Having summer interns can be of great benefit to your company. You can increase productivity, gain understanding of the next generation, and foster leadership skills for other staff members as they mentor the interns. But maybe one of the most valuable benefits is what you can learn from interns’ observations of your company.
This summer Palmer Group had the privilege of having four interns in our office, two returning from last year (Ben Palmer and Jeanne Gookin) and two new individuals (Emma Sirfus and Luke Eastman). They spent the last few months shadowing and learning from various departments in our company. As they wrapped up their time here, I asked them to share some thoughts and highlights from their work in our office.
Jeanne and Ben, what did you enjoy most about coming back for a second summer?
J: It was great to come back and see the same people! Not only did I know several individuals already, I knew how certain processes and programs worked. Coming back to help with events was fun too.
B: Coming in, I had a head start from last summer. I knew some of the people, and this year I was able to work with more teams and expand my understanding of the company.
Emma and Luke, this was your first summer at our company. What stood out to you in your first few weeks?
L: I definitely noticed the culture. Everyone was friendly and welcoming right away. This made me feel comfortable working with the people as soon as I arrived.
E: Yes, the positive culture is noticeable. As I shadowed different teams, I saw this throughout each one.
In the many tasks and roles you had this summer, which ones were your favorite, which ones were most challenging, and why?
B: My favorite role, and most challenging, was update calls (reconnecting with candidates Palmer Group has worked with in the past). Getting to converse with potential candidates was the most rewarding because I was helping individuals and supporting my team at the same time. It was the most challenging because it’s difficult to get out of your shell and figure out the best thing to say. But at the end of the days, its rewarding to help individuals.
J: I learned how to take update and phone conversations farther, which allowed me to help with recruiting. I knew better what questions to ask. This year I also helped lead a big project, and overseeing it was challenging. But it helped develop my understanding of what it takes to be a leader.
E: I enjoyed working in the Human Resources department and helping develop materials for new programs that were just getting off the ground. The most challenging part for me was the update calls. Being able to read through someone’s resume, chat with them on the phone about an opening, and see if the position is the right fit for them is a tough but worthwhile job.
L: I’ve really enjoyed helping the payroll team. This aligns with my accounting major well. The most challenging part was the update calls, trying to decipher the level of interest from a candidate or know the best follow up questions to ask to take that extra step.
At Palmer Group, we are passionate about making lives better. Did you see that play out in our office? If so, how?
B: We saw this through the all-staff Monday morning meetings. People took the time to share positive feedback they had heard from candidates or clients, or coworkers shared how another staff member had encouraged them.
E: Everyone likes coming here for a reason. It’s a positive company culture where you are making people’s lives better. The staff also does a lot to give back to the community and provides jobs for individuals in need. Everyone here lives by the fact that we may not be able to find everyone a job, but we can assist everyone with coaching, resume revision, or guidance which will in turn, make others’ lives better.
J: Not having a job is a huge stress on families, especially if you can’t provide well for your family. Once you have a steady job and income, it’s a domino effect that helps people in the long run.
L: The industry as a whole is making lives better, but Palmer Group goes way beyond that, especially in how people treat each other in the office and how they invest in the community outside of the office.
What advice would you offer someone about to start an internship?
B: Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Often when a company hires an intern, they not only want someone to help in projects but are keeping their eyes open for potential employees. Observe. You can learn a lot from the people you work with.
L: Come in with an open mind. You will develop through day-to-day skills, but also be an active listener. You can learn industry specifics or tips and tricks from people who have been the workforce for many years.
E: My biggest piece of advice to someone starting an internship with Palmer Group or anywhere else, is embrace everything you do as a learning opportunity. By embracing each task with the mindset that this is a learning experience, you will be invited to take on more opportunities within your internship, which leads you into more practical work experience. Always stay positive and remember, you’re here to learn as much as you can in a small amount of time, so make the most of it!
J: Always say yes to new things, even if it scares you. When you accomplish that task, you are going to feel proud of what you’ve completed and grow in your confidence in new challenges that come your way. That helps you in your entire life. Work as hard as you can and learn to do your job right. People will see that and trust you with more things in the future if you take the time to finish your current responsibilities well.
We are grateful for all that Ben, Jeanne, Luke, and Emma contributed to our company this summer. Our staff has learned with them as they have worked alongside us. We are excited about what the future holds for these four, and we are thankful we were able to be part of their career journey.
By: Hannah De Cleene
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