Recently, my company asked if I would be interested in performing interviews for our summer of 2016 interns. After the surprise set in that it was already time to interview for next summer's interns, I accepted the offer.
Xtern — The Ultimate Tech Internship Experience
Our interns are sourced from the Xtern, which is a site sponsored by TechPoint, who promotes and accelerates the growth of Indiana's technology community. Each year, the Xtern program places over 100 tech-skilled summer interns from 20 schools working at nearly 40 companies.
While TechPoint has a focus on Indiana's technology community, I found myself interviewing candidates from not only Indiana, but also Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Washington and California.
How The Process Works
The great part about the Xtern program is that TechPoint does a majority of the work looking for and screening candidates. Once candidates are selected to be interns, they also handle the logistics around the intern process — including procuring housing at a local university.
As a result, the focus for people like myself is to review and interview the candidates. This includes looking at their resume, reviewing their answers to a technical assessment each completed, and performing the interview itself. In our case, we reviewed approximately 50 candidates that matched our intern program, which we had to limit to approximately 20 candidates for in-person interviews.
The interviews took place at DeveloperTown — which is a team facility of designers, developers, and marketers. When you have some time, the DeveloperTown web site is worth a view, to see how they allocate their space and read more about what they have to offer.
Once the interviews were completed, each candidate was ranked and the results were passed back to the TechPoint team. Those results were then communicated back to the candidates. If there was a tie (meaning, multiple people ranked a candidate as their #1 choice), the candidate made the final decision.
From a technology perspective, I had the pleasure to sit with some brilliant students. Knowing that this is the class of individuals who will be guiding technology in years to come, was quite a comforting feeling.
Technological skills aside, the most interesting aspect that I noted from the entire process, was the experience I had talking with each candidate. Of the eight candidates that I spent time talking to, no two candidates were exactly the same. Each had something unique to offer. Two individuals that I will always remember:
The True Leader — it was clear that this candidate will likely spend a short time in technology before entering a leadership path. The thought process and approach inherit within already rivaled those with years of experience.
The Deep Thinker — this candidate, who was working on a dual major, struck me as one who would soon find both enjoyment and challenge in creating a new framework, design pattern or technology. The discipline that was maintained to consider more than one answer to my questions was clear in the answer provided.
My company was successful in obtaining interns that we feel will work out extremely well in our environment. Clearly, without TechPoint's Xtern program we would have not been able to procure the quality candidates we found. I only wish we could get them on-site now ... instead of at the end of their spring semesters.
Have a really great day!