Swapnil Khetan, a third-year student at Sardar Patel Institute of Technology here, wanted a medium to connect with top companies to secure an internship and was finding it difficult. That is when he stumbled upon Letsintern.com. In the two years of his association with the portal, he has done internships with Philip Morris, Channel V and the Zee Group.
Several college students are opting to engage with online portals that help get them internships with companies. Portals such as Letsintern.com, Hellointern.com, Twenty19.com and letmeknow.in have come in to fill the gap between companies’ expectations and students’ needs.
“In India, according to various reports, 75-90 per cent of our graduates lack employability skills. These are best learnt on the job and our endeavour is to promote the internship culture in India by making it easier, accessible and covering a larger cross-section of job profiles,” says Rishabh, CEO and co-founder of Letsintern.com.
For the founders of HelloIntern.com, the idea was conceived out of the personal experiences of the founders when they were in pursuit of internship opportunities as students. They found getting a good opportunity was, in most cases, pivotal on the single question of, “Do you have a contact in the company you are going to apply?” The portal, founded six years earlier, now has a little more than 35,000 students registered on its website.
Snehal N, co-founder of HelloIntern, says the students are mainly from engineering and MBA institutes. Daily, he said, the portal got five companies looking actively for interns. Students can upload their resume and apply for positions directly through the portal, without paying anything. Companies can glance at these profiles or search through the database, also for free. Also offered is a premium service called InternExpress, where they charge companies for complete intern recruitment solutions. About 1,600 companies, of which 75 per cent are start-ups, have recruited interns via HelloIntern.
Karthikeyan Vijayakumar , founder and CEO at Twenty19.com, would help students on an informal basis to get internships, in his initial days. He later launched a portal to streamline this process.It helps companies screen the appropriate candidate for their requirements. “Companies post their requirements on the portal and also have a quiz challenge tool at their disposal. Through this tool, the companies post the requirements, with some questions for prospective candidates. It becomes easier to select candidates on the basis of the answers they’ve provided to the questions. Here, too, it is free for students. Companies pay an annual fee for posting.
There are others, like letmeknow.in, which offer more services than internship. The portal offers internship opportunities, information about college events and scholarships, among others. It charges a fee for premium services for companies, but is free for students. Ankur Kumar, CEO, said the portal had 75 college ambassadors and had conducted orientation sessions across colleges in India. It has a 25,000-user base and gets the highest traffic from tier-2/3 college students, with no internship opportunities at college.
Students and companies have their own reasons for using the portals as a medium. Arnav Choudhury, a third-year student at Bharatiya Vidyapeeth University College of Engineering, Pune, said his reason for choosing Twenty19.com was the huge scope in terms of the number of companies advertising on it. He is pursuing an internship with Aspirare Ventures, a start-up dealing with corporate training assessment and offering marketing/sales solutions. Another student, Sanyam Agarwal, in his third year at Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management, Gwalior, wanted an internship in the mobile application segment and got it through Twenty19.com. He chose the portal because it offered more options than offline modes.
Young organisations like Social Heart, a portal hosting creations from non-government organisations and artists, found it convenient to source talent from a Twenty19.com rather than physically visiting a college. Similarly, Vinay C, CEO of WebSide, a platform involved in digital and social media marketing, found it easier and faster to choose candidates through the screening procedure at Twenty19.com. Soaib Grewal, co-founder of Waterwalla, has almost outsourced all its internship requirements to this portal. “We are a small organisation. It doesn’t make sense for us to go to colleges for internship requirements,” said Grewal. Waterwalla is a not-for-profit organisation, working for clean water in urban slums.
On an overall basis, the portals are seeing year-on-year growth of 80 to 100 per cent in the number of users.”When we started, people said the entire industry is very small and we would barely survive. Not only did we survive and scale up profitably to a 20-people team across three offices, many other smaller players have emerged in the last two years and everyone’s been surviving and collectively growing the market,” explained Rishabh.
While some are looking to add more students and companies to their list, while others like HelloIntern.com are looking to consolidate the business. “We feel the sector itself is not that attractive to build a large and scalable business like, say, Naukri or Monster, but it can be an excellent add-on to a recruitment portal and other student-focused services, as it will help them lower user-acquisition costs and also get a competitive edge. HelloIntern is actively looking for this consolidation and to become a part of an organisation which shares the same vision as ours,” said Snehal.