Are you going to intern somewhere this summer? Or are you planning to do that after your graduation? Never done it in your life? Are you willing to improve your “internship hunting capabilities”?
If so, you are just looking at the right column!
For two months I will be telling you everything about the internship, both in terms of technicalities, like the CV and the cover letter, and of attitudes, like energy and autonomy.
In a midsummer’s time: a midsummer’s internship guide.
Today’s focus is: the HR Department.
F for Flexibility
You are in your first internship days and a meeting is scheduled at 6 p.m. The participants are late. The same goes for the meeting. You are in charge of the memorandum, so you must stay, saying nothing and taking notes. The only thing you know for sure: your friends are going to wait a long time for you to enjoy the happy hour.
In real life, unexpected events do exist, don’t they? Do you really think that working life is so different? The magic word to cope with them is: flexibility. That is: the ability to re-arrange your plans and adapt to unexpected changes without being too much annoyed.
In practice: if your tutor asks you to stay in the office more than usual, don’t answer with a: “Yes” together with a resigned/unpleased face. Instead: say that this is not a problem for you. Then you might call your friends and explain the reasons of your delay. Trust in their flexibility, as well as in yours.
G for Goals within the Company
You have just understood the goals of what your work within the company, maybe they were explicitly stated by your tutor. Even better: understood by yourself paying attention on what you and your tutor are doing and, above all, how. Bear in mind that company goals are now your goals.
Indeed, during the internship you are hired to meet company goals, so you must be proactive, or, at least, cooperative, to make it happen. But in a long-run perspective, do you really think that company goals match with yours? Not a matter of philosophical discussion, but actually a more practical issue than it may appear.
The importance of values is rising up, to the point that they are considered an item of evaluation in the hiring process. Why? Simply because, if you don’t agree on them, you can’t work suitably with them. For example, you’re both a finance and human rights lover. You notice that the employees’ of the investment bank you are interning with are closer to Gordon Gekko than to Muhamad Yunus. If you’re not satisfied with that, it is worth looking for job opportunities where ethics goes hand in hand with finance, so after this internship looking into the microcredit industry may be an idea. The point is not getting a good job in absolute, instead in relative terms: a “great place to work” is not necessarily the “right one” for you.
H for HR Department
You have just arrived at your dream company’s door steps. Some people stand at the door, waiting for you. They want to know you if you are the person they are looking for. Their name is: “HR, HR Department”.
HR stands for Human Resources. They are responsible for “matching the right people with the right jobs”. This HR jingle stands for hiring only people most consistent with the company and with the position.
“Company consistency” points out people who have the same values as those of the company and underlines a set of the most wanted psychological features. This can vary from employer to employer and is assessed by the HR Department. “Position consistency” includes psychological characteristics, skills and education and it is checked by the HR Department in partnership with your future boss. Eventually, you must “be convincing” with both of them, but the first ones to asses you are the HR Department.
You may be skeptical about its conjecture of knowing and judging you on the basis of a first impression and of the results of an IQ or psychological test. However, HR professionals are your “entrance door” into the career world, wherever you apply: it’s a good reason to close your “disappointment door” and act politely and carefully with them, isn’t it?
By Valentina Magri, MA student in Management at Bocconi University