Feb 15, 2021

The FOCUS Internship Program

By Focus Engineering In News No comments

Our methodical approach to finding and hiring the finest talent in Utah

At FOCUS, we do not view interns as “temporary” relationships, we invest considerable care and thought into making offers to the finest applicants. Because we recognize we can only simultaneously train a limited number of interns, we have created a methodical, competitive Internship Program. The program is a valuable and important recruiting tool we use to discover first-rate talent in our industry.

We primarily work with local junior- and senior-year university students enrolled in accredited civil engineering degree programs. If the working relationship is mutually beneficial for both FOCUS and the intern, we offer them a full-time Staff Engineer position upon graduation.

Employment Benefits and Perks
In addition to paying our interns, we offer part-time work flexibility so they can learn and train during the school year. Most interns also work full-time in the summer, giving them valuable opportunities for growth and a real-world look into a possible full-time job at FOCUS. As Joel Whitmer, EIT recalls, “I cannot think of a better internship scenario than the one I experienced at FOCUS. They were extremely flexible with my school schedule, but more importantly, I was never once treated like an intern. They provided tools and opportunities to progress as an engineer, person, and leader.” Our interns are valued employees and encouraged to take advantage of all the same opportunities offered to full-time employees, such as part-time holiday paid time off, summer family BBQs, couples’ date nights, and even fun training opportunities with their department or the entire company, such as FOCUS University.

Performance Evaluations
Another value-added FOCUS experience that interns benefit from is participation in the same level of performance evaluations as our full-time staff. Our review and evaluation process is rigorous so interns fully understand our expectations, have the opportunity to meet goals that will help them be successful, and learn the practical applications of design engineering, which often looks different than their educational studies. Once they have completed their six-month new employee review period, they are formally reviewed quarterly to receive frequent feedback on how their engineering skills are progressing. Likewise, they are empowered to provide critical feedback to their managers and departments on how they can be better managers or mentors. Additionally, all of our full-time staff, including converted interns, participate in FOCUS School of Beginnings, which is an extensive onboarding and orientation program that trains new employees on FOCUS history, internal company culture, and core ideology. This is only the beginning of the development that is invested in each full-time FOCUS employee.

Success Stories
FOCUS currently has seven part-time interns on staff and over the years has employed 37 interns. Ten of those 37 have successfully converted to full-time Staff Engineers, with several holding various leadership positions that we consider true success stories. One such example is Adam Eastman, PE, who is now serving as the Structural Department Manager and is an Equity Partner. Adam reflected, “I never felt like an intern at FOCUS. I felt like I was starting my career with a great company, and I was always treated as such by my managers and coworkers.”

Another example is Site Civil Design Department Assistant Department Manager Ben Duzett. “FOCUS does not put a cap on your potential based on any given title. You can progress at FOCUS as far as any one employee desires. As a FOCUS intern, the options are endless and the opportunities are greater here than any other company. Based on my experience, if you are capable of managing projects as an intern, they will allow you the opportunity to do so. FOCUS interns are able to build relationships with clients that propel them into their careers, and it is not just gaining experience—it is actually gaining a career,” said Ben.

Hiring Process
For college students interested in internships with FOCUS, we suggest connecting with us at career fairs and checking out job postings on our website, Indeed, and the collegiate job board Handshake. After applying for a position on our website, we conduct a series of video interviews with strategic candidates to determine if the arrangement is a shared match of core ideologies. Our hiring process allows applicants to make a stand-out impression with hiring decision-makers. Once we have made our selection for the next tier of interviewing, we will invite an applicant into the office for an in-person interview to meet their identified manager, mentor, and any others on their team. Lastly, as with all full-time applicants, part-time intern applicants also have the opportunity to experience our full interview process, including their final interview with our Hiring Committee Panel. This panel of senior company leaders serves an important role to FOCUS, explaining our culture and philosophies and giving each applicant an opportunity ask questions. The panel then helps evaluate each applicant and makes final recommendations to hiring managers.

“Through this proven internship model, we have been able to better meet our company mission: to keep our clients happy. FOCUS now employs project managers, junior project managers, and staff engineers who started with us as interns. We also try to keep an open mind to offering other internship opportunities within other production departments, or also within our administrative support departments,” says Stacy Malone, SHRM-SCP, Admin/Human Resources Department Manager.