA) has allowed local agencies to select interns by putting young marketing hopefuls through a process that looks a lot like “The Dating Game.” Agencies taking part in the 2012 edition of the InternGame were Digitaria, Periscope, Pixel Farm Digital, 3 Deep and The Nerdery.

After phone-screening a slew of interviewees, MIMA cuts the field down to 15, five categories of three competitors. Then, interested agencies grill interviewees with three questions to see who’s the best candidate for their internship openings. This year, Digitaria’s director of UX (and MIMIA VP) Jason Kleckner interviewed three potential interns, two on stage and one (Spanier) via Skype from a Starbucks in New York. So, what three answers for Kleckner won Spanier the internship? Read a transcript of Digitaria’s contribution to the InternGame after the jump.

1. KLECKNER: One of my key philosophies is to give the people what they want…also a great song by The O’Jays. I find that this is a key principle of User Experience, and almost as importantly, a key principle in karaoke. When choosing a karaoke song to sing, I think is it really important to read the crowd… know what they want… and then pick a song based on that. So, based on this crowd here tonight, what would be the ideal karaoke song to sing right now, and why?

SPANIER: Britney Spears: “I’m not that innocent”

2. KLECKNER: As Vice President of MIMA and Director of UX at Digitaria, I am always wondering what’s next in the world of interactive. There are things that we do online today that seemed crazy 5 or 10 years ago. Which brings me to this two-part question: Aside from applying for an internship online, what is the craziest thing you’ve done online? And, what is something that seems crazy to do online now, but will be commonplace 10 years from now?

SPANIER: Most recently, finding someone online to sleep on their couch while in New York for Internet Week. And in the future: Online marriages!

3.  KLECKNER: As a UX intern you’ll get broad exposure to everything that happens in the agency. You’ll need to multitask, juggle a lot of projects, wear many hats (if you will). So, the question is… can you juggle?

SPANIER: Yes. Salt Shakers.

And, yes, Spanier then showed off his salt shaker juggling prowess via Skype.