Who needs interns?


    Hello, Habr!

    In the last article, we generally looked at the programmer’s career track in terms of RPG. Now let's imagine that we just started with the first level of the game "IT career" and consider in detail this first level - internship. Moreover, for greater immersion, we will study an internship on the part of the business.

    When are interns not needed?

    The key mistake of many start-up businesses is the desire to recruit interns. The illusion is simple: "now we will find the man cheaper, we will quickly train him, and he will do everything himself." So it may be, but statistically the probability of this event is negligible. As a rule, interns who have pumped up in small companies quickly realize the breadth of the labor market and go to where everything is better organized, there are more prospects and higher salaries.

    In addition, trainees for starting a business are disastrous. They distract the time of shareholders to teach a beginner. At the start, it is necessary to engage in sales and production development in turbo mode, otherwise you may not reach the stage of stability. Especially the clinical case when they take an intern to a site that they themselves do not understand. It always ends with lost time and frustration for both sides.

    At the micro-business stage (which means “micro” - see RF Government Resolution No. 101 and 209-FZ) it is important to quickly recruit a team of independent experienced professionals who will close the main areas: sales, production, finance, customer operations. And only then, under these comrades, is it already possible to recruit people more simply. I hope someday this primitive knowledge will be included in the curriculum of high school or at least the first courses of economic universities.

    Who can help interns?

    When your company already has a stable team of leading specialists who know what and how to do, and have more or less set up work, you can start taking interns.

    The less developed the company, the less responsible work you can trust newcomers. At the very beginning, I would take interns only for office management, document management, making appointments and other simple activities. In fact, this is a secretary or “assistant to the general director” - whoever likes it more.

    In the IT company, I recommend taking interns in specialized fields (programmers, designers, analysts, etc.) only under the following conditions:
    • you are already 50 people or more;
    • You steadily generate profit for several months;
    • You have formed a stable stream of small tasks;
    • your growth is so rapid that you do not have time to take on the market experts (which is unlikely when the size of the company is up to 100-200 people).

    If at least one of these points is not fulfilled - think about it 100 times before posting a job as an intern - it’s too early for you to think about raising a new generation.

    If you are already making money confidently, growing fast, and you have accumulated a stream of routine, you can start taking people for an internship. The main benefit from this is that leading experts unload their expensive time from the small work that beginners can do. Plus, your leads are trained to educate other people - this is a useful skill for development into a top manager.

    Immediately make a reservation that raising a person in one company from an intern to a teambuilder or an art director is an extremely rare successful event. For 11 years of an IT career, I have seen this three or four times. In our country, after the USSR, the culture of long work in one company has disappeared somewhere, although in Europe and Asia it is considered the norm to devote more than 10 years to one corporation.

    How to hire them?

    The main sources of young growth:
    • hh.ru (for IT specialties);
    • rabota.ru;
    • job.ru;
    • job fairs;
    • close relations with the departments of universities and colleges.

    At an interview with people of this level, I check the availability of meta-skills:
    • the ability to correctly express thoughts in writing (ask for an essay);
    • the ability to find a common language with people;
    • a strong desire to learn (when you talk to him about his profession - his eyes light up and he begins to sparkle with ideas);
    • a neat and healthy appearance (no one is always ill, the sluts will also annoy the team members, and sports will discipline and make a person energetic).

    You can throw me tomatoes, but, unfortunately, in our schools of all the above items, at best, the first is vaccinated. And even then, for the 1-2 course of the university, the Russian language with a bullet flies out of the head of most students. So, all hope for a good upbringing in the family.

    If everything is OK with meta-competencies, I look at what crafts a person has already created himself in his future profession. A good intern programmer has already tried to do some kind of programs on dolphins, simple sites in PHP or databases in Access (ideally fork for Linux or drivers for USB, but this is a lot of luck).

    It makes no sense to torture a person more with questions at an interview for an internship - you need to try him in practice. It doesn’t work out - it's okay. No matter how it sounds in the style of “social Darwinism,” the trainees are cannon fodder. Of the tens and hundreds, only a few remain. Someone generally understands that IT is not his, and is moving to another industry. Someone does not want to deal with sites in PHP, but wants to make drivers in C - also an option. Someone just doesn’t want to work.

    In general, do not place excessive hopes on them so as not to be upset once again.

    How to develop them?

    The key point is that every trainee must have a curator. If there is no curator, you are just wasting your money on the company and the time of the intern. One curator may have several interns (I would limit myself to two, based on personal experience).

    Tasks of the curator:
    • to cultivate labor discipline (go to work on time, keep promises);
    • Integrate the newcomer into the team (introduce people, take dinners, talk about optional events);
    • give professional literature and other teaching aids in accordance with the level of the intern;
    • gradually increase the complexity of tasks and help if a person has tried everything in every way, but he doesn’t succeed.

    The most common mistake of beginning curators is to do all the work for the trainee, if something did not work out the first time. This is categorically wrong - such behavior demotivates and pampers a beginner. It is enough to do this 2-3 times, and the trainee’s independence will disappear - he will have to say goodbye or re-educate him, but with another curator.

    If the ward didn’t succeed, ask him suggestive questions, let him google it and try again. Give links to solutions to similar problems, let them research and study. Only knowledge gained through independent practice will be assimilated for a long time.

    Another issue in which inexperienced executives are often blundered is whether the trainee's promotion is too fast, both in position and in income. I believe that a novice can be transferred to the post of “specialist” only after he confidently, independently and stably copes with tasks of a certain level.

    I repeat - pampering people is extremely dangerous . You will overestimate their self-esteem ahead of time, and they will think that you can not finish the work to the end, but the increase will still be. So you harm both the intern and yourself. Read more about pink unicorns in fragile heads here .


    It makes sense to take interns only if you have a sufficiently mature company. If you yourself are still not very firmly on your feet - take only experienced professionals into the team.

    Raising interns is a delicate matter, comparable to raising children. It is very simple to do harm, and to grow a good specialist is a real job.

    That's all for interns on the part of business for now.
    Good luck!

    Thank you tym32167 for help in finalizing the article.

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