I had the opportunity to really shape the means of establishing the goals for my internship. I was given a challenge with a few specific objectives and then allowed to pitch my own suggestions for developing a solution. This is my fourth internship in the last four years, and the one in which I have grown the most as an employee. I have done a lot of glorified "go-fer" ing and menial paper pushing tasks in past internships. This one gave me the chance to think critically, feel like a real part of the team, and develop creative solutions. My manager was one of the best, if not the best, I've ever worked for. I was given some reign, and then some critical review.
Chair time. There was a planned 40 hours a week in the office whether I was needed or not, and while my boss was pretty laid back about doctor's appointments, or working from home when I was prepping for a big presentation or the streets were flooding, the office culture is still a pretty rigid 8-5. I think the product I worked on had a less traditional/more entrepreneurial office culture than some of the others at Dominion, but is still a pretty traditional office. I wouldn't call it stuffy, but I wouldn't say it's exactly what young developers, designers, and business employees want [ie. cubes, 8-5, dress code (which has relaxed, but I feel like there's still a stigma around the t-shirt)].
Advice to Potential Interns
I had heard Dominion was pretty stuffy and not the best place to work from some coding friends, but when I got in I was told that it had "lightened up a lot over the past few years." I would say Dominion today, is not what it had a reputation for five years ago. I was also given a lot of opportunity to experiment, and I hear that is a long standing part of DE culture. Great place to grow.
Sample Interview Questions
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
Do you think you would be a good fit for this position and why?
Can you provide documentation around things that you have done that are similar in the past?
Advice to Management
Think about exactly what each employee is really going to end up doing before hiring (I think a few people quit because they were hired to do HTML5 and CSS only, but ended up doing 1-1 customer training).
More Emotional Intelligence Training. I think it would be great to see Leadership and Self-Deception become a part of the hiring process so there is a shared lexicon around conflict. The Arbinger Institute could certify someone at Dominon to lead seminars around it for about 10k. Would be well worth it, if it became instilled as a part of corporate procedure.
I think if DE really wants to keep designers and developers, they might have to lighten up even a little more. Flex hours, more potential to work from home (especially for people that code). It's not a company designed to woo the Milennial workforce. They could take notes from Treehouse, the startup that was recently featured in a number of news articles for the 4 day work week.