As Rocket continues on its upward trajectory, we have a lot of key needs – and one of the most important is to hire great people who can help us reach our goals. We have an active recruitment program in place to attract great candidates, and one of the best approaches that we have found to add talent into Rocket is through internships for college students.
We’re in the third year of our summer internship program, and the results continue to be impressive. This year we had 40 interns, which was double the number we had in 2014. 60 percent of them are engineers, but they work in other roles, including marketing, finance, IT and HR. And while most of our interns are based in Waltham, we are also expanding programs in California, Denver, and other Rocket offices around the world.
So what do we look for when we evaluate potential interns? After all, most of them don’t have enough work experience to have the kind of track record we look for when we hire at more senior levels. Instead, the main thing we screen for are students who we think are going to be quick learners. We need bright people who can work in a collaborative environment and whom we believe will embrace Rocket’s unique culture. We receive a lot of applications, but we end up hiring less than 15 percent of them for our summer program. Our interns each take on real work, solving actual business problems so it is important we recruit the best and the brightest. And in a perfect world, our interns will spend more than one summer with us so they can build on their experiences and get a better sense of who we are as a company.
Of course, our “Rocketship” program is about more than just giving smart college kids a great experience – it’s about identifying the next generation of Rocketeers and getting them to join us as full-time employees. We have a pretty good track record so far: of the six interns we made offers to in 2015, five have accepted and one decision is pending. Of course, the temptation to enter a “senior slump” is pretty strong, so I like to remind our prospective new Rocketeers that they still need to graduate before they start work!