by Paul Sevcik
Paul is a contributor to the Intern Matters blog, but his recent experience transitioning from intern to full-time employee is a great story for interns and future interns who are investigating their path to a career. Read his story below and start thinking about how you can make the move from intern to employee.
I was in the last semester of my MBA program and all indicators were bad. The job market was down and paid positions were scarce as recently laid-off seasoned professionals joined the merry-go-round looking for work. At a networking event, I learned about an unadvertised internship at a company located in the same building where I took to my graduate courses. I chatted up the CEO of the company and was invited to apply for the internship.
This particular company had a unique way for potential interns to start the application process. Submit a resume? “No, thank you,’ they said. Call some references? “Nope, we don’t do that,’ they said, “just go to our website.’ Oh boy. I had heard that story a thousand times!
Although skeptical, I went to their website and applied by taking their Role-Based Assessment, which actually turned out to be fun. When I clicked submit, I received the typical: “We’ll be in touch.’ I followed up by sending an email to the CEO of the company. The next day, I received an invitation to interview with them.
The interview was like any other with typical questions about my skills and experience,but a new dimension was added when they actually gave me my assessment results. This was a surprise because I had received my results at an interview before. I read over the report and thought,“Wow, this company really gets me! Before they even brought me in today, they knew how I could contribute to their team. Wait a minute–they brought me in because they already know I will be a positive contributor to their company!’ The interview discussion was very productive and within a week, I was working at The Gabriel Institute doing work that I really enjoyed.
I worked at The Gabriel Institute for three months and sampled work in Sales, Human Resources, and Operations. I had expressed interest in these areas during my interview and my supervisor made sure to balance the type of work I did. In the process, I worked with every person in the organization, which was a small startup company with a heavy entrepreneurial focus.
As my third month came to a close, I received and accepted an offer for full-time work at another company. The experience at the new company, however, was so negatively different from the supportive and productive environment at The Gabriel Institute that I terminated employment at the new company on my 90th day.
So there I was without a job or internship and no sign of the economy improving anytime soon. What was I going to do?
I asked the CEO of The Gabriel Institute, the company where I had done my internship, out to breakfast and the next morning we sat down to talk about my future with the company. My internship was reignited with a bend toward temp-to-hire work. Three months later, I transitioned from a temp to a full-time employee and now, I’m the Client Services Manager. Part of my job is to oversee the internship program. Today, the program is formalized and the positions are advertised at local universities, several online internship sites, and on the company’s website. The process for becoming an intern still starts at the website and we only bring in interns if we know their assessment results fit with our needs. The assessment works like a charm and I am proof it’s possible to go from intern to full-time employee at a small company that’s willing to take the risk during turbulent times.