Spotlight for Career Services Professionals
Avery Lewis says that internships have long been a part of Halliburton, and that the company’s university engagement has been essential in creating a pipeline of new university graduates.
However, in recent years, Lewis has spearheaded Halliburton’s effort to professionalize its internship program by creating new engagement initiatives and increasing internal stakeholder interest.
“This has been crucial in the growth and sustainability of our program,” explains Lewis, Halliburton’s intern/co-op and extern program coordinator in North America. “It has also been an awesome experience.”
In recent years, Halliburton has hosted between 200 and 300 interns each summer. Its interns work throughout North America, in locations such as Carrollton, Texas; Fort Lupton, Colorado; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Odessa, Texas; Lafayette, Louisiana; and Casper, Wyoming.
“Our interns have the potential to work in numerous locations, but the majority of them work in our Houston headquarters,” Lewis notes.
Halliburton’s interns work across all of its product service lines as field engineer interns and global research and development technology interns. Interns are also placed in landmark software and services, finance and accounting, information technology, human resources, and supply chain.
Creating a positive experience is critical as the internship is often the first opportunity for Halliburton to make a lasting impression on these potential full-time hires.
“This is a great time for Halliburton to sell itself to the best of the best,” Lewis says. “Our interns are with us from 10 to 14 weeks, and during that time, we can see how they perform and if they will be an asset to the company. Our managers can learn the skill set, attitude, and work ethic of a potential employee before committing to a full-time hire.”
Through its internship program, Halliburton has the opportunity to build a talent pipeline, develop future employees, build company loyalty, and instill corporate values. A successful internship also has the potential to create loyal employees and customers, and reduce costs associated with turnover.
“Because Halliburton’s goal is to convert interns to full-time employees so they can hit the ground running as they begin their career, the internship program reduces the learning curve, thus reducing the cultural orientation period for a new hire,” Lewis adds.
On the other hand, students in the internship program have an opportunity to prove themselves and their abilities, and decide if they want to do this type of work and be a part of Halliburton’s company culture. They also build enduring networks—both personal and professional—and gain knowledge applicable to their studies when they return to campus.
Halliburton’s intern-to-intern conversion rate is 61 percent, while, at 60 percent, its intern-to-full time conversion rate is almost identical.
“Our strong intern conversions rates are reflective of the relationship we build with the interns and the meaningful projects they are working on,” Lewis explains.
“They get a realistic preview of what a potential full-time role would be like at Halliburton. The project scopes are based on business-critical processes and needs. Interns are contributing members of our team and their work results in company innovations, patents, and published papers. The interns add value to our business and we pride ourselves on letting them know how valuable they are.”
There are also several unique attributes of Halliburton’s internship program. It offers paid, furnished housing, paid relocation, and mileage reimbursement, in addition to hosting exciting events and networking opportunities. Lewis says, however, that its two unique differentiators are its HALCamp event and its HALPals program:
- HALCamp—During this three-day event, Halliburton hosts all of its interns throughout North America at its Houston headquarters. The company provides an intern-specific orientation, social activities, and breakout sessions. The interns get to meet and speak with Halliburton’s top executives and network with key employees and other interns. Lewis notes that they also have lots of fun. Halliburton pays interns for eight-hour workdays during HALCamp, and also pays for their travel (flight or mileage reimbursement if they drive), hotel, and a per diem for food.
- HALPals—These mentors are assigned to the interns to help them assimilate into Halliburton. These high-potential employees are chosen by management. They are essential in the consistent engagement of the interns, and provide valuable guidance and partnerships throughout the internship. Interns’ relationships with their HALPals tends to continue well past the internship and into the start of their full-time career.
Throughout the process of professionalizing the program, Lewis says she and her colleagues have learned several key lessons.
“One has been learning to communicate with this generation of interns in ways that resonate with them,” Lewis says.
“They communicate, receive, and retain information in different forms and at different speeds than in the past, and I continue to focus on keeping pace with that. Based on that fact, we created an Intern Toolkit so that they can have the answer to nearly every internship question or concern at their fingertips.”
Another area Lewis and her team has addressed is ensuring ongoing communication with managers and internal business partners as they recruit and onboard, as well as throughout the internship.
“The creation of our Intern Playbook for our internal stakeholders supports this communication and provides a one-stop document for all business partners who engage interns,” she notes.
“The Intern Toolkit and the Intern Playbook are available electronically in interns’ and stakeholders’ e-mail, and they are printable. We are in the process of creating an app and these resources will be available through it in the future.”
To measure the effectiveness of its internship program, Halliburton conducts multiple surveys each internship season.
“We not only survey the interns, but we survey the managers and HALPals as well,” Lewis explains. “More than 70 percent of our interns respond to our surveys and 98.4 percent say they would recommend our internship programs to others because of their experience with us.”
For other internship programs, Lewis suggests not being afraid to change things up. She explains that as a program flourishes, there may be components that need to either be created, changed, or cancelled to maximize production and efficiency.
“That is where surveys and efficient communication can help,” Lewis says. “Listen to all your stakeholders, especially your interns. Take the feedback—good or bad—and make the change. Remember, providing the best candidate experience is essential in sustaining the integrity of your program.”