Facebook has the highest-rated internship program in the US, according to a report by Glassdoor.
Vlad Fedorov, Facebook’s engineering director and internship supervisor, believes it gets such high marks because the company give interns real work that has a tangible impact on its 1 billion users, rather than asking them to fetch coffee or make copies.
More than 1,000 interns participate in Facebook’s three-month summer internship program, which spans its 64 offices around the world. And at the end of the program, all of the interns and their assigned 1:1 mentors are given a survey.
Fedorov said he pays the most attention to one survey question: Has your intern substantively contributed to your team’s goals?
Typically, more than 90% of responders say yes, and that’s because most interns jump at the opportunity to be a real member of the team.
He explained that some of the interns — a pool that includes both undergraduates and recent college graduates — come in without much experience, and their mentors present them with tasks they have never tackled before.
“That means you will need to learn this technology,” Fedorov said. “That means you will have to learn how to leverage people around you for help and information, so you can accomplish these bigger goals.”
The company’s overall approach to management, according to VP of People Lori Goler, is to run Facebook as a “strengths-based organisation” where employees’ talents are fostered through work they are passionate about and take ownership of. When applied to interns, that means there’s no room for busywork and clerical duties.
Facebook declined to reveal the rate at which it hires interns, but said that it stays in touch with the younger interns who excelled.
“Treating them like equals and treating them just like we treat full-time engineers, which is just what we expect is possible for them, is really helpful and one of the reasons they have a great experience,” Fedorov said.
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