The different stages of dating (interning) at Jonar

People don’t go on a first date expecting a wedding proposal. Well, not most people. So, why do we expect a similar lifelong commitment in the workplace?

People don’t go on a first date expecting a wedding proposal. Well, not most people. So, why do we expect a similar lifelong commitment in the workplace?

Here at Jonar, we use dating as a helpful metaphor for our hiring process. From a recruitment perspective, instant commitment doesn’t really make sense. Basically, you ask a candidate, who you don’t really know, and who doesn’t really know you, to commit to a long-term relationship after a couple of interviews. That’s pretty intense. Let’s be real here − no matter how great your date was on Saturday night, if they called you back a few days later to propose, you would likely hang up the phone, promptly change your number, and block them on your dating app.

We understand how nerve-racking it can be to commit to something long-term. That’s why we hire, almost exclusively, through our Internship Program. Our hiring process helps make sure that both parties can really get to know each other before making any life-changing decisions. All good things are worth waiting for, right?

Trials of the dating period

So, the first few dates have gone well so far. There’s undeniable chemistry here and you’ve decided to give the relationship a shot. We like to think Jonar exudes the same level of… professional romanticism. If we have a great time in the interviews, we move on to the next stage by inviting you to begin our three-month internship program.

Whether in love or at work, the first 90 days are a critical time for assessment. However, if there’s something we dislike more than impulsive commitments, it’s hiding behind the overused “probationary period.” Most companies have one so if they realize that their candidate isn’t quite “The One,” ties are quickly cut and the search for new conquests continues. This period can be agonizing, often resulting in the employee left feeling like they are walking on eggshells.

This is something we want to avoid. With us, there is no elephant in the room. From day one, we’ll encourage you to go fearlessly into these three months. This gives the intern the opportunity to explore their new role, take risks, and discover unknown talents. We foster a culture of honesty and openness and encourage the intern to make mistakes, as long as they’re learning from them.

What is it that you want?

Dating someone is as much a journey of discovery about the other person as it is about yourself. During this three-month adventure at Jonar, we make a promise to every intern that they will learn more than they can possibly imagine. We are truly invested in the growth mindset: we like to figure out what motivates a candidate, adjust the internship based on their interests, and encourage them to try different things. Fun fact about us: half our team of senior managers actually started out as interns and grew into their positions over time.

Why is this a relationship worth pursuing?

We are quite possibly the most open-minded, progressive suitors to exist in the dating, ahem, hiring game. Why? Well, this isn’t your traditional type of internship. There are no menial “intern tasks.” You won’t be filling filing cabinets or jetting out to pick up coffee orders. From day one, you’ll be flirting with uncertainty. In fact, our internship program is designed to throw you into the deep end. Your input will be sought and valued as that of a seasoned professional. Interns work on real projects that have an impact on real people. There is no point in making a long-term employment decision based on your ability to boil caffeine-infused water. How can you commit to hiring someone if you’ve never seen them do the job you’re hoping they grow into?

What’s more, our internship program’s success is also thanks to our tendency to hire misfits. We believe if someone is passionate and seems to be a good cultural fit, we will give it a go − no matter their age, experience, or qualifications. We believe a good hire doesn’t need to have experience in the field they are passionate about discovering. So, sometimes we end up with anthropologists as implementers or psychologists as marketers.

No spark? No hard feelings

Let’s face it: not all relationships are forever. Sometimes it’s just not meant to be. Maybe he speaks when his mouth is full. Or, maybe she’s rude to the waitstaff. So, if after three months, if it doesn’t work out on either side, there are no hard feelings. We gave it our best shot and hopefully, along the way, both sides gained something valuable from the experience. The intern may decide that they’d prefer working for a larger corporation, following their childhood dream of owning an ice-cream shop, traveling the world, or even going back to school. We get that.

The end goal: are those wedding bells we hear?

In the beginning, everything starts with chemistry. We give each other a chance and invest time and effort into making things work. We absolutely look to offer a long-term relationship at the end of the internship. And like any new relationship, when the honeymoon period is over, we do our best to make sure that our staff stick around because they continue to feel engaged, happy and fulfilled. In other words, we live happily ever after.

Celine Harwood