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Smooth Sailing Aboard the Intern-Ship

By Michael Overell - Jul. 4, 2013
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Last week, on the bus into the city, the two girls sitting behind me were comparing horror stories of their internship experiences.

Listening to them trying to outdo one another got me thinking about my own internship experience. It made me realise how lucky I am that unlike them, I don’t get yelled at for asking for clarification nor do I have to clean conference tables or sit idly in the office waiting for ‘new projects’ (translate to photocopying documents and shredding papers) all day.

I didn’t mean to eavesdrop on their conversation – they were ranting so loud that everyone on the bus could hear them.

I remember the first day of my internship very well. However, let me rewind and start from the beginning.

After months of applying for graduate jobs to no avail, one day I was feeling extremely discouraged so to cheer myself up, I went on Facebook (what better way to distract myself?). By coincidence, it wasn’t long before a fellow UTS student also in his final year, started a conversation by excitedly sharing that he scored a Marketing internship.

I was happy for him but personally felt drained. However I half-heartedly followed his orders and found myself trawling through the UTS careers page (my last beacon of hope, I told myself). Skimming through, I finally found an internship posting which caught my eye: “RecruitLoop is looking for a Marketing intern … innovative firm with a video interviewing platform – the first of its kind in Australia … offices in Sydney, San Francisco and Dubai …”

This sounded really interesting. It relates to my majors and I’d be able to contribute to an innovative company expanding globally.

I found myself picturing an office bearing resemblance to corporate giants like Google; a creative, high-energy, collaborative workspace – a unique, communal working environment which I hadn’t experienced before.

And in a sense, that’s exactly what I got.

After the initial phone interview, I was invited in for a face-to-face interview at the huge office I had envisioned.

When I walked in, it was a huge open plan office with no partitions or work cubicles. Instead there were large whiteboards everywhere with diagrams and illustrations, colourful posters plastered all over the walls and there was a real vibe buzzing with talk and enthusiasm.

Paul must have noticed my wide-eyed excitement as he was quick to tell me “RecruitLoop is a startup. People from many different startups work here. It’s called a co-working space and it’s where we all start”.

So that’s how it all started for me. Well, after a Skype interview with Michael in San Francisco. I guess the several awkward screen freeze-ups of my face mid-speech didn’t deter Michael and Paul from taking me on board as a RecruitLoop Intern.

My internship has given me a unique opportunity to not only experience and learn the ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ of the “real world” but more specifically, of a successful startup.

Working with one of the cofounders, I’ve watched how decisions are made on a daily basis. And because it’s a small team (despite being a global business), I really feel like I’ve been playing an important part in RecruitLoop’s operations and I feel valued as an integral part of the team.

So far I’ve been entrusted to conduct research for national and international recruiter growth strategies, I’ve written first drafts for award submissions, I’ve assisted with business development and social media strategies, and I’ve written posts for the RecruitLoop blog. I’m even going to be organising an event in the coming weeks!

Furthermore, in addition to the rewarding responsibilities, the mentorship has been invaluable.

Every week Paul is happy to share his wisdom and offer career guidance, advice and assistance, all whilst providing me with real-life recruitment and marketing experiences to solidify my future endeavours. Additionally, my teamwork, project management and organisational skills have improved, which I know will benefit me in any professional setting that the future may hold.

However, internships not only benefit the interns, but the employers as well. They can get more done, while the interns provide refreshing energy and unique insights and ideas. It can also be a cost-effective recruitment strategy.

Trust me, the intern will be forever grateful for your benevolent role as a mentor as they progress through their careers.

I’m really looking forward to the months ahead. But so far it has been incredibly rewarding literally working alongside Paul – with only his small pot plant serving as a partition.

Plus, now I’ve also mastered the art of getting my work done while all the other startup workers around me talk excitedly about their own business strategies but also from time to time about their food obsessions and recaps of Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes.

Milica Djukanovic is an awesome intern working with RecruitLoop on marketing and community management. She graduates from University of Technology Sydney at the end of 2013.


Michael Overell

Michael Overell is a seasoned entrepreneur and business leader with a proven track record in building companies, products, and teams in both startup and hyper-growth environments. Currently, he serves as a key executive at ClassDojo, where he is responsible for driving revenue growth and helping children around the world access quality education. Michael is also actively involved in investing and providing support to promising foreign founders looking to break into the US market through his work with Antipodes. Prior to his work at ClassDojo, Michael played a pivotal role in scaling Lyft's product organization as the company experienced rapid growth, expanding from 3,000 to 6,000 employees and successfully going public. His expertise in hiring and recruiting was further honed during his time as the co-founder and CEO of RecruitLoop, a company he launched in Sydney before relocating to San Francisco. Under his leadership, RecruitLoop raised funding, developed a globally distributed team, and achieved profitability. The company had a modest exit in 2019 and ultimately closed its operating business. Michael began his career at McKinsey, where he focused on strategy in the tech and telecommunications sectors, with a particular emphasis on next-generation fiber broadband networks. His insights and thought leadership have been featured in prominent publications such as TechCrunch.

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