Memo for those who are planning for the first time to recruit interns

    Structured personal experience of a small IT-company: where to look, what to download, how to select, how to relate and how not to get a trainee-dementor. For those who have multi-letters - at the end there are brief conclusions.

    A little bit about our attitude towards interns in general

    The intern is not the one who does all the “dirty” work, not the one who just works for free and not the one who can be blamed on the problem client who has already tortured us. Let's go over a little more on each of the points:

    • About boring tasks

    A whole day of "Ctrl C + Ctrl V", xering-hole punching and running around on small assignments - such work can only cause irritation, antipathy and apathy. And further down the chain: rolled-up eyes and the phrase “not only in company X” during conversations on the topic “how I spent the summer” with group mates - and in the end we lose potential employees. Still, for large amounts of tedious and nervous work, you have to pay well, redistribute it, or be prepared for staff turnover — which, in turn, will aggravate the situation even more, because during the search for a new person you will accumulate more work. However, this is a completely different story.

    • About the work "for free"

    Yes, trainees are less interested in money than job seekers. The fourth-year student from Skoltech, who requested 100,000 per month, was cut off immediately, the rest of the applicants were not very interested in the size of their salaries. But if a person is ready to give his time without receiving in return a sufficient amount of something valuable for him (money, experience, completed cases in a portfolio, connections, material for scientific research, corporate amenities), then perhaps this is either a person with very low self-esteem, or his qualifications and personal qualities leave much to be desired.

    • About problem customers

    We did not try to do this ourselves, but we know from the experience of our friends that this will make things even worse. Introduction to the course of work when dealing with a problem client takes a lot of time from someone who just wanted to get rid of boring work, and inept communication and emotional instability of the trainee will lead to double work, loss of time or even loss of a client.

    Why do we need interns?

    1. Staff reserve

    We have a small startup that develops solutions on its own platform of the Internet of Things. The company is very young and is known only in narrow circles, we have not yet deployed large-scale marketing, but the staff needs to be increased regularly. There is usually no time for long searches for specialists (the contract is signed, the client is waiting), as well as “ready” employees (everyone will have to spend some time or another on understanding the specifics of working with the platform) - so I want to have “in reserve” people who we know and who know about us.

    2. What the hands did not reach

    We gave the interns a project that will later come in handy for the development of the company - but at the same time we didn’t raise a hand to allocate for this time the already very busy full-time developers. Moreover, the project was a research project and we were not sure that it would not lead to a dead end.

    3. Bleeding our Jedi Knights to the Masters

    At the moment we have a lot of juniors, who will increase to middles as they increase their staff, and then to seniors. But for this you need to be able not only to code yourself in the corner, but also to effectively build the work of the team - and this is where many people lack experience and skills.

    Fantastic trainees and where they live

    The idea of ​​"starting interns" came to us in December. We started implementation in April - which was a big mistake, since the most enterprising and promising interns who participated in various studies, hackathons and contests and have good experience and portfolio, have already been overrun by large companies. In addition, we delayed the writing of the announcement - for example, we did not publish anything until we discussed with the accountant how much we will pay the guys during the internship. As it turned out, in vain, because this point of our "eagles" practically did not care.

    The schedule was chosen partially removed (it is necessary to come to the office 1-2 times a week) due to the limited office space (the trainees had to communicate a lot, and we did not have separate rooms for them) and the lack of free equipment. As a requirement, the basic knowledge of “Python” was established, since the project was to be completed for research interns, and Python is a priori considered a scientific language with a large number of ready-made libraries. Plus, on it, we started writing the code base when we started preparing this project ourselves.

    Next, we used the standard channels: posts in social networks, websites and mailings of universities (MIPT, HSE, Skoltech, Bauman Moscow State Technical University), and also addressed the curators of the universities listed above. The variant with the curators worked best of all - apparently affected by the fact that the oral message from “your” person stands out in the information field better than the next e-mail or post. So long live the word of mouth.

    Selection, screening and other ...

    Despite the jamb with deadlines, the niche of the company and the lack of a large budget for placing announcements, we received about 35 contacts: these were either the phones of promising guys from the curators, or e-mail requests from those who saw the ads on the network.

    After the first call, about half fell off - some wanted to work in other areas (Big Data, artificial intelligence, and so on), the second for a month or more went home, someone was intercepted by other companies, someone merged for personal reasons ... Until 11 people reached the interview stage - five of them eventually were taken. Among them was one English-speaking student from Congo - frankly, we breathed out with some relief when we saw that as a mathematician he was not bad, but with the development he was very tight (he could not do even very simple things like filling an array) and he wasn’t fits Not that we couldn’t cope, everyone speaks English - but the project was already frightening with its novelty and unexploredness, and didn’t want to complicate it even more with the need to work in a foreign language.
    The rest mostly came with pieces of ready-made code, we asked them technical questions and paid special attention to the degree of enthusiasm - because from personal experience we knew that at first the prospect of working all summer in a real company seemed attractive, but after exams the heat reduced by 70% .

    By the way - some looked interview our CEO. As it turned out later, this had a stunning effect - the trainees immediately felt important birds, which markedly increased their loyalty to the company.

    Selected, what next?

    Procedurally, the design of interns was not much different from hiring new employees - contracts, employment records , issuing permits , creating cards on the service , where we order food, and bookkeeping.

    Connect guys to corporate chat in Slackwe didn’t, we limited ourselves to VK, which also turned out to be a good option - even going about their business or having fun, the guys saw that messages were piling up in the chat, and this encouraged them to get involved more often. The maximum period of silence was 5 days - this happened 6 weeks after the start of the internship, when the team felt that it had reached a dead end, we were already beginning to worry, but fortunately, after a couple of days everyone returned with fresh ideas that eventually worked. So do not be afraid to let the boys catch their breath. Although it is possible that we were just lucky and the team got organized.

    Three people worked with the interns - one manager who deals with all educational issues and personnel projects, one programmer from the advanced development group and another from the web development group, since the research topic closely intersected with his own graduation project. Our managers are planning through KaitenThe tasks for the interns were quite time-based and were easily added to the general plan. It was more difficult with the developers and Scrum - someone said that we were messing around with the trainees too much, others, on the contrary, thought that our main task for this period was the care of our “chicks”. As a result, by and large the volume of work on major projects has not changed, but some of them have slowed down and ultimately took more time. Well, I had to sit up from time to time, of course.

    Responsibilities in the team were distributed somehow by themselves: girls-mathematicians (three of them) sat down for calculations, while they used programming as a tool for calculations (they were not ready to sit on the command line all the time), and the guys were engaged in the backend and partially in the front-end. Frankly speaking, we are glad that not all five of them were engaged in calculations. The dialogue with the male half of the group was basically brief (setting the task - when can you show something? - are there any questions, do you need help with something?), But with the girls-mathematicians we had long conversations, wandering around understandable even to us wilds. If someone can advise us for the future, how to effectively build communication with mathematicians on research projects - we will be grateful for your advice!

    Watch out, dementor: how did we get the wrong person

    At the end of the internship in our idyllic garden of developing and blossoming, one “weed” started. At the end of July, a master student approached our CEO Ilya at the conference and began to ask for an internship very persistently. He redirected him to our system architect, who, without delving into the subtleties of our selection system, seeing how well all the other trainees work, and simply out of the kindness of his heart allowed him to join the team.

    Throughout the following month, the newly appeared intern showed himself to be an exemplary dementor — that is, he dealt exclusively with selecting our resources (from time to cookies) without giving anything in return, and leaving a very nasty feeling after talking to himself. As a result of working with him, we realized that:

    1. It is not necessary to take on an internship people who do not respect the time of others

    Show curiosity to your task is necessary. By the way a company or technology works, it’s possible, but not to the detriment of one’s own and others ’work, and at least something googling before distracting a living person with paid time. Our anti-hero showed his curiosity in the worst of ways - he just looked like without demand and demanded “right now” to give him answers to questions not related to his tasks, and he formulated his requests so badly and confusedly that we got to the bottom half an hour He asked irrelevant and tactless questions, molested diners, and finally, frankly eavesdropping, standing at the door.

    2. Not everyone who has a great desire transforms it into skills.

    The first few weeks of the month that the intern spent with us, we gave him various tasks - first, on coding and calculations (at the same time, everything had to be explained and chewed for a long time), then they tried to load it with purely technical tasks (which he did a lot of mistakes), they even tried to attach it to the tasks of the projects and marketing - but in the end, in 4 weeks, he, alas, didn’t do anything.

    3. You need to leave yourself the opportunity to terminate the contract in case the trainee’s behavior will cause damage, and not benefit the company

    A week later, we wanted to part with this young man - but realized that termination of the contract would take away unreasonably many resources from us, so we took the position of an adult who was asked to sit with the child - that is, let him sit in the corner, be busy with something and nothing It does not break.

    At the end of the internship, he was expectedly asked for a permanent job - we gave him honest feedback and recommendations on filling the gaps in his knowledge, he promised to work on them, and we parted without a negative.

    Finish line and conclusions

    Before the presentation, we held a review contest for interns, promising glory, honor and Power Bank to the winners - while the girls were expectedly more sociable and wrote very funny and touching works. But for guys this motivation did not work - so they had to receive feedback from them, unobtrusively asking questions at dinner.

    On their last day, the guys gave a presentation and showed the results of the research. After the presentation, we handed over to all interns certificates confirming successful internships, corporate sweatshirts (we slightly modified them by adding the “Internship finished” stamp on top of the logo), awarded the winner of the feedback contest, took photos and gave the three interns offers. One girl had to be abandoned (she was still learning, and working as a part-time project in terms of our volumes would not work), the second got a part-time job, and the guy - full-time.

    What conclusions have we made for ourselves?

    1. Start looking for people better in March or earlier.

    2. Decisions to be made in advance:

    • How many people will work?
    • What will the interns have tasks?
    • What will be the format and schedule of work (internally, remotely, the combined version)?
    • Who will deal with them? How to redistribute tasks mentor so that neither he nor his projects suffer?
    • Are there jobs and equipment?
    • What is the set of trainee knowledge and competency requirements?

    3. Curators in universities - our best friends, brothers and personnel dealers.

    4. In the announcement of the recruitment of interns, it is necessary to indicate the work schedule and the necessary knowledge. The rest for most of them is not so important.

    5. Do not take anyone without an interview.

    6. Half-distance internship is a good option when there is little space and free computers.

    7. When making a contract, it is better to give yourself room for maneuvers in case the trainee does not behave adequately.

    8. According to reviews, we realized that the children would like to be presented to the whole team, they lacked the feeling of belonging not only to their working group, but also to the company as a whole - we will correct it for the future.

    At the end of the internship, we received a working application for stream processing of non-deterministic data, one full-fledged and one part-time employee, and experience in a completely new form of work for us. And, despite all the shoals and difficulties, we already know for sure that next summer we want to recruit interns again. Thanks for attention.

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