It was in January that we received an email from our placement cell regarding an internship at Colgate. The first step was to submit our profiles to the placement head, and the brand being opulent, more than eighty applications were received. The first screening was done based on our resumes. The first shortlist was out and I had successfully cleared this round, thanks to my academic achievements! As the next step in the series of the intriguing selection process, sixteen of us were called at their corporate office at Powai for group discussions and personal interviews. For the group discussion, we were divided into two groups and the topic of our discussion was – shopping online or offline. After a serious group discussion of 15 minutes, which included quoting statistics and facts, eight of us qualified for a round of personal interview with the HR team.
I was interviewed by three interviewers for about 20 minutes. I was asked about my previous internships, my learnings, the participation in extracurricular activities, what my regular day looked like, and the books and articles I had read recently. This interview made me realize the significance of having a holistic view of things because not only was I tested on my HR knowledge but also on my time management and multi-tasking skills.
After clearing it, four of us were called for another round of personal interview with the head of human resources. This was an unstructured interview wherein I was asked about my life goals, which field in HR I wanted to specialize in, and my experiences in HR so far. At the end, he asked me if I had any questions for him. Crushing a thousand thoughts meddling with my brain, I asked him which departments in HR I could work in, if I could get mentorships from other departments, and how I had performed in the interview. The interview process came to an end. In the evening, I received a call from the placement head stating that I had been selected. And, I knew this was going to be one of the most memorable experiences of my life.
The internship began in May and continued for two months during which I worked on projects in the HR operations department, talent acquisition department, and compliance. This being my very first stint at a corporate setup, I had a lot to learn and embrace. I was working very closely with the business and realized the strategic role of an HR. I learnt to prepare and test standard operating procedures for all HR operational activities, gained insights into shift benefits, real-time sourcing, and recruitment.
The first project that I undertook was preparing SOPs for all HR operational activities, wherein I spoke with the respective stakeholders and recorded the steps of the process to identify gaps in it to streamline the entire process. The project would conclude by testing the SOP to check the efficiency of the process. I recommended a preparation of checklists at the end of SOPs to reduce the complexity of tasks and to ensure that no steps have been missed. I also recommended automation of the entire process but it wasn’t implemented. The second project included standardizing the recruitment practice across the organization by taking the best of the two processes being followed then. This also included creating a process for niche recruitment which was different from the standard recruitment. The standardized process was tested by live recruitment for the analytics role arranged by me. For this project, I recommended a standard process for niche recruitment involving business at the initial stages and preparation of a tracker along with the usage of GRMS for recruitment; both of these were implemented. The last project that I worked on included aligning the corporate HR policies and refurbishing them according to the recent legal regulations and also giving suggestions for shift benefits for the employees. I recommended giving a half day off to employees who work for less than four hours on holidays and providing on-call allowances to employees who work from home on holidays; the former was implemented.
‘The only source of knowledge is experience‘.
I also learned innumerable things such as team building, agility, and attention to detail on a personal front. The atmosphere inside the office filled me with a sense of belongingness and care; this was one of my tacit learnings from the internship. The entire journey has been enriching and elevating for my professional and personal success, giving me new visions. Every step has taught me countless lessons and the learnings from them are here to stay for life. My journey at Colgate can be summed up in just five words – once in a lifetime experience.
Author of the article: Manasi Mistry