This is the first of a three-part series profiling Gevity staff at different stages of their careers.
Over the summer of 2018, I worked as an intern at Gevity Consulting Inc. as part of the Human Resources (HR) team. Since I completed my internship, I have now moved into a part-time position while I complete my studies. I am a third-year student at Camosun College in Victoria, B.C., studying for my Bachelor of Business with a focus in human resource management and leadership. I previously completed three years of a Bachelor in Software Engineering at the University of Victoria and did my first co-op at Gevity in 2016. My career aspirations are to work in HR at a large company, eventually as director.
I was based in the Victoria, B.C. office, but I worked with staff in Canada, the Philippines and the U.S. through online meetings, e-mail, phone calls and Skype. I had the opportunity to go to Vancouver and meet the rest of the HR team in person and that was a great experience. The team is spread out across Canada and meeting people face to face when I had previously only heard their voices helped me build relationships with them. Gevity also supports remote staff by providing the tools and technology, such as videoconferencing. The only challenge that I found working with remote staff was the different time zones: 9 a.m. for someone in Toronto is 6 a.m. for me!
Hiring people to fill various term and permanent roles is a major part of the company’s operations, and as an HR intern, I had the opportunity to see Gevity’s thorough hiring process first hand and participate in it from the resume review process to the orientation of successful candidates. The process starts with a candidate submitting his or her resume and is followed by a series of interviews (most of which take place virtually), and, finally, for successful candidates, a job offer.
I posted jobs to various career sites, reviewed potential candidates, and then gave the successful candidate their first-day orientation. When I started my four-month co-op at Gevity, I started off looking for candidates for a bid coordinator role. The last week of my co-op, I conducted the orientation for the successful candidate, so it was gratifying to see them through that entire process. I had recommended this candidate because in addition to meeting the basic requirements of the job posting, the candidate demonstrated the ability to use consistent formatting and correct spelling – two basic requirements of that role.
Reviewing resumes for multiple job postings not only gave me insights into the fascinating and extensive experience of many highly qualified candidates, it also helped me to analyze how to improve my own resume. Typically, I saw resumes with inconsistent formatting and spelling errors. I also saw resumes that were incomplete or content that clearly had been copied and pasted from another job (i.e. applying for bid coordinator role but resume said junior accountant). After being on the other side of the HR-applicant equation, I now understand how incredibly important it is to make a good first impression, and that means ensuring your spelling, grammar and style are impeccable if you want your resume to stand out from the crowd. Hint: not everything should be capitalized!
I also conducted pre-screening interviews for candidates, which involved organizing a time with a potential candidate and conducting a more informal, information-gathering interview. These interviews were typically 30 minutes long and involved getting to know more about a candidate’s past work experience and career aspirations. I participated in the onboarding process by creating and updating employee files, conducting new employee orientations and setting up new employees with their benefits account. I also participated in the occasional offboarding process.
In addition to working with the HR team, I worked with the proposals development team to ensure that the resumes we received for external consulting positions were formatted correctly. This experience made me realize that the standard two-page resume rule does not apply to project work. It was intimidating at first to see resumes that were four times as long as mine, but it made me realize how much experience I currently had, and how much I will gain in my future roles.
Another opportunity my internship provided was to regularly facilitate or present company-wide “lunch ‘n’ learns” on various topics such as using social media professionally, working with millennials and current projects specific teams were working on. This really helped build my confidence when presenting; it also educated other staff members on projects their colleagues were working on and on important workplace issues.
I also worked with the finance team to ensure expenses were regularly reviewed and approved. I will admit that this was the most challenging task during my co-op but the training and willingness of the team to answer all my questions really helped me to succeed. I will definitely apply the skills I learned from the expense submission process to my future accounting and finance classes as well as to future jobs, as it is a skill I know I will need.
The best part of working at Gevity was the opportunity to connect with so many different teams spread out across Canada, the U.S. and other countries. I also really enjoyed being able to witness first-hand and participate in Gevity’s recruitment and selection process from start (job posting) to finish (employee onboarding). The past four months with Gevity have been a great experience and I gained practical knowledge to supplement the technical knowledge I learned in school. I was able to expand my network while working with multiple teams throughout the organization; this has helped me focus my current studies, and it was a great introduction to office and working professional life!
I would definitely recommend internships to other students. Not only was it a great experience, but I got to work in my field of study before I graduated. This gave me valuable insight into the HR field and narrow down where I might want to focus my future studies. It helped me put my foot in the door in the professional world and gave me the opportunity to work in an office and network for future career opportunities.
While working at Gevity, I not only introduced new employees to the company’s core values, but I also got the chance to see these values in action. Employees at Gevity strive to be the best, make a positive impact, do it right, get better through professional development, and help their clients. It has been incredibly motivational to see how hard everyone at the company works and how they all go above and beyond to meet the needs of their clients.