Dec 6, 2019 - Trevor Knudsen    

My experience as a recruiting intern at GitLab

Why interning for an asynchronous and all-remote company is the best way to go.

Applications for GitLab's engineering internship program are open! Apply now.

While a remote internship may seem like a foreign idea with many limitations to some, in reality, the options can be far less limiting than office work. Working remotely comes with many perks, including work-life balance, ability to travel, and the flexibility to work wherever you please, but the benefits go beyond that. Taking an internship away from the office offers learning experiences. You have the opportunity to work with people outside your city – and instead collaborate with people from all around the world. Flexibility, learning opportunities, mentors, and work experience are all so accessible with a remote internship.

Why I joined GitLab

As a communications major at California State University, Fullerton, I was required to find an internship. While I was looking for an internship, the all-remote setup of GitLab immediatly caught my attention, and there was an opportunity as recruiting intern that I could not pass up. I applied and after going through the interview process I was offered the position. 🎉

Globally distributed team

I started with GitLab in October 2017, which was my senior year of college. My first day with GitLab was such a rush. I met with my mentor, manager, and the team, and went through onboarding. I was welcomed as if I was a full-time employee by my team, and I quickly realized my entire team was my mentor. I had coworkers in the United Kingdom, South Africa, and all across the United States. While every team member was helpful, one of my greatest mentors was (and continues to be) Nadia Vatalidis. She worked as a recruiter also and checked in with me on a regular basis to make sure I felt comfortable using the GitLab tool and see what tasks I was working on. We also collaborated on different projects the recruting team was working on.

Our values

GitLab is guided by its values, and each day I saw these values used in every aspect of our work. The diversity of the recruiting team was a strength, bringing creative solutions to the table each day. The entire company collaborated on projects and shared ideas, while always respecting each other's thoughts and opinions. One of the great things about working with GitLab was that if an idea was presented, it could be implemented after a bit of discussion even if not yet refined. This ensured that we operated with efficency and transparency values. Our team would push forward initiatives and ideas and iterate on them as they were implemented.

All-remote and asyncronous workflows

The wonderful thing about GitLab is I was able to work when I wanted. When I had midterms coming up, I was able to take a few days off to study. Vacation was never a hindrance, I simply took the days off. GitLab has a no ask, must tell PTO policy, meaning as long as I shared my plans with manager and team, I could take the time off. Working remotely also allowed me to work from anywhere. When I took a trip to Zion National Park in Utah with friends, I was able to adjust my working hours so I could explore by day and work in the evenings. On a snowy day in Zion, I sat on the back patio next to a warm fire, watching the beauty of the snowfall. It was this experience that helped me recognize the true potential of all-remote. The best part about the flexibility is even when I adjusted my work hours, I was never truly alone. Team members in Europe, the Middle East, and even in Africa were online when the team in the Americas has already logged out. Someone was always online and available for support.

Not your average internship

My experience as a GitLab intern was not typical, because it was a true work experience. I got the pleasure of working alongside the team on major projects, such as looking into a new application tracking system. I got to be involved in screening calls, scheduling interviews for candidates, and helped implement a better solution on how to maintain company assets. My internship helped me learn and grow the skills necessary to be part of the recruiting team, and ultimately landed me a full-time position at GitLab just six months into my internship.

I learned so much as a GitLab team member, and met so many people who continue to be a mentor to me today. An all-remote internship was also ideal for me as a student, because I was able to have a solid work-life balance – something I continue to enjoy today.

If you're a student or career-changer searching for an internship, be sure to not undercut remote work opportunities. Check out GitLab's current internship opportunites. You can really learn so much as part of a fully distributed team.

Read more about making remote internships successful.

Cover image by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

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