Building the Future of our Industry through Internships

Sep 19, 2023

By Rebecca Heslep, InnoSource HR director

The old ways companies approached internships were, bluntly, a little absurd. For a few months during the summer, companies would invite young college students into their office — often in unpaid roles — to perform the work no full-time employee wanted to do. Tasks like entering data, stapling presentations, shredding old documents — even fetching coffee for staff — were common intern duties. This experience might have allowed an intern to list the role on a resume, but none of those “responsibilities” made the intern any more ready for the “real world.”

Thankfully, times have changed. Businesses now have a greater understanding of the value interns offer their organizations and have shifted these roles for the better, both for interns and the companies that invest time and energy in training them.

InnoSource views our interns as assets that can help move the needle. As a company, we see it as our responsibility to play a part in building the future of our industry. Giving interns a valuable experience benefits us, too — by building their knowledge, skills and confidence, we’re accelerating the growth of our future leaders. And in the short term, we’re shaping our interns into candidates who we might be able to hire onto our team upon graduation. Being able to hire people who already know our company is a clear advantage to us and it’s actually something we do quite often. It allows us to take control of our workforce pipeline — something we hear people in other industries worrying about all the time.

We recently sat down with three former InnoSource interns of the past few years to gain perspective on their internship experience.

Lana Troyer

Lana interned for us from November 2021 until she graduated from Otterbein University in May 2022. That’s when we offered her the full-time role as a recruiter that she still holds today.

Lana was a communications major and never imagined that recruiting would be the industry where she’d eventually work.

“In my senior year, I didn’t want to just take another class. I saw we could receive course credit instead for an internship. I saw an opportunity online for an internship at InnoSource, so I thought I’d try it out,” said Lana.

As is our policy at InnoSource, we offered Lana a hands-on experience. After some training early on, she was screening candidates for roles that our company was filling for our clients.

“I love communicating with all kinds of people. For this one particular client, I was talking to candidates from several different countries, which was incredible,” Lana said. “I had never had that experience before. As a young person, it was such good exposure and really opened my eyes to an industry I would never have considered otherwise.”

During her internship, Lana had exposure to six clients, all in different industries. Each had a unique set of needs and processes, which helped Lana learn a broad array of skills within recruiting. It was clear to us that we needed to hire her full time onto our team once she earned her degree.

“What really made a difference in my internship is they allowed me to feel safe asking questions, which really helped me grow,” she said. “It’s funny — I was always afraid to raise my hand in class. But I have learned in my career that asking questions goes a long way and that’s what I would encourage future interns to never be afraid of.”

Matthew Lanning

Lana’s advice played a key role in Matthew’s development. A close friend of Lana, he interned at InnoSource a year later in the spring of 2022, after hearing about her great experience.

Like Lana, Matthew was a communications major at Otterbein who didn’t have recruiting on his radar. Lana convinced him to give it a shot.

Matthew provided support to InnoSource’s full-time recruiters with phone and resume screening for a client in the insurance industry. What really helped him get ahead was his persistence.

“At Otterbein, I was the VP of Student Government, which really helped me become comfortable having an open dialogue with leaders. As an intern, I was driven to get as much out of it as I could, which meant communicating daily with management and learning anything I could,” said Matthew.

Matthew enjoyed his role so much that he decided to come back to InnoSource for another internship this past spring.

“I consider this ‘Part Two’ of my internship,” Matthew said. “I knew I needed a job with graduation coming in May, so this was my way of learning even more and putting myself in position to get hired full–time.”

Matthew gained even more responsibility in his second go-around, interacting directly with clients and taking part in ordering background checks, drug screens and credit checks involving candidates for client roles. He also conducted a few virtual interviews and walked some candidates through offer letters.

“I really appreciated the investment InnoSource made in me to fulfill all these roles,” he said. “I wouldn’t be where I am without that.”

After graduating from Otterbein in May, Matthew accepted a full-time role as an Innosource recruiter.

“It might sound like a cliché, but my advice to future interns is to do something that makes you uncomfortable,” he said. “Speaking up with management and being persistent probably doesn’t come natural to an intern, but it got me ahead. You’re not growing unless you’re a little uncomfortable.”

Sofie Kibler

Summer 2023 brought Sofie to InnoSource, where she worked in our marketing and brand department. Sofie is pursuing an English major and business minor at Ohio Dominican University and wanted to gain more experience in marketing.

Her responsibilities included presentation layout and design, social media channel posting, responding to company reviews on digital platforms and wage analyses informed by market research.

“InnoSource trained me and then trusted me to complete my tasks like I was an employee,” Sofie said. “This really helped me become more independent with my work and better organized, which will only help me moving forward.”

Sofie has returned to Ohio Dominican for her senior year but she hadn’t closed the door on InnoSource.

“There were people from different departments who invited me to come back and shadow them to learn about their roles. That’s just the kind of culture they have at InnoSource,” she said.

Since Matthew used a cliché, I will use one, too: “You get out what you put in.” That’s a line often directed toward interns to encourage them to do their best during their internship experience. And there’s a lot of truth to it, as Lana’s, Matthew’s and Sophie’s experiences demonstrate. But it’s also true of companies that offer internships: The more we put into our interns — building their knowledge, skills and confidence — the better our industry becomes. And that’s something I am proud InnoSource is contributing to in 2023.