WME, an Australian SEO company that also includes web design, social and PPC expertise, has officially launched a new intern program, WME Next Gen. The program could see a number of participants move into full-time employment after completion, giving them an invaluable career boost.
Next Gen was set up by WME founder and CEO, Nick Bell. Serial entrepreneur, Bell has constantly found it a struggle to hire people who are the right cultural fit for WME. After experimenting with a number of different hiring methods, he began working on an intern program over a number of years before he and the management team settled on Next Gen.
The program will see up to five interns take positions at WME each quarter for a three-month period. The Next Gen program places interns with a mentor for the entire period while being challenged by a number of tasks within a specific team like paid search or social media.
By the end of the program both WME and the intern have a much clearer idea of their strengths and what they have to work on.
While completion does not guarantee a position at the company, Bell says it is quickly evident who is a good fit for the WME ethos. A large majority of successful interns move on to full-time roles within WME, a decisive factor in Bell focusing on the program as a key means of hiring.
“Within the first four weeks you can see if an intern is suitable for a role. From our prior testing of an intern program we have seen that if participants finish the internship, around 80 per cent of them move on to full-time employment with us,” Bell said.
“It’s great to give young talent an opportunity and it’s a much more effective way to hire. They have the opportunity to learn the WME culture from the ground up with less pressure and a dedicated mentor.
“It’s extremely difficult to hire good talent in this market. That is something that won’t change for a while with an influx of big global technology companies, so companies like WME have to find innovative ways to hire the talent we need.”
Bell has specifically set up a training division within WME and invested large amounts of time and money in creating the training guidelines and manuals to support Next Gen and ensure each intern has the best chance of achieving their goals.
“I have seen the success of internships before. My first intern ever when I started WME, Maggie Ji, is a perfect example why I wanted to start WME Next Gen. She struggled with English but she had the right attitude, dedication to the job and determination,” he continued.
“She identified and worked on her weaknesses and we supported her through the entire process. She’s now the CFO of a number of my companies. Now I want to focus on Australian talent and really give them the skills they need to succeed.”