Confessions of a Summer Intern: Jay Brannan’s Journey

Jay Brannan, a Human Resource Management major/Communications minor at UW-Whitewater, spent his summer as a Human Resources Intern with an area nonprofit organization. Jay’s primary focus in his internship was the recruitment aspect of the human resources field.

One of the best outcomes of an internship experience is the affirmation that the career field you’ve chosen is a good fit. And for Jay, this internship did just that.

Just in case you missed it, read Jay Brannan’s internship journey this summer:

Jay Brannan

HR Intern

Bulletin Board After

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Confessions of a Summer Intern: All Good Things Come to an End

Jay wraps up his summer internship with his final blog post. In case you missed them, read his first post and second post.

When you do something you love, time seems to fly by. That’s just what summer felt like to me. I can’t believe that my internship ended and that I will be moving in to Whitewater in a little over a week.

I don’t have a lot of updates as I was working on a lot of big projects, but everything that I accomplished was exciting and a blast to work on. First off, I have been working daily, without any supervision, on updating our applications, doing reference checks for our applicants, doing reference checks for other companies, and doing pre-screens. While this may not seem like a lot to do or very hard, it is a critical part of my internship and the Human Resources field in general. We want to hire the best candidates for the job and have them stay with our organization a long time.

This leads into one of my projects that I worked on and mentioned in my last post – the Recruitment Metrics. A recruitment metrics is graphs and data that show us how many applicants we got and where they are applying (websites, walk-ins, referrals) as well as breaking down the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) information like gender, race, and age. This took quite a long time because I counted everything by hand and it is a very important part of any job field. With these metrics, we could see what websites are getting the most traffic and the least traffic, if we need to post a job on another website, and the basic ‘type’ of people applying, just to name a few things. I enjoyed working on this because you really have to pay attention to the littlest details and I always make sure that all the numbers check out. Comparing it to June, we are on track to where we want to be!

Another project that I worked on was a little more exciting – creating a new bulletin board for our conference room. A few HR interns before me had created a bulletin board highlighting important dates and upcoming events. After a few years, the board got older and started to fall apart. When given this project, I had fun with it. I wanted the board to pop out and have people look at it the moment they step foot in the room. With that, I thought of some colors and got my measuring tape and scissors ready. After laying out my idea and making sure everything was evenly spread out, I was done.

Bulletin Board Before

Bulletin Board After

It was only a few minutes after I was done that everyone in the office was saying that it was the best looking bulletin board, that it looked professionally done, and that it would stay up there for a long time.

Who knows, if I can’t find an HR job right after college, I could be an interior decorator. Haha!

One of the most fun parts of my internship was going to our Corporate offices in Jefferson, Wisconsin. I was so excited to see how they do HR there and to see the other aspects of the organization as well. While up there, I was able to talk with and meet a lot of the corporate directors and establish contacts with them! Also, I got to sit in on an awesome speaker that spoke to us about how to keep employees happy and to improve the work environment. For lunch, we went to the best China House I have ever been to and they had the best Orange Chicken! After we ate, I got to go back and sit in on a meeting on how we are performing as a whole. That was exciting to be at! On the way home, I got to see the fun side of my co-workers. We were laughing and joking and I think I even shed a tear because I was laughing so hard.

A new thing that we started to kick-into-action for our employees was to take daily walks around lunch to get ready for Health & Wellness Week. This has been a great way to get some exercise while getting to know my co-workers even more. The walks have become quite popular and I know they will continue to do them – at least until the cold weather and snow start.

As I mentioned in my last post, a project I had been working on was our Hiring Process. My goal was, from start to finish, to hire at least 3 people. Well, I exceeded that goal and I hired 5 new employees. It was awesome seeing all that time and effort pay off. I am glad the saying “the fruits of your labor” still applies to today’s work force.

One of the new people that I hired was the HR intern. I was sad and yet happy to do this. It meant that my internship was almost over, but that I could also train the new intern so that she could do as good as I job that I did. (I hope that doesn’t rub people the wrong way. I was told by many that I was probably the best HR intern they had.)

Going back a bit regarding the hiring of the new HR intern – which is something my supervisor has all the HR interns do – I got to go through the entire hiring process. This included a lot of what I did for the other 4 new hires. But this time, I got to conduct the interview as well as train her while I finished up interning for the organization. I was nervous about the interview as I had never done one before. To my luck, she was way more nervous than I was (that made me feel a lot better). As for training her, I went over a lot of the basic daily tasks that I work on and let her know more about the bigger picture projects as well.

Let me talk about the other 4 new hires I mentioned. On their first day of Training & Orientation, I conducted half of the presentations for that day. This included the New Hire Welcome, the Conduct section of our Employee Handbook, and the Jeopardy! Game to wrap the day out. I always enjoy this part of my internship (Training & Development) because what you teach them, they will use in their job. It gives me a sense of joy knowing that because of me, they will be able to take something and use it on a daily basis for their job.

HR Orientation PowerPoint
HR Orientation PowerPoint

Story time! – On the first day of Training & Orientation, one of the new employees was coming up to me about questions and talking to me while my supervisor was in the dark. My supervisor joked later that he felt like he was the intern and I was the HR Generalist because I was doing so well. I joked back and said that maybe one day I would take over his job and he said he’d be happy because then he could take a nice long vacation with all the Paid Days Off he accumulated.

The last thing I will talk about, and the most important to me, is the personal project that I had been working on – the Training Satisfaction Surveys. After a long time working on them, I finished them up and was happy with how they looked and all the information in them, too. When I gave them to my supervisor, I expected him to give them back to me and suggest me to add/delete certain things. However, he read them, said they were great, and started giving them to the new employees that started the same day I completed the surveys. I was shocked! I didn’t expect the surveys to go into effect that quickly!

Just a few of the Training Surveys I created.
Training Surveys

To my knowledge, it was his plan all along, and he had his full trust in me to get it done. After talking about they surveys after we got a lot back, he said that the information we received was very valuable to the organization and that they will be implementing the surveys for a very long time. He said that he was also going to talk to everyone at the board meeting the next Monday (August 20th – the first day after my internship ended) and tell everyone about them. When he told me this, I was socked and in awe. My hard work had really been paying off and I really made a profound impact for our organization. I will stay in contact with everyone and see how they all like the surveys! (I even started to work on another major project that I didn’t get to finish. Hopefully one of the other HR interns will pick it up or maybe I can work on it over winter break or over next summer.)

Like I said before, all good things come to an end. This is where I will wrap up.

Overall, I loved my internship experience and got to know a lot of wonderful people. This internship really reaffirmed that Human Resources is the right field for me and that I am on the right track with my career. I hope that what I will learn this upcoming semester regarding HR will be easier since I have so much knowledge of the field. It has been a pleasure interning at this great non-profit organization and who knows – I might end up there again one day.

Thanks for following me this summer and I hope you enjoyed reading and learning with me.

– Jay Brannan

Confessions of a Summer Intern: You’re Hired! You’re Fired!

Jay shares what he has been working on since his first summer internship post.

Since my last post back in June, I have been very busy at my internship. It feels like I had just started my internship and now I only have about 5 weeks left. To add to that, I can’t believe that summer is almost over – which means starting classes at UW-W again is only a little over a month away. I guess when you are having fun and staying busy with an internship, things go my faster than usual. Let me move on to tell you what I have been doing since we last met.

Jay Brannan

With my Human Resources internship, I have been spending the majority of June and July on Recruitment, Training, and Employee Relations. While this might not sound very interesting at first, I should add that it is a big part of any company – and I love it. I have worked with aspects that include hiring new employees, training new hires, keeping in constant contact with what happens to the employees, and even what happens after their employment has ended – including being terminated (fired).

Recruiting and Training are perhaps two of the most important parts of what a company wants to stand for. Any company wants to have the most qualified person for the job and to have them be well trained so that they can be a successful employee. When an applicant applies for a job, they don’t just want that job. They really want a career with a great company.

Some more of what I have been doing in regards to recruitment is updating records in our application system and what happens to each candidate in the hiring process. For example, if we feel an applicant meets the qualifications and has consistent employment history, we would conduct a pre-screen. A pre-screen is just another way to narrow down the number of qualified applicants to those whom we want to schedule interviews for. At first, it was difficult for me to get the hang of determining whether or not to pass on applicants, but now I know what to look for and it has gotten much easier for me.

Along with pre-screening applicants, I have been conducting both professional and personal reference checks on applicants who have had interviews to see what their current/previous employers and coworkers/friends have to say about the applicant.

To add to that, I have also been able to learn and work with employee relations material which includes what happens if an employee needs to take a leave of absence to how to handle situations after employment ends. I have learned in dealing with such material is that HR professionals are very knowledge and on top of their game when things get complicated and serious in matter. I find it an honor to be able to learn what I have been learning and to add my input and take over some of the material that we get as an organization.

One part of my internship that I enjoy a great deal about is that I have been able to take part in webinars about different HR laws, practices, and how to improve on certain aspects of HR. With completing and listening to professionals talk about these laws, practices, and improvements, I have gained valuable knowledge that I can use in my internship as well as use after I graduate from college.

While learning a great deal of information and having fun doing it, I have been assigned a lot of projects to work on during my internship. I will just mention a few of them so I don’t end up writing a novel (which I hope these post aren’t too long).

One of my projects I am working on is completing Recruitment Metrics for the month of July and comparing them to the month before. This includes figuring out how many applications we received, the number of new hires, who left the company, determining the turnover ratio, and much more.

The most recent project that I was assigned to was Recruiting and Hiring a few new hires. I have to pick a few applicants that we have set up interviews for and, by myself, follow the progress of the hiring process until I extend an employment offer to each of the applicants. This includes keeping in contact with staff and hiring managers to completing background and reference checks. I have a deadline to hire them by, so I will be working a lot on extending an offer of employment to these individuals.

The last project I will mention is that I am creating New Hire Packets and Binders for the new employees. While this is a project that involves a lot of time and organizing paperwork, I still enjoy it. I have to gather certain documents from our files, make copies of them, and put them in their respective binders and folder. I get to learn what the documents are used for and read up on them so I grasp a better understanding for myself.

HR Intern

One of the other parts of my internship that I like a lot is that I take tests. Yes, I said tests. And I like them. Every Friday, I take a test on HR practices about what I learned and what HR professionals need to know. So far the tests have been a little difficult, but they will only get harder. You can’t get a lot of this knowledge from classes, because there are just too many things that you can’t learn from classes – you need that real-world experience that comes with having a job or an internship.

Aside from all the work that I have been doing for my internship, I have been able to work on a personal project for the organization. I was excited to hear that I can do this because I had some good ideas about what I wanted to do. I narrowed my ideas down with my supervisor and I am working on creating satisfaction surveys for the training classes that we offer our employees.

This is important to both HR as well as the instructors that teach the classes. The employees will be able to answer some questions and give feedback on what they would have done different or have kept in a class. A big one that I think a lot of the employees will mention is the length of certain classes. Sometimes this will be able to change, but the duration of some training classes will have to stay the same.

If all goes well with creating these satisfaction surveys, I hope that the organization will be able to use the surveys for years to come! My supervisor also said that this is something that I will be able to put in my portfolio when I apply for future jobs. This made me really happy that I could do that.

As I am getting to write a bit much now, I will end this blog with a few more comments. – With a little over a month before my internship ends, I am feeling sad and yet happy. I love my internship (which makes me happy with that I chose Human Resource Management as my major), but I’m sad because I do not want to leave this great organization and the people I work with. But like all good things, they must come to an end.

Please don’t think of this as the end of my blogging, because I will be back for one more post in August!

Until then, stay tuned to read about what other exciting adventures I will have during my internship and how my personal project works out.


Confessions of a Summer Intern: Meet Jay Brannan

Jay Brannan

Hello Everyone!

After waking up early for classes all year, you think I would want to sleep in until noon every day over the summer. Not me. I am a morning person! I love waking up around 6 or 7 o’clock in the morning, having a hearty breakfast, and reading the newspaper.

This summer, my mornings are a little different. After finishing the newspaper, I am taking on an opportunity in which I will further my knowledge in my career path and where I can use my many talents to make a profound impact on the lives of who I work with. I am a Human Resources Intern for St. Coletta of Wisconsin.

For those of you who haven’t heard of St. Coletta or don’t know much about the company, I will take the pleasure of telling you a little about them. St. Coletta of Wisconsin was founded in 1904 by the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi and is one of the oldest Catholic service organizations in the country dedicated to supporting adults with developmental and other disabilities. They offer residential and vocational programs that embrace the concepts of independence, community inclusion, choice, and empowerment.

St. Coletta of Wisconsin

Let me introduce myself a bit more. I am a junior at UWW and will be graduating May 2014. I am majoring in Human Resource Management with a minor in Communications. I also have a very strong interest in the Marketing field. I am a very active member of AMA (American Marketing Association) and I am an Account Executive for CMU (Creative Marketing Unlimited). I am also a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. In the fall semester, I am excited about becoming a new member of SHRM (Society of Human Resource Management).

I started my internship on June 11th. The first day was training and orientation with other employees of St. Coletta’s. Experiencing other work training days that have been boring, I was very surprised that I, as well as all the others, enjoyed the training. We even laughed a few times with the Human Resource Generalist giving the presentation! During the break where we all got to meet more with our supervisors, I found myself already filing out employee’s I-9 forms. (The purpose of an I-9 Form is to document that each new employee is authorized to work in the United States.)

I work directly under the Human Resource Generalist at the Rolling Meadows office in Northern Illinois. With being the only intern in the office, I find more time to focus on my projects and getting to know the employees on both a professional and personal level.

As an HR intern, I have a lot of responsibilities that range from benefit administration to training and development and everything else in between. A big part of my internship is dealing with talent acquisition (recruiting). This will be my ‘baby’ throughout my time at St. Coletta’s.

Jay at Work

In talent acquisition, I use our APPTRAK system to keep track of the applications that we receive. (It is pretty easy to understand when I put it that way.) APPTRAK also includes the whole application process from start to finish – from when we receive a resume all the way to whether or not we offer them a position.

St. Coletta of Wisconsin is such a great place to work! There is so much history in this company. All of the development and growth St. Coletta has had in its 108 years is itself a huge accomplishment. The people that I work with are all great too! I am thankful that this is where I am doing my interning.

Confessions of a Summer Intern: Bittersweet End to a Fantastic Summer

Hello again!

What a bittersweet ending to a fantastic summer! I never imagined I would leave with such an array of good experiences and memories. I’ve met so many amazing and very accomplished individuals and even lifelong friends. I’ve volunteered many hours for a good cause, learned how to professionally present 15-minute to hour long presentations, and even met the CEO in the elevator.

Those are just the smallest of events that occurred over my internship experience at Rockwell Automation. As I mentioned in my first post, I had eight main projects to work on over the course of my internship, and I decided to discuss three of them.

Staffing, to refresh your memory, is the process of finding qualified applicants, phone screening them, bringing them in for an interview, and finally filling the open position if they answer the interview questions well and they have the appropriate experience/skills. I got to be a part of this process four times this summer and interviewed ten different individuals. I couldn’t believe how many different types of people are looking for employment. I think Rockwell does an excellent job of hosting all-day interviews and review sessions, and they do the best they can to hire the individual who is best qualified for the job and will most greatly benefit the company.

The second project I had was the ‘Retention Database.’ This project was definitely different than all of the others because it required much patience and understanding. In the end, we had to create a ‘dashboard’ of all of the most interesting graphs and findings on how to retain the most sales interns/employees. We used variables such as key college, GPA, caliper test (like a personality test), their interview scores, and many more. There were so many things to compare; the managers couldn’t decide which data they wanted to share! Eventually, I will present this information with another woman who worked with the majority of the data to our Director of HR and the three other managers who started the project. Luckily, I will have some time to prepare, as I have two weeks left.

My Onboarding project is even more unique. Remember, Onboarding is the process when new employees are going to work for their first time. They need to know how the company functions, what to expect, and how to adapt to the new company within the first six months. I am now in the final stages of completing this project. I had to contact 14 sales offices in North America (including Canada) and ask them for their ‘Onboarding Checklist,’ or the list referred to when each of these sales offices is welcoming a new sales engineer. The reason I contacted so many different offices is because I am trying to regulate and universalize one checklist, so that every location can use the same one, and every new employee can gain the same experience as their co-worker working in Dallas or Kansas, or whichever location they get assigned to. Trust me, it is a task. All I have to do after that is conduct a conference call with all of these 14 locations and roll out my new checklist, ask for any issues or concerns, and fix them right away. I believe this checklist will greatly help universalize the Onboarding process and create a more unified staff at all Rockwell locations.

As for networking, I’ve expanded my Rockwell network and met with just about 50 people. I couldn’t stop myself! There are so many different types of people at this company, and they’re so interesting!

In my previous post, I mentioned I had to present an hour long presentation about ‘Managing Generations.’ I prepared well, had concise and interesting information, but there were a variety of unexpected events I had to adapt to quickly. About a week before my presentation, the whole subject of my presentation changed. Initially, it was ‘Managing Four Different Generations in the Workplace,’ but then it was changed to ‘Communicating with Four Different Generations in the Workplace.’ While you might not think there is a huge difference, there is. However, I had some help from my manager and created a precise script so that I wouldn’t feel unorganized or unprepared. Throughout it all, I feel I was pretty successful and assisted interns understand why it is so important to be aware of the different generations that surround them in the workforce. Each of them communicates differently, thinks differently, and brings so much more to the workplace (experience-wise) than we could never imagine.

Though my internship was demanding, I still had a chance to get to know many new interns. Rockwell donates a variety of their time and money to the United Way, so the interns of Milwaukee got to participate in a ‘Day of Caring’ around the city. This was refreshing because we were allowed to leave the office for an afternoon. The group I was assigned to assisted a small charter school called La Causa, just three blocks away from our Rockwell building. Some interns gardened, picked up trash, scrubbed desks and swept the floor, babysat, played with older kids on the playground, while I got to paint.

Our group at La Causa.
Rockwell Intern Day 2011, Group

Here I am with two of my other friends painting in the art room.
Rockwell Intern Day 2011, Art Room

There are only a few things left that I must pull together within these last two weeks. With that being said, I am proud of my accomplishments and I can’t wait to go back to school and test what I’ve learned from my internship in my classes. While college really is the best time in our lives, it really wouldn’t be that bad working for Rockwell everyday. I look forward to graduation and the opportunities that may arise before then.

That’s all I have for you! Thanks for reading!

Hope you all had a wonderful summer!

Read Gabby’s Internship Journey

  1. Meet Gabby Fenzel
  2. Time Flies When You’re Learning So Much

Other Summer Intern Confessions

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