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I have recently sent an internship proposition to my manager, to recruit an intern for next year.

The problem is that it's filled with technical considerations that I'm sure my manager appreciates, but it is certainly not something I would consider as appealing for any student. I'm pretty sure the subject is interesting, but how do I make it look appealing in the description?

  • Do I include a list of tools (programming languages in this case) that are likely to be used? I don't want to have someone that has to learn from scratch a new language, but I'm open to suggestion concerning which language to use (among 2 or 3 though). I feel like listing the languages I have in mind could scare some student, thinking that they're proficient in only one language and not the others, so it wouldn't be a good match.

  • Do I describe the internship at a task per task precision? That will show that I've given this subject some thought and have a good idea on how it should go, but there is a lot of tasks that I've identified, so it may scare someone thinking it will be too much work.

  • Do I try to focus more on the output of the internship, like improving the team efficiency, developing the next reference code/tool/plugin in a certain field and topic?

The objective is to attract as many good candidates (graduate students (last year of engineering school in France)) as possible. I'm sure I have missed some topics.

  • I've tagged this to France based on your profile (and punctuation). Could you clarify what the target audience of your internship is (students, graduates) and if this is in association with a particular college? – Lilienthal Aug 14 '15 at 12:27
  • @Lilienthal How could you tell this was based on France based on the original question? – Frank FYC Aug 14 '15 at 18:04
  • @Riorank I suspected Loufylouf was French from his use of spaces before certain punctuation marks, which is something typically French but I confirmed it from his profile. (I pointed it out because I removed the spacing in an edit.) – Lilienthal Aug 14 '15 at 18:16
  • very related, though US centric - workplace.stackexchange.com/q/4026/2322 – enderland Aug 15 '15 at 13:02
  • Way too broad for me. Being an employee in a large company, compensation, perks and stuff like that are not of my resort. I'll keep it somewhere though, as it provides useful information on how to manage an intern(ship), thanks. – Loufylouf Aug 15 '15 at 21:16
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Do I include a list of tools (programming languages in this case) that are likely to be used ? I don't want to have someone that has to learn from scratch a new language, but I'm open to suggestion concerning which language to use (among 2 or 3 though). I feel like listing the languages I have in mind could scare some student, thinking that they're proficient in only one language and not the others, so it wouldn't be a good match.

You can write : "Proficient in at least one of the following: Language A ; Language B; Language C"

Do I describe the internship at a task per task precision ? That will show that I've given this subject some thought and have a good idea on how it should go, but there is a lot of tasks that I've identified, so it may scare someone thinking it will be too much work.

Focus on phases / broad topics. In my field, that would be someting like that :

- Gather requirements and needs - Design the product architecture - Develop the product - Test and verify

Do I try to focus more on the output of the internship, like improving the team efficiency, developping the next reference code|tool|plugin in a certain field and topic ?

As suggested by Lilienthal, the beginning of the offer should include this aspect, as well as a brief explanation of the business case (if it's a single project) or of the processes that the team covers (if it's more of an operational role).

Not scaring students

Students tend to lack self-confidence when it comes to entering the office world, so you may want to rank the skills depending on their importance to the project so that they don't run away just because they don't possess skills that are actually secondary.

  • Only "require" skills that are truly necessary.
  • List the other skills as "optionnal" , "nice to have", "preferred" or whatever wording you prefer.

Sum-up

  • Introduce the business case / processes covered by the team
  • Introduce the objective and outputs of this internship
  • Explain main phases of the project
  • Needed skills and languages as described above
  • Related to "France" tag : if the country's culture matters for this question, I am French and have been educated in the France – Puzzled Aug 14 '15 at 12:36
  • I added the France tag to avoid people answering based on the American internship model which is quite different. Your advice is solid and I would only add that OP may want to briefly explain the business case (if it's a single project) or the processes that the team covers (if it's more of an operational role). That should tie in with the company description unless that's a seperate section of the proposal. – Lilienthal Aug 14 '15 at 18:21
  • Definitely agree with this answer, with emphasis on the "Required" and "Optional/nice to have" aspect. Only put things in "Required" if they're truly required. Anything else can go in optional. Missing some of the "Beneficial to have" section doesn't scare people off anywhere near as much as the "required" section – Jon Story Aug 17 '15 at 14:09
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I'll start off by highlighting I'm not an engineer but a tech recruiter and the phrasing you have used is a bit different to here in Australia... but I would usually separate a "job advertisement" from a "job description". If you view the application and interview process as a funnel whereby you reduce and filter a broad range of potential candidates down to the very best - the role of your 1st stage, the job advertisement or 'offer' is about attraction and marketing. It should have the tone and information required to attract your initial wide pool of people. The actual level of detail that is best for you may vary depending on your audience, your position/ company requirement and the market conditions so in some cases I will go quite technical.

In terms of providing task-by-task level of detail, for intern/ junior roles I would usually use that after the initial broader communication. This might be sending the detailed spec / 'job description' document and information to candidates you invite to interview or introducing it to them during the later stages of the interview process.

Regarding specifying technologies when you are hiring for aptitude - just be clear at multiple stages and across both written and in person communication.

An example would be for one team at my company where I hire graduates and intern programmers who will be working with C# mainly. Because a lot of Australian universities do not teach / provide licenses for students to work with the .NET stack, we often look for people who have either Java experience but communicate they will be learning and working with C#. This might be similar to your situation in that what we are really looking for is strong aptitude with programming and understanding of OOP.

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In addition to what others have mentioned, you may also explain what other skill/expertise development opportunities your company offers, apart from improving skills on the "required" list. Examples might be, depending on your specific company situation and capabilities:

  • ability to acquire additional skills, such as Java for a Web developer, or DBA skills for a programmer;
  • exposure to an established company culture, typical for your country or industry;
  • ability to improve "soft" skills, such as working as part of a large multifunctional team; time management; project management; client interactions;
  • formal or informal mentoring provided by senior colleagues;
  • company-sponsored training programs;
  • flexibility of work hours (if available);

This is based on the questions asked by intern candidates that I was recently interviewing.

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I'm still a student so i'll be giving my view on the matter.

Do I include a list of tools

Please do! i like to know what i'm getting myself into.
It also gives me a general idea if the assignment fits my goals and ambitions in life.

Do I describe the internship at a task per task precision?

No, i prefer a description of it as a whole.

Do I try to focus more on the output of the internship, like improving the team efficiency, developing the next reference code/tool/plugin in a certain field and topic?

Well, it would be rather nice to know what i'm going to be doing, isn't it?

Other pointers

Keep the description short and simple, unless you're a very interesting company and already on my watch list i will not be very likely to read a very long description.
Be sure to tell something about the company culture, is it a open culture or a very strict one (you may want to avoid telling, if it is ;) ).

I hope this helps

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