When I tell people Spreetail will have 112 interns this summer, they tell me that’s crazy. I look back to 2016 and realize we're hiring more interns than the entire company at that time.
Just like our full-time headcount, our internship program grows exponentially each year. In 2019, interns will join our team in four locations — for the first time — and in every department throughout the company.
At this rate, we’ve had to make a lot of changes in recruitment over the past few years to improve experience and scalability. The program that once began as a piece of a person’s responsibilities has now blossomed into an undertaking with four team members dedicated to campus recruitment and intern programming.
The intern experience has also undergone an evolution, which means the opportunity for personal and professional development grows each year. In fact, some of our interns even return the following summer to experience this change for themselves.
“I decided to come back to Spreetail for a second summer because of the freedom to own the projects I'm working on, and to find creative, outside-of-the-box solutions to tackle some of the challenges facing our business,” said Austin Hillman, Finance Intern. “Working here has been an amazing opportunity, and I'm excited to be coming back!”
The intern experience begins with one-on-one leadership from leads on the same team, plus mentors in a completely different department. Leads and mentors are integral for the growth of the interns both in their role and at Spreetail as a whole. That’s two Spreetailers who are focused on the growth of that student, both personally and professionally.
UX Designer Bryon Stuefer poses for a photo with 2018 UX Design Interns Komel Khan and Vijit Bhati. In addition to bonding over the World Cup, these three put their varied skillsets to work on the Toolkit team. “We traded knowledge on design and dev constantly,” said Bryon.
We also encourage small-group collaboration through four leadership and development training sessions, industry discussions, and Spreetail Connect — a new addition to the program with two full days of workshops about the company, personal development, and technical skills!
Finally, we provide a multitude of opportunities for the group to get to know one another, starting with a full week of onboarding and ending with our annual company trip. By the end of the summer, they have built strong connections across teams and can spend the trip celebrating the work they’ve done with new close friends.
Coordinating hiring and programming for 112 sounds like a massive amount of work. So, why do we put so much time and energy into an intern program?
Because it’s WORTH IT. The impact that students bring to the company spreads across projects, brings new perspectives, and builds a strong pipeline of talent for roles we need at Spreetail. Often times, new team members that join during the summer can’t tell who is an intern and who isn’t.
We treat interns like we do any other Spreetailer because we believe this is the best way for interns to experience and understand how they’d operate in a full-time role. If we only gave out busy work, that’s the only context they would have — and let’s be real, the real world is not all coffee runs and stamping envelopes.
2016 interns participate in one of the many developmental courses offered throughout the summer. These workshops — including topics such as Radical Candor and project management — give interns the tools they need to be successful in their roles at Spreetail and beyond.
We emphasize how important it is to voice your opinion here at Spreetail and understand the value of conversations sparked by diverse opinions and backgrounds. This summer, we’ll have interns from more than 20 universities, spread across more than 30 majors and ranging from rising sophomores to PhD students. Every intern brings a unique viewpoint and new ideas to share with the team.
Spreetail interns come into work each day knowing what needs to get done. They contribute to company goals and departmental projects, in addition to driving their own projects and timelines. We set high expectations for our interns because we know the impact they’re capable of. Past interns have owned projects that include leading and revamping interview processes, launching new marketplace integrations, learning and incorporating new technologies, and so much more.
“In order to book travel for the annual company trip, we needed about 1,200 flights. [2018 Events Intern] Carly analyzed flights, logged data, and made calls to receive quotes,” said Brei Wagner, Events Manager. “Carly completely owned this process from start to finish, and the company trip couldn’t have happened without her work.”
For Our Communities
At Spreetail, we say that giving is in our DNA. Our desire to create a positive impact in communities across the United States runs deep, and this is no different in our internship program.
In the past, our interns have pitched, planned, and run community initiatives such as Read, Play, Go! and PractiPals. It brought together and impacted elementary students in Lincoln, Nebraska. This year, students will be able to connect and partner with organizations of their choice to serve in new and innovative ways. The impact spans far beyond event attendees, as our interns return to their communities with a deeper understanding of project management, a community’s needs, and themselves.
2017 interns host a book table during their intern-led community impact event, Read, Play, Go! This interactive event brought elementary students together with Spreetailers for a day of learning, creativity, and play. Spreetail donated books for the students to take home, plus new sports equipment shared with five area schools.
We have found the best way to impact the community is to start with learning. So, we’re here to help our interns grow, whether that’s at Spreetail, their university, or somewhere else. Previous interns have started their own companies, led on-campus organizations, and transitioned to working with non-profit organizations.
Our goal is that each one of our interns who walk into our doors in May feels like a better person at the end of the summer. We know it’s a big goal, but we’re not really shy to big goals around here.