Published on March 13, 2015
So you had an interview with The Intern Group two days ago, and you are unsure about how it went. You answered a couple of nerve-racking questions about your work style and where you see your career going. Now, all you have to do is wait. You can almost see it, working in the big city and meeting a ton of different people from all over the world. Imagine important business meetings and opportunities to Instagram all rolled into one. And then it happens. You get the call. You’ve been accepted into The Intern Group program. You’re now moments away from packing your bags and spontaneously breaking into song!
However, there’s one last step that needs to take place before you can walk into an office in the city of your dreams.
That’s right, I’m talking about the placement process. The placement process will have been discussed during your initial interview, but there might be questions floating around in the back of your mind.
“How exactly does the placement process work?”
“Where will I be interning?”
“How does the guarantee work?”
As an alumni of the London program who now works for The Intern Group, I’m going to give you a little insider information on how the placement process works, and answer those questions. I understand your concerns because I had them myself!
Before the placement process begins:
Here’s how it works. If you’re accepted into the program and confirm your place, your profile is then with our placement specialists in your destination. All accepted applicants have a customized profile built from our initial interview with you, which consists of your academic qualifications, previous work experience, skills, interests, industry preferences, and our evaluation of your character. Our placement specialists are highly trained and have built up a lot of expertise in achieving successful matches. They will use your profile rigorously when considering which company from our list of partners would be best suited for you. With over 1,000 partner companies in our global network we are not short of options, and our team across the world continuously establishes new partnerships so we can source the best possible opportunities for our participants. Each partner company has specific needs too of course, so this is another factor taken into account in the matching process.
What did that mean for me? I applied to The Intern Group with Journalism & Media as my primary industry preference. I also mentioned during my initial interview that I would love, if possible, a role associated in some way with political or travel writing. The team took everything into consideration, and arranged an interview with a company; let’s call it Company A.
Why did The Intern Group set me up with an interview with Company A? Well, the team not only focuses on your primary and secondary industries, but they also consider which role is the best match for you as an individual - it is a holistic process taking into account your interests, experience and our partner company needs. We truly want you to be in the best place for your professional development. If you get matched with a role in your secondary preference industry, it’s because the placement team knows that role is better than any other you could have possibly been matched with. The majority - around 85% of participants - get their first choice industry but flexibility is important in case a great match for you arises in your secondary preference.
So, getting back to my interview with Company A. I found myself asking an endless cycle of questions in the run up. Did I have experience as a journalist or writer? Yes, I did, but not as much as I needed in the future. Did I like the company’s profile? Yes. Would the company then take me on for sure? Well I didn’t know, because I wasn’t sure if I would impress them during the interview.
An important thing to keep in mind is that while you are guaranteed an internship in your first or second choice industry sector if you are accepted, it is still your responsibility to impress the company that interviews you. Being an Intern Group participant meant that I was pre-approved for roles in Company A, but I still had to show them I was the right person. It’s just like any other job interview, except here you automatically get to the front of the queue. Our partner companies trust our recommendations but they still like to confirm for themselves. Before they give you your very own coffee mug and a desk, you still must prove that you‘re the right candidate.
We have a guarantee in place if you are accepted into our program. If we are unable to place you in your primary or secondary industry sector of choice, we will refund your payment. This is extremely rare, because if you fail your interview with the initial match that we propose, we will set you up with another one and coach you up until you are successful. It is highly unusual that an accepted participant is consistently rejected for roles by our partners but we have put this guarantee in place for your peace of mind. If you are accepted and confirm your place, we are committed to securing you a role in your chosen industry sectors.
Before the interview with a partner company:
Before I even had the interview, I realized I had come further than my friends and graduates my age. Because I had been accepted to the program and essentially recommended by The Intern Group for internships with their partner companies, I had access to far more opportunities. Before I applied to the London program, I had spent months (four, to be exact), looking for jobs and internships on my own. I got nowhere, and that’s because a lot of good roles aren’t even advertised openly and are often filled internally. Secondly, it was not just an internship I was applying for, it was an international internship. Getting domestic work experience is difficult enough, but getting high-quality work experience in a country where you don’t know anyone and have zero knowledge about job markets is next to impossible - without advice, support and recommendations of course.
That’s how I realized that the local team of placement specialists really knew what they were doing. Not only are they experts in placing people with their best match, but they also know tons about the local labour market. So, I had the interview with Company A, and with the help and advice of The Intern Group, I was able to impress them enough to get the internship!
During the internship:
Looking back, I couldn’t have asked for a better placement. It’s not just the amazing people I met and my great co-workers and supervisors; it was the learning experience itself. What I figured out is this: the London placement specialists had arranged an internship that helped me even without me realizing it.
In my experience there are two ways that a job, or indeed an internship, can help you. One, it builds on the experience you already have, and sharpens your skills. The second alternative is that the internship gives you the work experience you didn’t have, and gives you the skills you need. Sometimes it’s a combination of both, sometimes it’s one or the other. Our program provides a great environment to develop personally and professionally. How much you get out of it depends on your attitude and the effort you put in.
So how did my internship help me?
I was able to get the writing experience that I was looking for, but I also got experience with basic coding for websites, managing social media and optimizing online traffic (SEO), digital marketing, and a whole set of related skills that I can put on my resume/CV. The more types of skills that you can learn, the more options you will have in the future. I’m no longer that person with only one arrow in their quiver.
Of course, the internship is just one part of The Intern Group Program. But I hope I have been able to shine more light on the placement process.
Jo Subramaniam, International Admissions Officer, The Intern Group