Join me in my reflections on the mad summer of 2020, when I somehow managed to score an internship and change my life through the experience
What better way to prepare for taking on interns in 2021 than to do some reflections on the 2020 internship experience? I was an intern in those incredibly sticky summer days in July and August. I was sat in a small room, at a rickety tiny desk with my 6-year-old laptop joining my first remote team.
In the end my internship was extended a couple of times before I was eventually offered a full-time job! I’m now writing this in my flat, at my big IKEA desk on my company MacBook. What a difference a few months can make!
Lots of companies scrapped their internship programmes in 2020 and went into survival mode in the spring – that’s all well and good but they haven’t been able to learn from taking on an intern this year! If this sounds like your company, I’m inviting you to join me in my reflections of my 2020 internship experience.
When I first joined the team as the Content and Social Media Intern, I was so excited and so nervous. I felt like my whole career was hinged on this 4 week experience.
In the end it worked out amazingly, but I can’t say the same for my friends, the people I ‘graduated’ with this year. Not one of them has found their dream graduate job – or even taken on an internship yet!
So before you open your digital (or real) doors back up to giving 2020 grads opportunities and internship experiences, let’s reflect on what we can learn.
1 – Let’s be generous with it
The next time you advertise an internship opportunity, I can bet you’ll be flooded with applicants. And even though some of them might be really unlucky 2020 grads that haven’t managed to land a single job since uni, I really want to encourage you to be generous.
I’d love to see companies of all sizes employ multiple interns throughout 2021. Please be generous and offer as many people as you can the job!
This is going to be so vital come the spring. This is when 2021 graduates are going to start applying in droves… and the 2020 graduates are going to have an even tougher time.
I’d even consider running a 2020 graduate only internship programme.
2 – Keep it remote!
Now hear me out. I know remote working really isn’t for everyone. And even if you’re considering going back to the office, I would like to hope that you consider running remote internships.
It might sound crazy, but remote internships really open your vacancy up to the world.
This is especially true if you have a big city-based office. There are loads of great candidates that just can’t afford to move to the city on an internship wage. They also might not be able to afford the train every day.
When you run remote internships, you give people from a lower socioeconomic background a chance. And that is invaluable for their careers.
3 – Pay your interns
Why are we still talking about paying actual human beings for the time and effort? It’s the bare minimum you should offer as the employer!
4 – It’s about them
The reason why I had so much fun and found so much success in my internship is because it was about me. I was trained up in the essentials and then given the opportunity to decide what I wanted to get out of it.
I volunteered to help with different projects, learn new things and really take this internship into my own hands.
One of the big benefits of taking on an intern is that they could take some work off your plate, but consider leaving them enough time to proactively choose for themselves what to do.
One of the big benefits of doing an internship is to be able to soak up all the knowledge you can. So please don’t bog down your intern with boring admin tasks!
5 – It’s also about you
Staying on this subject, so many employers don’t make the most of having an intern. I seriously recommend using them to your advantage.
Not in a bad way but asking them about how you can improve your managing, onboarding and hiring processes. Your intern will have some great insider and outsider knowledge, so please take advantage of that!
6 – Consider going it blind
Blind recruitment can be a weird way to go about hiring a junior, but I really believe it works.
Employers all over the world use blind recruitment to focus on skills over experience. This way they hire the best talent, not the best talker.
In this way, blind recruitment takes a lot of the risk out of hiring a long-term intern. So I recommend getting to perfecting your application task, because to hire the best talent you’ll need it!
So you see, even though 2020 was absolutely awful, some reflections reveal that the 2020 internship experience can teach us something. I hope we take all of these reflections into the new year and really focus on giving our poor 2020 grads some great opportunities.
If you need any help making a great application task or hiring juniors at all, the DigitalGrads team has you covered. Sign up today to find the perfect intern to join your team.