About the Author: Rohit Manglik is the founder of EduGorilla. A NIT Surathkal graduate, he has a keen interest in streamlining education ecosystem in India. He talks about how he built his startup with the help of interns and the things he learned through this journey.
It all started when I returned to my hometown to shape up EduGorilla. Luckily, I had support from my friends and family. However, entrepreneurial journey is a laborious task; try to solve a problem and you’ll find two more. Tiny or huge, every hurdle requires a different approach, a different solution. Unlike other businesses, you cannot study a case and find the solution; entrepreneurial problems are always fresh. One of my biggest challenges was finding suitable talent. Farukkhabad, which is still in the throes of development, did not have the skilled workforce to cater to my startup. It would have continued to be a challenge if not for my friend who told me about Internshala. Finding Internshala was easy and the registration process was simple enough. I was skeptic initially with one constant worry: will I find skilled people for my startup?
I vividly remember my first post, “Requirement for a website designer for EduGorilla.” The applications started pouring in and within two days I had hired a web designer from Bangalore. Bolstered with such a quick response, I posted a few more requirements for technical, content, and operations team. Within two months, we had 12 people on board, all hired through Internshala. Soon, I started getting applications from my city and other internship portals too. By that time, my faith in Internshala had grown by leaps and bounds, so I ended up hiring my entire team through Internshala.
Managing the interns successfully was another herculean task, a process that I learned by trial and error. Here are some of the key points that I’ve learned:
I realized that even though the applicants had a wonderful profile, I had to assign them a task before selection. This helped me evaluate if they were suitable for the role and profile.
• Incentive-based internship:
Another idea that I came up with was offering target-based remuneration rather than a fixed monthly stipend. This simple trick enabled interns to stay motivated throughout the internship and also helped me mitigate financial and managerial liabilities.
• Ownership and flexibility:
I also realized that I had to give interns some amount of ownership so that they could come up with suggestions for improvement. I have also been open to flexible work hours as long as the task gets done.
Virtual interns tend to require buffer time as compared to in-office interns as they have other commitments too and they also work in a specific period of time.
• Retain interns:
Once their internship gets over, I always offer the full-time opportunity to those who had performed well as they had understood the company culture and were comfortable with it.
Our work culture is such where interns can really enjoy the work rather than taking it as a burden. Since an internship is an opportunity to learn and explore, I refrain from allocating them high priority work in the beginning. After they get acquainted with the work, I ask them to work on the difficult priority tasks.
From modest beginnings in Farrukhabad, a tier-3 town in India, the firm has slowly spread its wings to other parts of the country. We have over 30 people on board with us including some of the interns. Eight people, initially hired through Internshala, continue to work as freelancers, and three of the interns have joined us as full-time employees. I’m glad to say that we have developed a strong bond with our interns.
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