Intern: Wise? Follow up

Yesterday I received an email regarding my previous blog on the Internwise website, from someone involved with said site. With his agreement, I have posted his rebuttals to the concerns I expressed in that post.

I will hold my hands up and admit that the tone of my blog was not the nicest, but I am sure fellow jobseekers will agree with me when I say how much job seeking wears you down, and when you’re in one of those grumpy, ‘why am I still unemployed?!’ moods, then you should probably refrain from writing anything on the internet!

But I’m also proud of standing up for myself – something I find very hard to do. I may be bolshy and loud, but usually, the second someone criticises me, I turn into a little mouse and scamper away. I don’t like confrontation. But today I faced it head on and came out with a good result, so yay! Go Nikki! People really aren’t that scary.

Here is the email I received, with the important bits left in:

Internwise is a free website, and when I say free, I am referring to all crucial functionalities that a candidate will need to find a job: search for jobs, apply for a job, and communicate with the employer.

Our paid plans consist on “upgrades” to premium options. We are not charging you to apply for a job… we charge you for a tailored service where we actually guarantee an internship for you.

I took the liberty of commenting on a few of your remarks:

“a questionable website” – Internwise is one of UK’s largest internship websites, with 5,000 visitors every day. We have many companies registering every day and posting opportunities, many of them blue chips like Apple, Yahoo, HP, and many others, and we constantly receive positive testimonials from candidates that were able to find a job. We have more than 3,000 companies with us!

“send them a message’ – not a covering letter, and there is no option to upload a CV” – When you sign up, we ask you to upload your updated CV. And you can upload a new version anytime you want, by editing your profile. When applying for a job, you will see an empty space where you can add your cover letter. The fact that you cannot reupload your CV is simply to save you some time, as you may wish to upload to 20 different jobs.

“But you can’t see your profile” – Wour public profile is a very simple page with your name and your CV, which companies can access if they wish to download your CV.

“Does my CV look uploaded? No. No it bloody doesn’t” – The fact that you see a “download CV” link is the answer to your question.

“unscrupulous methods to prey on the desperate graduate” – Seriously? How can you call “unscrupulous” to a website who is assisting graduates and reducing the youth unemployment rate?

Best of luck,

That really is fair enough, and I apologise now for the remarks that I made. But of course, they were not unfounded; I had genuine cause for concern to not trust this site, and so I penned (typed?) a reply:

Hi [redacted],

thanks for emailing me.

My blog was written when in a bad mood (like most of my blog posts!) and I apologise for the tone of it. I questioned whether I should post it and after making several amendments I did so, although I was wary of what response I would get.

I think what frustrated me so much about your site is what I put into my blog post; that most internships are unpaid, yet there is an option to pay to help graduates find one. I know you are a business and you need to make money, but when you’re job seeking you face obstacle after obstacle, and seeing the paying options is almost a slap in the face.
Is this not discriminating against the vast majority of us – those that can’t pay? It’s not a thousand worlds away from that recent scandal where it was found that large companies were auctioning off internships to the tune of thousands of pounds.

The fact is that most of us can’t afford to take on an unpaid internship, let alone pay to get one! It’s the age old story of being able to get what you want so long as you can pay. In the current economic climate that is grossly unfair. I worked hard when studying and to find so many doors closed to me because of mine and my family’s economic situation is not what I expected to happen. Not your fault, of course, but this is the mindset I had when visiting your site; it was yet another obstacle I couldn’t overcome.

I realise you have a free option, but like I outlined; it is not clear what you receive.

I have presented what I think are fair reasons for taking issue with your site. Perhaps it would be good if you took some of those criticisms on; I am very computer literate but it is not an easy site to navigate nor understand – I think the site would benefit a great deal if it were made clear that your CV were being sent to the employer, or explained what the unpaying member receives.

I will take my blog down if it pleases you as I genuinely don’t want to cause any trouble (or I could post your reply?), but these are genuine criticisms of your site and if they were addressed I wouldn’t have had such qualms about using it. To myself and my parents, Internwise comes across as sketchy and when you hear about companies advertising fake jobs in order to gather jobseekers’ details, it makes sense to be wary. Maybe I’m being overly skeptical, but CVs are full of a lot of sensitive information.

I again apologise for the tone of the blog post.


And I got a very nice reply back:

Thanks for the speedy response, and specially for your honesty and sincerity 🙂

I perfectly understand your frustrations, and believe me when I tell you that every week we speak and give advice to graduates that like you are struggling to find a good work opportunity.

Doesn’t help the fact that many graduates are willing to do unpaid work, so if you require a salary, you will basically go to the end of the queue, which I understand is unfair.

Please feel free to add some of our responses to you article. If you wish, you can publicly say that we have contact you in order to clarify your doubts, and obviously to help other candidates that may have the same questions as you had.

Let me emphasise that we are indeed on this for the passion of helping people, we make our money from other projects (non recruitment related). The ‘Internship Guaranteed’ plan was an idea that we had to try and create a new revenue stream, with a valid a honest proposition (we are very successful on placing the candidate that subscribe to this service).

Best regards, and good luck for the future.

I think what he outlines in his final email is the crux of the argument, though. The fact that some graduates are willing to work for free. Once this starts, there’s no way of stopping it. The only way we can stop it is if we all banded together and decided that enough was enough; we’ve worked hard and we deserve to be paid! Companies should be willing to put the effort in and train us up, instead of expecting us to leave university with skills required for the workplace. University isn’t the place to gain those skills. University is a place to discover yourself and see what you’re capable of. For most, it’s the first time away from home and so there is so much going on and I think that it why results from your first year are not taken into account when deciding your degree classification.

Giving young adults the skills needed in the workplace is not the job of the lecturers: it is the job of the employers.

Nikki x


One thought on “Intern: Wise? Follow up

  1. Pingback: Intern: wise? | Nikki Jayne.

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