The SSC / BPO sector in Poland consists of about 1,500 organizations that already employ over 340,000 people. That makes over 5% of all people employed in the enterprise sector. This sector should not be ignored by a young person who is just finishing their studies. Working in a Shared Service Center (SSC) is not a job for everyone, however. The way to find out if your professional career can develop in such a company is the holiday internship opportunity.
Summer internship in BPO / SSC: who can apply?
The holiday internships are aimed at people who want to spend their holidays diligently. They provide experience, professional development and often also remuneration, and most importantly, they are often a passport to permanent employment. Although it sounds great, it is not their greatest value for many people. What turns out to be the most valuable is the opportunity to see how you feel in such a place.
This form of vacation should be chosen by those people:
This is confirmed by HR professionals from the industry: An internship in the BPO / SSC industry is a good idea for people who want to see what it is like to work in an international environment in a large company, they value stable employment and development opportunities – says Monika Lange, Junior HR Specialist at Arla Global Shared Services.
I started at Arla, where I have been working for 4 years, from an internship in the HR Services department – I was a fresh graduate, I was returning from Lisbon after three months of apprenticeship and I was ready for new challenges. I found out about the internship in Arla from a friend who started working for Arla while still being a student. It was the last day for applying, so I sent my CV in a hurry from the airport in Brussels, where I waited for the next flight to Gdańsk. Two weeks later, I got to know my new team, manager and I was slowly starting to get into the tasks – says Lange.
Recruitment requirements for an intern at BPO / SSC
Katarzyna Floryn, HR Specialist at Arla GSS, presents the most important criteria: Technically, knowledge of English at the B2 level will be necessary, which will enable easy communication in an international company. Full-time availability from July to September is also required (Summer Internship). The ideal situation is when the candidate is available to work full-time after the internship – then they can stay with us and develop in further roles.
In most companies operating as shared service centers, the requirements for a candidate for an internship are quite similar, although of course people with a specific profile are accepted for specific departments. However, candidates do not require a lot of experience: From our perspective, the most important things are the willingness to develop and the readiness to take on new challenges. We do not require professional experience, specific courses and certificates from trainees. Each additional activity, such as activity in student organizations, internships, studies abroad or courses, are an additional value in the application candidate, but certainly not a requirement – explains Monika Lange.
Summer internship in an SSC corporation from the inside – how does it really look like?
Each corporation from the BPO / SSC sector, encouraging students and graduates to participate in internships, writes about the possibility of development and the chance to participate in real projects. Are you sure it will not end up copying documents? 😉
Many young people are afraid that they will brew coffee and photocopy documents during the internship – I am not surprised at all, because I had these concerns myself. Fortunately, an internship at Arla quickly shows that the reality is completely different from these dark scenarios. Interns in our teams are their full members – they support the team in everyday, repetitive tasks, and are involved in the team’s projects and current cases. They participate in meetings and in various workshops that the company offers – describes her own experiences ex-intern, Monika Lange.
Tasks of the trainee – that is what?
To find out how much the trainee’s job is to brew this stereotype coffee, and how much time to drink it with the team, we asked Monika Lange about the specific tasks an intern performs in the IT, HR and finance departments at Arla GSS.
IT internship at SSC – tasks:
First – Introducing the participants to the Agile methodology of work organization on which we are based. The trainee often works closely with the Scrum Master, helping him organize team meetings or communication. We also enable participation in business meetings.
Internship in HR SSC – tasks:
Getting to know HR systems, learning how to build business relationships, as well as prioritizing tasks. It is a department that supports the processes around the employee’s life cycle in the company, contact point for candidates and employees, administers recruitment processes and employee master data.
Internship in finance – tasks:
Verification of financial documents, ensuring the correct settlement of business transactions and gaining experience in an international environment. The trainee also participates in various projects that go beyond the regular duties.
When to start looking for an internship for a holiday season?
Recruitment for holiday internships begins at the end of winter, i.e. at the turn of February / March, sometimes in April. This is necessary because the recruitment process can be long and multi-stage. You can expect selection methods such as:
Analysis of application documents (it is important both the CV and the application for an internship or a cover letter, if required. Competition between candidates is considerable, so it is worth reading the content of advertisements very carefully and match application documents. The invitation to further stages may be based not only one the content itself, but also the form, lack of errors, transparency),
Job interviews (formerly face-to-face, now also online). There may be several of them throughout the process (with HR and department managers),
Competency or analytical tests that reveal the candidate’s potential in specific areas – e.g. logical thinking or reasoning,
Case study, ie tasks to be prepared involving the independent development of a given issue. They are used at the last stages of recruitment,
Assessment Center, ie group meetings during which problem tasks are solved.
At Arla GSS, the first step in the recruitment process is the selection of application documents and the selection of candidates who will be invited to the Hirevue platform, where an asynchronous video interview will be conducted (recordings).
We will invite selected candidates to take an analytical test and to meet the team manager (online or in person). Whenever possible, we also use a group task for candidates, which allows us to observe how they cooperate and solve problems – explains Katarzyna Floryn.
Last year changed a lot in terms of how recruitment for internships is conducted. Many companies have switched to online job interviews or – like Arla – started using modern selection methods, such as the asynchronous interviews mentioned by the expert, where the candidate answers questions in the form of a video recording. He chooses a convenient time and place for such a meeting. Despite the new methods, the idea is the same – finding a person with potential and competences that can be developed in the organization.
Each company is looking for a slightly different trainee profile, what directly depends on the culture of the organization and its way of working. Therefore, it is worth taking a look at several BPO / SSC companies, get to know their way of working and apply.
Katarzyna Floryn describes the perfect intern at Arla: During the recruitment process, we look for traits related to the values of our organization – lead, sense, create. People who take the lead and ownership. have passion for their area of work, are attentive to the needs of others and the world around us, have a chance to get an internship. Arla is a company created by creative and innovative people in the field of competence development, product development and building professional relationships.
Where to look for a summer internship in a corporation?
Recruitment advertisements can be found on recruitment websites. At Praca.pl, applicants for internships have a special tab, in which only advertisements for internships and development programs are published. It is also worth visiting a career office or student organizations cooperating with business, which help in establishing contact between companies and students.
The corporate websites are also an excellent source of information. Companies not only make sure that they are up-to-date, but also – during the recruitment period – additionally support the candidates.
Katarzyna Floryn recalls the solutions introduced last year, which helped reach many valuable young people, 13 of whom started an internship at Arla GSS: In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were unable to use our effective method of inviting interns to cooperation, which are job fairs for us. We had to find a different solution, so we organized an open webinar during which students and graduates could meet recruiters in the form of a video, and we presented the form of the internship, our expectations for candidates, the recruitment process and most importantly, we answered all their inquiries. The activity of the participants was really high, and we, as HR representatives, were surprised by the questions that came up. It turned out that things that are obvious to us, which are not included in the job advertisement, raise some doubts. This year we also used this form of promotion, because it worked really well.
Basically, every BPO / SSC corporation has its own profile in social media, which is a great way to see a bit of how working in a given place and to establish direct contact via chat/communicator if needed.
At Arla, we have recently launched a new project, Let’s talk! Arla Open hour. Every Monday from 2 p.m. you can meet our recruiter directly on the chat and ask him questions about job offers in our company. Candidates ask us really different questions about both the recruitment process itself and directly how it is working with us – describes Floryn.
What comes after Summer Internship?
Most BPO / SSC companies declare their readiness to employ interns after the internship. Is it really so, or is it just a ” sausage for voters„?
There was no situation where we would quit hiring someone we would be satisfied with after the internship, explains Katarzyna Floryn. It sometimes happens that there is no room for an additional person in the structure of the current trainee’s team. Then, with the help of his team leader, we look for a place for further development in our organization. Most often it is another team and a few weeks of training are enough for the employee, using the knowledge acquired during the internship, to effectively perform his tasks – adds the expert.
What if you can’t work? In such a situation, not all is lost – many companies will be open to cooperation in the future.
We see great potential in interns and we create development opportunities for them. After 3 months of work, such a person knows the working methods, procedures and responsibilities of the team, programs on which we work, has business contacts within the organization. This knowledge and experience is richer compared to people applying from outside the organization. Our interns are treated as a priority in each recruitment at Arla GSS – comments Floryn.
It all really depends on how the cooperation is going during the three months of internship. It’s a kind of trial period – for both parties. After all, you may not like it either, in a corporation or in this particular company. That is why the summer internship is such an interesting option – because it is cooperation without obligations, but with hope.