“It was a typical Tuesday, about one month after I started my internship. We were having lunch with the team, as we do every day. We were all joking and laughing. Not necessarily what you expect with the boss around, but Peter and René, the founders, were actually laughing the hardest.
After taking a large bite from his sandwich, René sighed and said: “We need a more standardized recruitment process, to hire new people and keep growing. But where do we find the time?” So far nothing special. In the rollercoaster ride of a startup, there is always too little time and too much to do. That’s what makes it exciting. I thought about René’s comment for a second and said: “Why don’t I take care of that?”
The first month I had spent mostly on market research. I analyzed the competition and thought of ways to improve our positioning. All interesting activities, fitting my Masters of Management at IAE Bordeaux. And, given the dynamics of a startup, I got involved in all sorts of other tasks as well. From working on a sales pitch for a new client, to testing a new feature in the app; and from designing a demo learning journey to building a sales presentation. That’s why I joined a startup in the first place. My internship would not be about getting coffee!
Peter and René were the other reason for joining. With their experience at BCG and at TravelBird and Lazada I could learn a lot from them. When accepting my offer I didn’t yet realize I would be sitting right next to them every single day. That was not only incredibly valuable but also a lot of fun. During the interview process they presented themselves as very serious and professional guys, which they are. Or at least can be. Once working with them they proved to be very fun and easy going. The work to live scheme they installed is a reflection of that mindset: every other Friday off, unlimited holidays, a free bike for foreigners, etcetera. With their attitude they crafted a cozy, relaxed and yet results driven environment. Perfect for someone like me, who is eager to learn and to have impact, but is also very sociable (maybe a bit too much?) and likes to have a good time.
So back to my “Why don’t I take care of that?” To my delight, and surprise, René responded: “Sure, why not.” That’s how I became Head of HR. Or Chief Happiness Officer as they came to call me. I was thrilled with my new role and worked hard on a standardization plan for their HR activities. I designed the interview process, the questions to ask and a way of scoring candidates objectively. Besides that, I kept being involved in the market research part and all other topics that popped up.
After restructuring the ‘careers’ page of Lepaya’s website, the CTO, Ahmed, asked my help in hiring technical people to build his team. Before I knew it, I was conducting fit interviews and creating a short list of suitable candidates for Ahmed to interview in round two. It felt a bit awkward at first: interviewing and assessing candidates who had more experience than myself. All in all, I interviewed over fifty people, extended twelve offers and so far had four people joining.
Looking back at my four months at Lepaya, I can’t believe how many things I’ve done and learned. The term ‘internship’ even feels weird. I don’t think of myself as an intern. I feel like an integral part of the team. I would advise anyone who’s looking for an exciting internship (or job) with a lot of impact and responsibility to apply at Lepaya. If you are proactive and not afraid to speak up, I wouldn’t know a better place to be.”
– Lepaya, on behalf of Justine
Questions, comments or suggestions? Or want to intern with us yourself? Visit www.lepaya.com, comment below, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.