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Conference recap: How To Start A Successful Internship Program by Just-Eat.ca’s Antonio da Luz and Jane Mai

With a labour shortage looming and the competition for top talent already fierce, one trend we’re seeing more and more of is employers using internship and co-op programs as feeders for entry level roles.

Students seem to like it too – it acts like an extended interview process for both the student and the employer.

It’s also how Just-Eat.ca, Canada’s largest and fastest-growing online restaurant/food order service, hired five of its full-time entry level employees this year.

Just-Eat’s Antonio da Luz and Jane Mai explained how they used TalentEgg to hire nine interns, exposed them to all areas of the business including Sales, Marketing, Operations and Finance, and launched 11 significant intern-driven projects.

Of the five interns who were hired full-time, two of them became Sales Representatives who are consistently among the Top 5 performers nationally!

What made the interns want to stick around? Just-Eat encouraged them to explore projects outside their comfort zones, allowed them to attend senior-level meetings and matched them up with mentors to guide their development.

They also encouraged the interns to set goals and initiated this really unique “blank reference letter” practice, whereby the interns recorded all of their accomplishments as they happened, on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

You can learn more about Just-Eat.ca’s internship program in this recent Globe and Mail article (also featuring TalentEgg and Managing Matters!): A good internship program pays off on all sides

2012 TalentEgg Campus Recruitment Excellence Awards and Conference
2012 TalentEgg Campus Recruitment Excellence Awards and Conference

2012 TalentEgg Campus Recruitment Excellence Awards and Conference

2012 TalentEgg Campus Recruitment Excellence Awards and Conference

Antonio and Jane also generously provided $25 Just-Eat vouchers for everyone in attendance!

3 Comments

  1. I’d be very interested to hear from an actual intern, or from another company who has reviewed the JustEat internship experience and deemed it ‘valuable’. We all know that Just Eat is most likely to hire an intern than an outside hire, it’s cheaper, less training and obviously less effort. Nothing wrong with that, so long as the internship skills are transferable. But a reference letter filled with self-appointed accomplishments wouldn’t have much value to me as an employer – I need to know about the individual’s ability to think critically, take on responsibility, and provide value to the organization.

    Generally, a manager or higher up should provide this with a good measure of consideration – not just for the purposes of bolstering references. I’m happy that an internship program has been designed to help the young workforce enable themselves, but I would be more interested to know where else Just-Eat interns have been hired, based on this experience?

  2. Thanks for your comment, Michelle. Based on Just-Eat’s explanation of the “blank reference letter” at the conference, I understood it more as an opportunity for the interns to keep track of their accomplishments throughout the work term so they could articulate it effectively when it came time to ask their supervisors to write reference letters or act as references. I do not think it’s necessarily meant to be a “blank cheque” allowing the interns to write whatever they want about themselves.

    Most students and recent grads (and perhaps most workers in general) do not track their accomplishments or understand exactly what they bring to the organizations they work for, so I think facilitating this is a great way to encourage personal and professional development!

    Cassandra Jowett
    Content Manager
    TalentEgg Inc.

  3. Hi

    Thanks for the feedback. The Globe and Mail actually recently interviewed 2 of our interns and got their thoughts about our program…
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/small-business/sb-managing/human-resources/more-than-making-copies-what-interns-want/article2439997/

    As Cassandra stated, we don’t give them a blank cheque. We just tell them, we will offer you structure and guidance, however, the world is open for you in terms of opportunity. It is up to you to make the most of it. At Just-Eat we believe in open and honest collaboration and focus on positive ideas and overall energy. This is something called the Just-Eat Jam. We want this to be an incredible experience for the interns and something they will look back in 20 years and say… “Wow, I really learned a lot and love working there” We want the interns to own this journey, however, we do offer structure and support.

    Personally being the one that signs all of the internship reference letters, I DO NOT sign anything that is not true. The interns need to explain to me why something made it across my desk and justify it to me. Together we agree if that is a valid accomplishment then I agree to sign. The VERY first meeting we have we the interns, is to establish their goals and we focus on what they want to accomplish, and as the Director, I ensure how their goals would match up to our various company assignments.

    The other reason we do this, is for Gen Y to be proud of their accomplishments and not to be afraid to shout it out to the world.

    To answer your question directly Michelle, our interns not only think critically, take on responsibility, and provide value to the organization. However, they have a sense of ownership and pride.

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