Seeking new employees is an eternal challenge of every single company. But why wait for skilled candidates to come by when one can develop great coworkers on their own?

In February, we successfully finished our 6th Let’s Boost internship program for developers. This internship has become a great source of high-quality new employees for our company while enabling the interns to gain rich practical experience right before embarking on their career journey. In total, 10 interns have completed the 3-month program already while 9 of them still work with us to this day! We’ve even managed to turn some of them into developer superstars!

Want to know the secret to our internship success story? Keep reading!

Choosing the Candidates

The first and most important step for a successful internship process is picking your candidates. We keep our applications open year-round while the program is carried out twice a year. A few months before a new internship begins, we send the applicants a task to complete and send back in order for us to check it. We intentionally make this task relatively difficult, which is why we don’t expect the candidates to finish everything, but rather to do what they can in the best possible way. This enables us to identify the candidates who are the best fit for us: those who don’t shy away from challenges, aren’t strangers to googling things to get the missing information and will gladly try several solutions to fix a problem.

We like to pick two candidates per internship cycle. Throughout the years, this number has turned out to be the right one for various reasons. Firstly: the interns can help each other, which also gives us an insight into their ability to collaborate. And secondly: it’s always a good idea to look at the problem from different perspectives.

For our last internship, a record of 50+ candidates have filed in their application. Among those, our HR specialist Klavdija and I picked a duet that blew us away.

The Internship Process and Best Practices

Let’s Boost is a 3-month program in the course of which the interns work alongside our developers. Due to the current situation, which is far from perfect, we were forced to do most of the work remotely. However, we still followed the key principles:

  1. Going back to basics. At the beginning of each internship, we make a recap of everything a candidate needs to know to successfully complete the program. Despite the fact that the interns have already proven some of their knowledge during the selection process, we never assume they know all the ropes. This is why we spend the first week revising the basic knowledge, thus building a strong foundation for further development.
  2. Continuously improving the program. We’ve made a habit of regularly removing outdated approaches from the curriculum, substituting them with new practices and tailoring the tasks according to the interns’ feedback. We also take into account all the new practices implemented by our developers as we strive to make our interns familiar with the most up-to-date processes.
  3. Encouraging curiosity. Each set of tasks an intern is given is accompanied by additional resources that provide a better understanding of the current topic. We also encourage the candidates to practice their new skills by starting their own projects, even being there for them if they need some help.
  4. Making sure the interns have plenty to do. Currently, our program comprises 15 sets of exercise tasks, which are clearly structured and gradually increase in difficulty, thus enabling the intern to make progress with each step. Moreover, the mentors and other team members also include interns in their project work, assigning them easier tasks and so they become familiar with our day-to-day activities.
  5. Taking time for interns. We make sure to review the interns’ work at least two times per week while being available for additional sessions if the candidates need more explanations.
  6. Regularly providing feedback. Continuous feedback and guidance are crucial for an intern’s growth and development. Besides such informal work assessments, we also provide interns with more structured feedback in the form of monthly reviews. These consist of a recap on what skills the candidate was able to acquire throughout the past month, outlining their strengths and areas for improvement.
  7. Including co-mentors. A co-mentor plays a vital role in the mentoring process, especially when the mentor is busy with other projects and needs help in carrying out the program. Having an additional team member overseeing the intern truly makes all the difference between a good and outstanding internship.

But What Happens When It’s All Over?

If everything goes according to the plan, each Let’s Boost intern gains enough knowledge during the program to build a simple website along with their mentor. During the last month of the internship, the interns also join a real project and put their newly acquired skills to use.

What’s more, when the internship cycle ends, the interns aren’t left on their own. Their mentors still oversee their work, making sure the new team members perform well and get all the help they need. For this reason, we also continue with monthly reviews and guidance. As we gradually increase the difficulty of our freshmen’s tasks, they usually need just a few months to become independent.

Application

Does this article make you want to drop everything and start coding? Does web development make you heart beat faster? Then don’t hesitate to visit our Let’s Boost page! Find out what some of our interns think of the program and hand in your application.

See you soon? ;)

Anže Svoljšak

WordPress Team Lead

Online developer and a technological enthusiast who spends most of his time working on WordPress websites and online stores.

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