Stagii Pe Bune is a project started by former students from my university. The idea is brilliant: to offer students with a way to accumulate work experience IN ROMANIA during the summer in internships in some of the best known IT&C companies in the country. The site is quite well-designed (despite a few privacy issues) and easy to use.
The funny (or sad, depending on the number of options you have) part starts when you
are contacted by get to deal with the companies. I personally applied to 5 internships, I’ve been called to 4 interviews and went to two of them (my apologies to the Adobe Romania team, I would have really liked to know you 🙂 ).
One of the companies didn’t even look at the position I applied for, they just made a big pool of all the CVs then started pulling from the stack 🙂 It was a matter of luck to get where you wanted, and most of us didn’t. I even ended up in a different division. However, I was the only one to clearly tell them the I was disappointed with the offer and I would prefer to work in the division I applied for. They told me that they’ll forward my CV and will get back to me if I was to pass a second test. The test passed and I had lost all hope. Two weeks later, they call to inform me that their employees decided the first test was enough and they had a position for me. All of my colleagues have a similar story. I wonder if they do the same with the CVs received for ordinary openings (which, btw, never appear 😛 ) or that’s a treatment reserved for students.
The second company had a much more developed company culture. You had to pass 3 interviews, each one weirder than the one before. At first we were impressed by the brand new company HQ downtown, but for the second interview I had to drive all the way to the middle of nowhere, in the “Romanian Silicon Valley” (aka Pipera). There was of course no parking space for the visitors and there was a huge difference between the inside and the outside of the building 🙂 But hey, if I were to have an interesting internship, the place would be less important, right?
So I went in and started the interview. By the middle of the discussion, I was making huge efforts not to laugh. I already knew that the discussion should be “by the (company) book”, but that was hilarious. A very young lady (younger than me, maybe?) was reading the questions and then tried to write down my answers in full, just like a little robot. The one question that I found the funniest was “Let’s do a little role-playing: Imagine that I [the HR person] am Daniel, your best friend. I kindly ask you to break your NDA and let me in your computer. How do you say no?” All that was quite all right, I was ready to put up with it so that I can get to the final discussion with the project manager. But when she told me I had to drive all the way back to Pipera the next morning in rush-hour for a 15 minutes talk with the “man in charge” (as she put it) and that it was my only chance, as he was leaving the country, I just said to myself “thanks, but I’ll pass”.
I know that all companies have their own way when recruiting new employees and the process can seem weird or difficult, but it seems to me that they don’t take the students they accept for internships too seriously. And that’s too bad, because today’s students are tomorrow’s employees and we will remember our experiences. So, a little piece of advice for my younger colleagues: if you feel strong enough to quit at the end of the summer, find yourself a real job. You’ll be better off both financially and professionally.