Internships have always been competitive, but at one company, they have gotten downright cutthroat.
Media company Emmis Digital’s Chicago branch decided to do something a little different with its intern recruitment process this year, according to DNAinfo. It received over 25 applications from college students for its one unpaid internship spot. The 10 best applicants were interviewed, and then the final three entered the “Intern Games,” a contest to land the internship that would earn them some college credit.
“We thought that it would be fun to pit them against each other, test their mettle, and see who was the hungriest,” Emmis Digital’s Rory Foster told DNAinfo.
Every day for two weeks in late April and early May, #TeamJake, #TeamKelsey, and #TeamKatie took to social media with tweets, videos, and Facebook posts to get the most attention for themselves and Emmis.
In the end, the Emmis team decided to call it a draw between two of the potential interns and recruited both Jake Bouvy and Kelsey Halverson.
Internships for college students and recent college graduates have been under more scrutiny in the past couple years, after several interns sued their former employers for back pay. Unpaid internships by law are required to provide education and experience that benefits the interns. (The Emmis interns do receive college credit.)
The research firm Intern Bridge told the Boston Globe that surveys show about a 20% decrease in the number of unpaid internships across the country since the U.S. Department of Labour defined what constituted an unpaid internship in 2010.
Unpaid internships may be scarcer in 2014, but if Emmis is any indicator, the market is still tough enough that college students are willing to intensely compete for them.
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