Why did you choose to do an internship?
I had spent my last year at university concentrating on my assignments and hadn’t given much thought to what I would do after I graduated. An internship seemed like the perfect opportunity to put into practice what I had been learning during my degree.
How did it tie in with your overall career plans?
I first applied for the internship in marketing because that seemed like it would be the next step from a marketing degree. I didn’t really have a career plan and wasn’t even sure that marketing was what I wanted to do. I had heard a lot about Atom from somebody I knew that was on the intern programme. It sounded like a great place to work and that there would be the opportunity to get involved in a range of projects in different areas across the business. I knew that I wanted to get some experience working in a business like Atom. I hoped that it would help me decide what I wanted to do in the future so the internship seemed like the best place to start.
What was the application process like – any advice?
The application process included a telephone interview and a bootcamp (Atom’s own style of assessment centre). The telephone interview lasted about half an hour and included general interview questions. The bootcamp was where I really got an idea of what it would be like working at Atom. They are quite relaxed and include three group tasks and two ‘speed dating’ interviews, including one with a coach (Atom call managers ‘Coaches’) from the area I had applied for. We also had the chance to hear about the internships from the current interns, hearing about what life at Atom was really like as well as having the opportunity to ask them any questions we had.
Now I’m helping with the recruitment of the next group of interns so I get to see the whole process, from them applying to the offers going out from the other side. I’ve even been involved in assessing bootcamps and doing interviews with the potential new interns.
My advice to anyone considering an internship at Atom would be:
- Research the organisation – make sure you’ve really done this! Atom is incredibly different to any other bank. The internship is structured differently and the culture and working environment is not like any other. It’s important you understand what you’ll get out the internship and what you’re letting yourself in for! It’s important that you know the company and the job you’re applying for.
- Be yourself!
- If you’re told there’s no dress code and you don’t have to wear a suit, it really means that!
What were your main duties?
One of my main duties throughout the internship has been to manage the onboarding process for new joiners. This includes sending out welcome packs, adding them to our HR system and benefit schemes, ensuring IT equipment and email addresses are set up for their first day, confirming start date and inductions and answering any questions they have before they join.
What were the most important things you learned from your internship?
- The whole world of People Experience – I had limited knowledge in this area and didn’t really know what it included
- Project management and teamwork – the internship includes a variety of intern group projects which we were responsible for managing day to day.
- It’s good to get involved in as many things as you can but I’ve also realised that you can’t do everything. Prioritisation is important!
- People trust you and believe in your ability (even if you don’t!) and nobody wants you to fail. If you do need help, ask!
Do you have any advice for someone seeking an internship?
My advice would be to take any opportunity you get offered, even if it isn’t in the business area you originally applied for. It might turn out to be the best decision you ever made!
During the bootcamp, one of my ‘speed dating’ interviews was with a member of the People Experience team. I found out about which areas of the business the team were involved in and what the internship would include. I had done a bit about HR in one of modules at university and thought it would be good to learn more about it.
My placement can be for someone who is already studying HR, Organisation Development, Learning and Development and/or Resourcing and Recruitment. Something that’s just as important is being interested and enthusiastic about the internship area – studying a degree specific to the internship you apply for isn’t an exclusive requirement.
What skills did you acquire or improve during your internship?
Working in quite a small team, there was only five of us when I joined, which gave me the opportunity to really get involved in everything that our team covered. This included HR, Learning and Development, Resourcing/Recruitment and Organisational Development. Being able to see a project through from beginning to end with a lot of the responsibility has really helped me continue to develop a lot of the skills I had learned through my degree. The main skills I have been able to develop would be decision making, prioritisation and my confidence has grown.
I’ve also learnt a lot about my own working style and how to build working relationships. People are different so understanding the needs and motivations of other people has helped me develop really productive relationships.