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Micro-internships for the on-demand, sharing economy we live in

Humans began sharing information 40,000 years ago (cave paintings). Since that time, and especially in the last 20 years, the speed and scale with which goods and services are traded has been amplified. Arbitrage (private goods and services) can be sold immediately via online marketplaces thereby maximizing utilization- cars, books, stocks, apartments, 3D printers, handymen, etc. We're extending that trend to high skill university research talent. Jason Fried (Ruby on Rails inventor) says in his book Rework (paraphrasing): "interviews are only worth so much. Hire someone for a miniproject and you'll see how they make decisions." It also gives the candidate that critical work experience to launch their careers.

Photo of Aditya Sudhakar
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Jason Fried (Ruby on Rails inventor, author of Rework) talks of switching from a non productive interview process to a miniproject process here. We are making that happen on a global scale here. Companies get quality work, brand recognition, and future business leaders. Researchers get critical work experience and get paid. 


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Photo of David

Aditya, the development of adding mini-projects — almost as a kind of tryout — to the application/hiring process is interesting; how does the switch create more jobs for youth?

Photo of Aditya Sudhakar

Hi David, thank you for writing in. Projects are conducted year round during any regular work week. Students make industry inroads, solve real world problems, build their resumes and get paid. In return they leverage the resources available to them (libraries, databases, labs, professors, peers, workshops) to deliver a high quality work product.

Photo of David

OK, thanks for clarifying!

Photo of Aditya Sudhakar

Sure np. The average cost per hire in the US (per the dep of labor) in 2013 was USD 5,000. That's a pretty high number and forces companies to be cautious with their hiring. Once they get to know a student over a shorter engagement, they're more willing to take that step. The student too is more willing to join a smaller brand since they have got their feet wet.

Photo of David

Thank you Aditya — I hadn't thought of it like that.

Photo of Hima Batavia

I think this is a great idea, Aditya -- and I think its already happening informally. More and more, I'm hearing of people engaging in "free work" or "test projects" with startups, as a way of gaining credibility and trust to secure a job. This may have its own set of ethical issues, but perhaps, formalizing it can circumvent some of that.

Photo of Sabine Kobayter

I agree, this already happens in many companies, often the 2nd or 3rd round is a mini project of some sort, to test how the candidate thinks and possibly even get out of the box solutions to problems they are already need to solve. If your process guarantees that applicants aren't 'exploited' for knowledge and work, then excellent, but as it is I have issues with the model current companies use. Getting paid is a good away around it, though it turns more into freelance work that companies may be hesitant to pay for, especially if candidates are inexperienced. Perhaps if someone else can foot the bill?

Photo of Aditya Sudhakar

Sabine, thanks for writing in. I hadn't considered the 'someone else pays for it' route, interesting, will need to give it some thought!

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