High Expectations and Great Outcomes

Katelyn Merchant, Class of 2017
Katelyn Merchant at ALKU Technologies office

Describe your first few weeks and what the experience was like – What stands out for you?

The first few weeks at ALKU flew by so fast. I remember sitting in our training session on day one and having my future mentor Dan say to me  “I’m expecting a lot out of you, Merchant!!” It was that moment that made me realize that these people that I was going to be working with really wanted me to succeed. Each intern was assigned a team and a mentor in their division to help them learn what to do, and how to be a successful recruiter. My first phone call I made was terrifying; I had no idea how to talk to people on the phone, but after the first day I got the hang of it. Everybody in the office was energetic all the time, and I could tell they truly loved working there. That enthusiasm was contagious, and it wasn’t long before I felt confident in what I was doing, and that I was a productive member of the team.

What’s it like working with professional staff and clients?

I’ve never worked in a professional business environment before, so this was completely new to me. I had no idea what to expect when it came to my coworkers.  I would never have dreamed that the CEO of the company, Mark Eldridge, would greet me by name every morning when I got to work, or that the entire office was abuzz all day long. It was impressive that people who have worked at the company for years would give me advice on how to improve at my job. Working with the professional consultants in our database was completely different than what I had expected. I thought that when I cold called people, they wouldn’t be receptive or open to talk to me.  However, I had several consultants contact me after our conversation, commenting on my positive attitude, and how easy it was talking to me. I also received feedback from them, that they were happy to speak to a recruiter who cared about their needs and finding them their next job.

Describe skills you’re learning/applying – What’s different about your internship experience vs. your classes?

I am learning how to interact with the consultants, so that I can gather all the necessary information from them.  I learned how to ask open-ended questions in such a way that gave the consultants opportunities to explain themselves when need be.  In the internship I was focused on business deliverables, where my efforts directly contributed to the company’s top line revenue. I learned how to develop personal connections with consultants, which allowed me to have deeper conversations to get specific answers to questions that are relevant to the recruiting process.  This is different from class where we are learning about theoretical concepts.  These concepts come alive when observed in a real business environment.  

Discuss one highlight of your internship experience.

ALKU does an internship competition where all of the interns are divided up into teams depending on what division they are working in.  There were four teams who were evaluated based on our average weekly commission.  Huge pictures of the mentors were put up on the wall, and each week they were moved depending on what team was winning.  At the end of the summer, the team with the highest average of commission wins the competition.  Finally during the last week, we found out my team won.  The prize was a week of pay - it was amazing to see that my team’s hard work paid off!

Talk about one unique thing you learned, or one thing people wouldn’t know about your internship?

The environment at ALKU is definitely unlike any other office you’ve ever heard of.  It is a very positive and fun environment - the office is filled with ALKU stress balls that people toss around during the day.  There are also scooters that everybody zooms around on.  I’ve been on the phone with consultants as my coworkers zip past me happy as can be, usually because they’re celebrating a deal that they just got.  The office is a community where everyone shares in each other’s success.  The environment was like a second home to me this summer, and I can’t wait for winter break to go back!