Introducing aspiring engineers and designers to the world of engineering and construction has been a tradition at Loureiro over the years. But recently, our internship program has grown and diversified exponentially to enhance the overall experience for students and employees alike. The revitalized approach is driven by a commitment to expanding intern opportunities and outreach to achieve more impactful outcomes.
We recently sat down with Talent Acquisition Manager Gayle Alpert to discuss what has made our program successful.
- Approach Interns like a Full-Time Hire
Before all else, don’t go into the recruiting or interviewing process with the mindset that this isn’t a real hire. Your core values and guiding principles shouldn’t change for students, so make sure you’re focused on skills and characteristics beyond their GPA. “Not only is this a learning experience for the intern,” explains Gayle, “but it’s also an opportunity for our team to get extra support on projects and give our emerging leaders experience managing someone else. This program is just as valuable for our current employees as it is for our interns, so we treat it like we would any other hiring process, and we take a lot of time to get to know them. “During the interview process, we’ll always bring in different members of the division to get different perspectives. But our approach is centered on the qualities that go beyond test scores – things like whether or not they have previous experiences or participate in clubs or organizations. In roles like consulting, multi-tasking is part of the job, so we want to know that the intern is capable of this balance, which will allow us both to get the most out of the experience.”
- We Let Them Get to Know Us
While Loureiro makes it a priority to get to know the intern during the interview process, we also allow the same for the intern. And it starts by actively getting in front of potential interns at job fairs and schools. “Twice a year, we are out at these events not only meeting students, but also hosting interview and resume review sessions. We also partner with the Rhode Island Clean Energy Project that supports students working in energy-focused firms. We make sure we have a broad presence in our recruiting, so we can reach more students with various backgrounds and experience. “And during the interviews, we encourage them to ask us questions. Understanding as much as possible about what we do, as well as what they’ll be doing, is an important part of finding the right fit. We also always make sure a recent grad from our team is at the interview as well, so they can learn what to expect day-to-day from someone who was in their shoes not that long ago.”
- Get Them Involved in Meaningful Work
An intern’s 12 weeks at Loureiro isn’t filled with basic administrative work or simple observations; instead, they’re getting highly-interactive exposure to real projects, learning first-hand what it’s like to be in the field. “We have highly-certified scientists, engineers and geologists who are committed to getting the interns actively involved in functional work — which includes budgeting, technical writing, consulting, and more. They’re learning important skills like decision-making, problem-solving, and working as a team by actually participating in the process. Our team is passionate about training our interns and that means getting them out on job sites to participate in a lot of the same assignments our team does. This gives them the full experience.”
- Open More Doors for the Student
Since each division of Loureiro brings on their own intern(s) for the summer, the students learn very specialized skills in their chosen field of work. This approach allows them to work closely with decision heads and feel like a valued member of the team. “To be known on a first-name basis by the VP of the division and learn directly from them is very impactful for students,” Gayle explains. “Our service offerings are so diverse, so if an intern has an interest or knowledge of another area — whether it’s construction, engineering, or environmental — we have the people here that they can talk to. We’ll set up a meeting so they can speak with the VP or head of that division and let them ask questions. It’s rare for interns to have that opportunity to get exposure to other interests and career paths during the course of one internship.”
- Get the Student’s Perspective During Feedback
When the internship comes to an end, it’s important for Human Resources (HR) to speak with supervisors about their specific intern experience and ways to improve the program in the future. But this input isn’t the only one that matters. “We also want to hear the student’s perspective,” said Gayle. “Our HR team sits down with them at the end of the 12 weeks and asks them what they enjoyed about their experience, if there was anything they felt was missing, and if they have any recommendations on how to improve. And we make sure their voice is heard! All their feedback goes to the division head, so that we can continue to improve the experience for both sides in the future.”
Loureiro is looking forward to continuing the tradition and working with the next generation of bright students in the upcoming year.