Summertime Success: Welcome to the Internship Program at IGS
Ten years ago, we kicked off our internship program with just three college interns joining our commercial & industrial sales department. Fast forward to 2019, and this past summer’s program boasted interns from 11 universities in and around Ohio, who were all hired to do meaningful work across the company.
According to a recent report, member employers intend to hire nearly three percent more interns in the coming year. Clearly, this growth will contribute to significant competition for talent, which IGS views as an opportunity. We’ve made significant investments and have strategically developed an internship program that is mutually beneficial for us and our interns.
From the beginning
“We’ve been very deliberate about the ways in which we recruit, which begins with the partnerships we’ve formed with several universities,” explains Jenni Kovach, chief people officer of IGS. This provides us with the opportunity to not only connect with and guide students, but also gives students exposure to who we are, what we do, and explore future internship and career opportunities.
With respect to the interview process, we are intentional from the start. Not only are candidates invited onsite for an interview, but they may also go to dinner with their prospective team members, or even stay the night in Columbus. “We want them to get a sense of not only IGS, but what it would be like to live in Central Ohio for the summer, since many are not originally from here,” explained Kovach.
It is unfortunately commonplace for candidates to receive “exploding offers,” which means they are given a deadline to accept before the offer is withdrawn. “This approach just doesn’t align with our hiring philosophy here at IGS. We want to ensure candidates give the same time and attention to considering our offer as we did preparing it for them,” said Kovach.
Interns making their mark
From the first day interns are on the job, they are part of the team. Their experience mirrors that of a full-time employee, from onboarding, to participation in company initiatives. They attend meetings, go on sales calls, are encouraged to problem solve, and given real projects with deadlines.
Jugad Mattu, an international business student at Wright State University, joined IGS as an intern on the Innovation team in January 2019. “I was thoroughly impressed with the passion that flowed through the company. I have encountered many great role models and have met extremely strong and hardworking people within the company. I will constantly remember their advice as I venture into the next step of my life,” she said of her experience, which concluded in August 2019.
Tony Bravo, manager of residential sales, said that the summertime always brings fresh perspectives to IGS. “There is a huge lift in energy when the interns are in the office. It’s everyone’s favorite time of year. It’s always a sad day when the summer ends and they return to school.”
A culture of growth: internship benefits
While day-to-day tasks are important, we look at the interns’ experience in a more holistic sense. We know that fostering a supportive environment in the spirit of camaraderie is just as valuable when it comes to driving our interns’ passion for IGS and engagement within the organization. That’s why we don’t confine interns to their desks; we bring them along for the ride. This could mean attending sporting events, visiting customers, lunch meetings, traveling to remote offices, participating in team building events, and more.
We also schedule at least one day during the summer where all interns have the opportunity to get out and volunteer in the community. According to Emily Hovis, an intern on the solar team, “Intern volunteer day allowed me to take a step by from my everyday work and serve at South Side Early Learning [a Columbus, Ohio early childhood nonprofit]. I feel fortunate to work for a company that recognizes the impact our employees can have within our community and encourages us to pay it forward.”
What’s next for IGS interns
When possible, there is an emphasis on converting successful interns to full-time employees upon graduation. Corben Sherlock commended the experience. He joined as an intern in 2014 and is now a regional sales manager in the company’s commercial sales division. “They placed me in all of the lines of business over the course of my internship, so I could experience what everyone contributes. It gave me perspective and I enjoyed my time here so much that I applied for and accepted a full-time position,” said Sherlock.
Even when an intern doesn’t return to IGS upon graduation, we’re there to support them. Whether it’s reviewing their resume, giving feedback on other job offers, or just offering guidance, we want to be a resource to them as they enter the next phase of their career.
Preparation for the next class of interns begins as soon as the summer concludes. “We’re on campus early to find our next class of incredible interns,” explained Kovach.Learn more about Life at IGS