It is very important for us at Deutsche Telekom to assume responsibility. This starts with good vocational training or dual studies, which combine both studies and work, and continues with paid internships for students. I had the opportunity to talk to Henrietta about her experiences. She started her internship in my department ten weeks ago.
You joined the Recruiting department as an intern. Why did you choose this area?
Henrietta: In addition to my Master's degree in Intercultural Communication and Education, I worked as a research assistant at the University of Cologne and supported a project on long-term mentoring of budding academics. How can new talent in your situation be picked up and motivated? How can the potential that is in them be nurtured and used in the best possible way?
By dealing with these questions, my curiosity was aroused as to how globally active companies like Deutsche Telekom deal with similar challenges. How can staff be found in a future-oriented and sustainable fashion to advance the company in the long term? I find it very exciting to get to know and understand the "other" side of the application process in its context.
With what expectations did you come to the office on the first day and how were you welcomed into the team?
Henrietta: Expanding my horizons, learning to be part of the team – these were the expectations I had of my internship in general. Nevertheless, I saw this day more as an orientation day and was above all curious about my colleagues and the working environment.
I also immediately noticed what it means to work in a virtual team. I got to know some of my colleagues directly on site, and others from other sites later at the weekly online team meeting.
People made it very easy for me to "find my feet." I was shown everything, provided with advice for getting started, and given enough time to find my way around. The joint lunch break was also great to get to know my colleagues better.
What were your previous tasks as an intern in recruitment?
Henrietta: First of all, I got to know the tendering process ranging from the approval and release of a position right through to selection interviews, and I carried out some subtasks myself under the guidance of experienced colleagues. As an applicant you have no idea how many substeps are required and how many different people are in contact with each other.
I am also involved in the organization of an internal job fair in Bonn. In order to draw attention to this fair, I am currently working on the design and implementation of the online presence on Deutsche Telekom's intranet. I think it's great that I can also contribute my own ideas for the structure and design.
I write texts or create overviews of vacancies, which visitors to the fair can use to exchange information with the participating departments. I am also involved in coordinating speed interviews and the interactive topic discussions that take place on site. As HR Marketing is also part of the project team, I benefit from gaining an insight into a completely different subject area. Contact with the participating departments and participants will soon be added, which is something I am especially looking forward to!
You have already had the opportunity to participate in an Assessment Center. How did it feel to suddenly sit on the other side of the desk?
Henrietta: The internal Assessment Center in which I participated was specifically concerned with what is known as a Leadership Quality Gate (LQG) procedure. If an employee wishes to take up a management position for the first time, he or she is thoroughly vetted in various steps – or rather tested for leadership competence, sense of responsibility, intercultural competence, team skills, and other important competencies.
This particular case involved a field team leader position. In addition to the moderator and several trained evaluating observers, I was allowed to participate as a silent observer – so my assessments were not included in the evaluation.
Precisely because I applied for an internship myself not so long ago and know how exciting such a situation is, I was able to understand the initial nervousness of the candidate well. Overall, however, the atmosphere was very appreciative. Everything was explained and the individual steps were made transparent on the basis of the schedule. The feedback was also expressed constructively.
For me it was interesting to see how many different aspects were included in the evaluation of the individual tasks in order to get as comprehensive a picture of the candidate as possible. Ultimately, you decide on the candidate's future by giving a yes or no recommendation.
Right, what is it like to sit on the other side – even if I wasn't nervous myself, you have to be constantly focused and receptive in order to live up to the responsibility. I definitely realized this after four hours! :-)
And what will you be taking with you when you go back to university at the end?
Henrietta: I became aware that as an applicant you only see the tip of the iceberg behind the hiring process in such a large company as Deutsche Telekom.
The internship encourages me to be open to new perspectives and career opportunities. Also, I see it even more as a positive that my degree program covers an extensive range of topics. The fact that I can quickly familiarize myself with a wide variety of topics has been very helpful to me so far.
Do you have another tip for other students interested in an internship at Telekom?
Henrietta: Of course, I can only speak from my own experience with my team and my department, but for me the internship has already paid off in many ways and I look forward to the coming weeks! Therefore, I can only say, go ahead and apply – even if you think you don't fully meet the requirements. Convince the interviewers with your individual career and your personal motivation!