Claire DEspagne’s stint on the “Freedom of Entrepreneurship” podcast has, at the very least, gotten people talking. “There are schools that tell us: ‘If I find out that my intern is working more than 35 hours a week, I’ll stop the internship’. Well, it’s going to be difficult for your intern. Me, if I don’t work 80 hours a week, there’s little chance I’ll have my apartment, a second home and another one later. » In the same sequence, already removed from the internet, the businesswoman in front of the cosmetics brand D+ for care was outraged: “Wonder where are the interns? »complaining of not having succeeded in the current period in recruitment.
If she doesn’t clearly call out interns to work 80 hours a week, we’re tempted to believe it crosses her mind. This opinion caused a reaction, but in the end, is it so marginal? Without going into such extremes, we’ve all seen or heard interns being used to the limit by struggling companies or managers convinced that every intern had to suffer as they did. His startup’s Instagram accounts and others have reported extensively on sensitive situations to say the least.
Don’t Recruit a Technical Skills Intern: What to Expect From Him?
In addition to the interns’ schedule (which, remember, is framed by law: 35 hours per week), Claire DEspagne’s controversy brings to light the legitimate expectations of these reinforcements who have not yet formed. Do we want a helping hand or a ready-to-go quasi-employee? The replacement of an employee on a permanent contract or a student who would bring the latest academic knowledge to an industry?
At Decathlon, which received 2,318 trainees in 2021, the rule is clear: we do not recruit based on skills. “We give opportunity to young people, without diplomas and without experience”assures Kamel Medjabra, responsible for Decathlon’s employer brand and school relations.
This openness is not without questions: what do we have the right to expect from an intern if we don’t recruit them on the basis of technical skills? So we come to the famous chapter of soft skills (human skills, we would say in French). Recruiters interviewed say they have no doubt that interns at such and such a school will be able to learn quickly. The challenge is to know if they will show curiosity, autonomy, analysis. There will be real expectations.
Assuming responsibilities but adapting expectations: the impossible balance?
Here, once integrated in the teams, regardless of their type of contract, we swear that the intern becomes a collaborator like the others. “We hope he gives his opinion and contributes to the projects”adds the manager whose company ranked first in the HappyTrainees 2022 ranking (in the category of more than 1,000 trainees per year), which distinguishes the companies that best integrate trainees.
But putting the intern in such a position is not done without support. At Decathlon, as well as at Capgemini, which ranked third in the same ranking, trainee tutors are trained. “They have an obligation to help trainees acquire new skills and give them real responsibilities, while having adequate expectations in terms of investment”explains Emmanuel Legros, director of recruitment at the digital services company.
And the rhythm? Are these companies more on the side of Claire DEspagne and the 80 hours or the labor inspectorate and the 35 hours? Because if we consider trainees as permanent employees, should we expect them to work so hard? “No particular differencesay on the Decathlon side, but we make sure the pace and workload don’t become stodgy. » In fact, the middle ground is never easy to find and in the daily life of open spaces, managers wonder if they should give more or less to their trainee.
Same rights and duties as a CDI
Capgemini’s director of recruitment recognizes that telecommuting doesn’t help with supervision. “It is easier to control schedules when trainees are on site”, he recognizes. However, this is not about granting less privileges to these quasi-employees. Everyone benefits from the same benefits as permanent employees, between 20 and 70% of telework per week, depending on the type of project. “On the other hand, we maintain the level of demand in the quality of deliveries, as well as in their deadlines”insists Emmanuel Legros.
Without supernaturality, we remain in the world of goals. The intern must somehow live up to the company’s standards. The internship remains a means of testing a potential employee. For end-of-study interns (but also work students), Decathlon creates a “market” try to adapt the profiles to be hired to the needs of the teams.
Making interns feel like the company is thinking about them is probably one of the best ways to motivate them. In this sports brand, 30% of the final internships are turned into permanent jobs. Number that rises to 70% at Capgemini. It remains to be seen if this is what all interns are looking for?
Don’t miss the other episodes of the series “Where are the interns?” »
Monday, May 23: When Internship Hurts Our Career
Tuesday, May 24: Instructions not to be exploited as an intern