Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Unternship: Do you Need One?

Credit: Fast Company

As an employer, what kind of qualities do you look for in a potential candidate? And, as a job applicant, what, other than your academic excellence, do you have to nail your dream job? Of course, if you’re applying for the job as a security guard then you’re not likely to be asked about your most adventurous stunt yet, but the truth is, with the change of time, employers are increasingly trying to dig deeper into applicants’ personalities to figure out their problem-solving skills, world knowledge etc.

Which is why Fred Cook, CEO of global communications firm Golin, has launched an ‘unternship’ programme to recruit entry-level applicants. A man with a one-of-a-kind career path that led him from being a chauffeur to a rock band manager, Cook believes the straightforward path tends to cause a person to miss out on interesting experiences that could enrich one’s life.

Following the launch of the unternship programme in October 2014, the top three finalists were brought to Golin’s Chicago office and given a challenge: go get an unlikely experience in the city with USD40 and a video crew. The winner was a 22-year-old Howard University graduate named Akinbola Richardson, who spent his time and money panhandling with a homeless man and driving a taxi around town, because he believes the homeless and taxi drivers are the two groups of people you need to talk to in order to understand a city. As a reward, Richardson was given the opportunity to choose what he wanted to do with his unternship, and he created an itinerary of skydiving in Georgia, living with an Amish community, and wrestling alligators in Texas, just to name a few.

You’ll be able to read about Richardson’s adventures on his blog soon, but that aside, how do you like the idea of an unternship, and what kind of itinerary would you want to fulfil? Now that reminds me of how I wished I could spend a day with the transvestite community… 

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