Internship Takeaways and Process Tips

Maximizing the Benefits and Managing the Program

Is your internship program working for your company and your interns? Whether you recruit from top engineering schools, receive direct applicants, or hire referrals from your network, getting feedback and creating value from that feedback is an imperative part of the internship ‘win-win’ process.

Implementing an internship program has numerous benefits:

  • Interns can increase your team’s overall productivity while learning the intricacies of a certain field or department
  • Interns bring a fresh set of eyes and new perspective to old problems and are able to apply their education to practical situations
  • The most successful interns make great future employees

This summer, Objective Paradigm welcomed three interns to our Research and Sourcing Team. As the summer wrapped up, I set out to interview them about their experience so that we can refine our program to be even better. Here’s what they had to say along with our team’s process notes and key takeaways.

Katie, Psychology Major – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Tech Recruiting is not your typical psychology internship, but Katie knew she wanted to branch out of her comfort zone and experience something new.

Process Notes: Internally, we know that recruiting and sourcing require behavior analysis, pattern recognition and other key components to the discipline of Psychology, so we were excited to have her on board.

When asked what her biggest takeaway from the internship was, Katie noted it was the importance of teamwork; both with the team of interns and with the company as a whole. Considering the time we spent carefully choosing our team of interns, it was great to hear that they thought their team was “awesome” too!

Process Notes: Objective Paradigm’s Lead Sourcer submitted 28 intern candidates to the team, 18 were screened by phone, and 9 onsite interviews were conducted. After the interview process, OP narrowed the potential hires down to 3, with 2 backups in case of rejected offers. OP’s team started the process in March of 2017 for start dates in May and June of 2017.

Overall, Katie felt that she could reach out to anyone in the company, with questions on anything without any judgement. However, Katie also noted that as an intern, getting to know everyone at the company was a little difficult.

OP Takeaway: With 40 full time employees spread across multiple teams, each with their own day-to-day responsibilities, sometimes there isn’t time for in-depth conversations or exposure to what other parts of the business were doing. Ongoing we will explore ways for the interns to learn more about what the recruiters do – we will consider a day or a week to shadow people in cross functional teams and a desire to learn.

Katie also mentioned that working in a new environment with different types of responsibilities was a little out of her comfort zone- as it is for anyone starting a new position.  However, she felt as though the experience helped her grow and learn so much about the recruiting industry.  Even with unfamiliar situations, she addressed it with confidence.  

OP Takeaway: Make sure the internship job description is detailed, but also allows for flexibility in responsibilities on both sides. Your intern onboarding should line up with the job description and regular check-ins will help to prevent any overwhelming feelings the intern may have. Remember, for some, this is the first time they have used Outlook, Chrome extensions, multiple data sources and cloud platforms.

In the end, Katie really enjoyed the final internship project and gained more than knowledge during her experience at OP; she wrapped up her internship feeling that it truly changed the course of her life. The internship with OP’s Research and Sourcing Team turned out to be a valuable experience for us and for Katie.

Mohmed, Computer Science – University of Illinois at Chicago

Having completed a series of data courses in school, Mohmed came to OP with a technical background and a passion for analyzing and organizing data. He was drawn to the internship because of that, along with his interest in the HR aspect of the position. Mohmed sensed the opportunity would give him insight to what goes on behind the scenes of the hiring process for tech talent.

Process Notes: When training and onboarding interns show them how each role in the company contributes to the successful outcome of your organization’s service or product.

One benefit in particular Mohmed noted was that OP worked with a variety of tech companies, allowing him to learn about services and products on the market. In addition to acquiring knowledge on companies he didn’t even know existed, Mohmed also had the opportunity to network.

Despite Mohmed’s love of the independence of the work he was given, he wished there had been more opportunities to participate with others.  

OP Takeaway: Create a balance between intern projects, job shadow time, and education. Be transparent with interns in regards to 1:1 time available. Put expectations in front and schedule for productivity and value on both sides.

With that said, the group project was a refreshing change of pace for Mohmed since he was able to get to know his own team of interns more. Additionally, he knew the project would impact the company and it was great to get recognition for the project’s completion.

OP Takeaway: By setting up a group intern project, not only did we promote teamwork, but we also recognized the intern team for their hard work. OP set aside time for presentations on the results of their projects. This exercise allowed our team to gain valuable insight to our placements; whether it was the exact source of the candidate or the timing and length of the hiring process for candidates.  

In the end, the biggest takeaway from Mohmed’s internship was that he learned to trust the process of recruitment and the recruiter who knows the client’s needs and is in tune with the requirements. Mohmed learned that being patient throughout the hiring process is critical to doing the job right and the data insights observed could be more than helpful in his own future job search.  

Overall, Mohmed made connections with the team at OP and looks forward to keeping in touch. Mohmed shared an interesting perspective with me, as he observed the recruitment process he realized that it’s never too late to change jobs; taking some of the pressure off having to have the perfect plan in the post-grad world.  

Natasha, Cognitive Science – Northwestern

At the time of applying to internships, Natasha wanted to explore what was out there. The Research and Sourcing team internship sounded like it fit her skills; such as strong attention to detail, highly-organized, and a data intrigued individual.  

When the offer accept came along, she gave a shout out to one of our sourcers, Robyn, for helping her with her decision. Robyn was extremely personable and Natasha felt comfortable accepting the offer. While Natasha was excited to accept the offer, she noted that she felt a little anxious waiting for it to be sent her way.  

OP Takeaway: Natasha ended up waiting approximately 30 days from interview to offer and felt that was a bit long. So did we! It’s unfortunate that Natasha had this experience, however we started the process early knowing that our team would be traveling and candidates would be preparing for finals and wrapping up the school year. In the future we will clearly lay out timelines when starting our intern interview process.

Throughout the internship, Natasha enjoyed our weekly Sourcing meetings and noted it was nice to hear about the activities taking place across the company.  And, like all of us, she looked forward to OP’s Bagel Wednesdays.

The final project, was a bit more nerve-racking for Natasha. Presenting as a team helped and allowed her to have immediate support for any questions that arose.

Process Notes: The biggest challenge we presented was a loosely structured report and presentation project. the project, discussed during the interview process, was an independent study that explored what would be beneficial for the company to know based on the data we were collecting. At the end of the internship program, observations were presented at a company-wide All Hands Meeting, making the project an excellent addition for their resumes. Internally, the project was beneficial because the interns brought a new approach to analyzing the data that we already have access to. Overall, the interns’ independent study added value to a deeper  understanding of our own processes.  

One of Natasha’s biggest takeaways is that she does not see herself sitting at a desk all day, but admits the internship made her realize the importance of paying attention to detail and understanding when you have to prioritize projects.

 The reoccurring theme that came up with all three interns is the value of teamwork.

The relationships formed during their time at OP will be just as lasting, if not more, as the work they did. Teamwork is one of OP’s core values, and we were happy to see that it was succesfully represented in our summer intern program as well as our day-to-day work.

In order to achieve that beneficial ‘win-win’ internship an organization must plan, manage and learn from the experience. Have you checked in with your interns?

Nina Luzzo_OP_Sourcer

Nina Luzzo, Research and Sourcing Specialist at Objective Paradigm-Talution Group, is a graduate of DePaul University. Nina studied Sociology: Law, Crime and Criminology, in addition to dedicating much of her free time to tutoring at the Quantitative Reasoning Center at DePaul. Nina thrives on new approaches to old problems through data analysis.

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