How to make your remote internship a success

Chloé completed an internship with Orange in HR marketing. She is a self-starter, who from the age of 15 has been taking "little jobs" to get her foot in the door of the business world. She did her most recent internship "with us", even if in the context, "with us" meant remotely. Here Chloé gives us her personal advice on making the best of a remote internship, from recruitment, to the first day, and on to tips to help it run smoothly.

Chloé, can we ask you “why Orange” ?

I had a list in mind of companies where I wanted to do my end-of-studies internship, and Orange was in the top 3. Chanel was top of the list, then Orange for two reasons.

First there was the feedback I’d had from my friends who were at Orange, who had really good experiences; and I was also well aware that the pay was good, which was a first point.

Then there was the innovation and technology aspect, because that would give me access to new areas, in contrast to my previous experiences in the beauty and food industries.

Can you tell us about the recruitment process ?

It was very quick. I applied in December, I was contacted in January, and my internship was supposed to start in March. HR called on the phone, and then I went straight to an in-person interview with my manager, Meike. The interview went well; she mostly grilled me about my interest in human resources. And that evening, I received the offer. :-)

What advice would you give future applicants for their interview ?

You need to dare to be you! For example, Meike asked me what I liked least about the job. For me, it was the whole social networks side. Because I really didn’t want to be doing a community management internship. I was OK with it being roughly 20% of my work, but really no more. I was a bit blunt, quite direct. And I think a lot of applicants wouldn’t have dared. Whereas I think it shows that you know what you want.

And did the lockdown situation impact your recruitment ?

Absolutely! My internship was postponed for several weeks, because I was supposed to start right in the middle of the lockdown. It was a stressful time, a lot of my friends lost their internships. I hadn’t signed my contract yet... but Meike called me several times and kept me informed. That was an important link for me.

How did your first remote day go ?

It was really well organised. My computer came by UPS delivery.

A few days before, I’d received all my access codes, user ID, password... The computer came with all the instructions delivered at the same time; this level of organisation was really reassuring.

And a few days before that, I got a welcome message, introducing the team, with a little video of the four members (Meike, Laurence, Patricia and Cyril), with a picture and three things that they each liked and three things they didn’t.

I thought that was brilliant, because I’d already met my manager, but I didn’t know the others at all.

So I did the same thing in return! I really felt welcomed.

What do you think made your internship successful ?

There was the forward-planning, which clearly makes a lot of difference. Meike called me a few days before to brief me on the current projects.

Then there was the fact that I was dropped straight in at the deep end. On the very first day I took part in an important meeting.

Also the time given over to meeting each member of the team: I was given an hour time-slot with each person. They each explained their roles, and about how I might be helping them.

And Meike made sure that I had work to do right from the start. So I was in at the deep end on the first day, and also had a good understanding of everybody’s role.

I very soon had responsibilities; I remember I was directly in charge of posts for a LinkedIn campaign we were running with an agency, and it was me that pretty much steered it all, so I was very quickly integrated. I had regular conference call meetings. I also had weekly calls with Meike (and more if I asked). I worked a lot with Cyril in particular: we met remotely at least once a day. We were working on a lot of topics at the same time, and we discussed how to move forward together, what we had done, what problems we might have, and it went both ways, because we became a real team of two.

Any advice for future remote interns ?

The key to all relationships is communication. So I would say: report in at every stage and quite simply say what’s working and what could be improved.

Do you think you learned as much during your remote internship as you would have done from a “normal” internship ?

I honestly didn’t see any difference, remote or not. I don’t feel as if I learned any less. It did do me a lot of good to see them for real though, and to go to the office for a few months, because it’s a lot more efficient, everything goes much faster and is a lot simpler.

What are you doing now ?

I’m on a fixed-term contract with the agency I worked with for Orange. I would have liked to stay at Orange, but unfortunately it wasn’t possible. It shows that even if it doesn’t lead to a job with Orange, in the end the important thing is to build a network and make contacts !

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