Micro-Internship Myths, Part One: The Hiring Manager Perspective

Whether you work at a large, enterprise organization, run your own small business, or fit somewhere in between, Micro-Internships provide benefits and value beyond recruiting early-career professionals. But it’s hard to try something new when you’re already stretched for time and resources. In this two-part webinar series, we address the top concerns, misconceptions, and disbeliefs we hear about Micro-Internships. Internally, we call these "Micro-Internship Myths" because through our thoughtful design, we believe Parker Dewey offers a solution that provides a true win-win for both employers and early-career talent. But you don’t have to take our word for it!

In part one of this two-part webinar series, Parker Dewey founder and CEO, Jeffrey Moss, sat down with three professionals who have brought on Micro-Interns to get work done, discover talent, and make an impact at their organization. Brian, Jody, and Keagan shared what working with Micro-Interns is really like, answered your questions, and shared the benefits they found from short-term projects facilitated by Parker Dewey.

About our panelists:

  • Jody Tracey, Chief Human Resources Officer of Two Sigma IQ. Jody first learned about Micro-Internships through her niece, a college student who uses these short-term projects to gain experience as her time allows.
  • Brian Wallace, founder and CEO of NowSourcing. Brian discovered Micro-Internships through a local university’s newsletter.
  • Keagan Russo, General Manager and Senior Vice President of FleetCor. Keagan found out about Micro-Internships through his CEO in a prior role.
Read on for a recap of the conversation, or catch the full replay here

Myth: It’s going to take too long to onboard and train a short-term contractor. Our hiring managers just don’t have time.

On first thought, hiring managers sometimes assume that hosting a Micro-Internship will only make more work. But Brian, Jody, and Keagan all agreed that when set up with clear parameters and objectives, work can actually be taken off the plate of the hiring manager. 

Keagan: “Going into it, I was worried [Micro-Internships] were going to make [life] harder. What was I going to be required to do? How do I get folks up-to-speed so they actually make a real impact and deliver value with the time that’s leftover? I have not found that to be the case.” 

Brian: “If you think you don’t have time to do a Micro-Internship, you actually don’t have time to do an internship. [If an organization can’t take this on,] it just means that they have not put assignments into clearly-defined repeatable processes...We’ve figured out what we want people to do and how we want to manage it.”

 

Myth: We work with sensitive information and require employee background checks. Security would definitely be an issue.

When we introduce the Micro-Internship concepts to employers for the first time, we almost always receive questions around security. All Micro-Interns are required to sign an NDA, and the company owns the rights to the final product. Micro-Interns can also sign your NDA, if desired. 

Jody identified some of these questions around the process that came up at the beginning of her work with Parker Dewey, like: “Our business is directly linked to people and businesses—how do we keep that information safe?” 

Parker Dewey works with employers in financial services, banking, tech, and healthcare. And like Two Sigma IQ, many of the companies we partner with handle sensitive information and still run Micro-Internships without any security hiccups. 

It’s also easy to create assignments that don’t require access to internal company systems or information, like market research, SEO support, or a social media competitive review.

 

Myth: We have strict major requirements for our roles. My hiring managers won’t want to work with someone outside of these designated majors.

Brian, Keagan, and Jody all agreed that looking beyond major, plus other non-predictive hiring factors, created opportunities to bring in new perspectives to their companies. In Brian’s words, “There are a million reasons why someone might not have a ‘good’ GPA,” from family to financial obligations. Brian also shared how hosting Micro-Internships introduced him to new schools: “When we put our first project out there, I was amazed. There were a ton of [schools] I’d never even heard of. The whole map lit up.” (And that’s an outcome we often hear, as we partner with more than 450 institutions nationwide!) 

Keagan emphasized the value in bringing on a liberal arts student, noting, “[They] might attack a problem in a different way than I would’ve. And it often leads to a better outcome than if you have someone go out there and try to solve the problem that’s laid out in a more traditional, business school approach, versus someone who has a different style. Marrying those two together usually produces a better outcome. I haven’t seen the liberal arts background as a deterrent - if anything, [liberal arts students] have a tendency to be a little more resourceful.” 

And similarly, Jody shared how Micro-Internships serve as an opportunity to look beyond what many employers consider to be the “top-tier” institutions, as academic pedigree ultimately doesn’t predict how well talent will perform within an organization. “Our managers believe that we should be breaking out of [the Ivy League] mold," she said. "Part of this experiment was: Can we break out of that mold and find people who can solve problems differently and contribute just as well as their Ivy League cohorts? They did want to broaden the schools they reached out to.”

 

Myth: A short-term project won’t provide me with enough opportunity to actually evaluate or get to know the Career Launcher. I won’t be able to determine whether I want to recruit them for a longer-term internship or full-time role.

Keagan: “How much more information are you getting about how a candidate is going to perform by having them do 10-20 hours of work, rather than just having them meet six to eight people for 45 minutes to an hour? It’s orders of magnitude of information about how successful this candidate is likely to be in your organization by getting them in and throwing them some work and seeing what happens...it derisks the whole hiring process, in my opinion.”

Jody: “It does. If you’re really looking for a hire, think about how you’re structuring the project: how long you want it to be, how open-ended it is, what you’re testing for...then you’re putting together the criteria you’re looking for as you’re putting together the assignment. Are you looking for them to ask a lot of questions? Then you’re going to be a little more vague to see if they’ll ask the right questions...You want to make sure that you’re constructing your project and your criteria based on what you’re looking for.”

Interested in hearing about Micro-Internships from the student perspective? Check out the recap of Micro-Internship Myths: Part Two, where we heard from three Micro-Interns on their experiences with these short-term, paid, professional assignments.


See more insights for recruiters and hiring managers in the 2021 Campus Recruiting Student Sentiment Report!