Growing an Internship ‘Centre of Excellence’


Outside The Box Recruitment is the ideal place for keen Interns who want to gain real experience in the luxury and premium brand recruitment sector. No OTB Intern can expect to spend their placement making the tea.  Take the experience of our most recent Intern, Mathilde Richard, as an example.

Mathilde Richard is a second-year business student, enrolled on a 4-year Bachelor degree (equivalent to a Master 1) in Bordeaux, France. Having completed her first internship in France, Mathilde was required to secure for her second internship, a position outside her home country, to gain International experience. 

Mathilde notes, “My interest has always been around both HR/Recruitment and Finance. I don’t yet have enough knowledge to secure a good placement in Finance, so I focussed my search on HR/Recruitment. I was particularly interested in gaining experience in the luxury and premium brand space.” Mathilde came across Outside The Box Recruitment during an extensive search on LinkedIn. She read about Charmain and her approach to the business and looked up the references and profiles of the other Interns who had worked at OTB. Says Mathilde, “I wanted to see how engaged and happy the Interns were with their experience – I was keen to avoid a placement where I spent three months making the tea!” Charmain in turn was impressed by Mathilde’s direct and well-researched approach. 

Anatomy of an Outside The Box RecruitmentInternship

Mathilde came onboard at Outside the Box Recruitment in January 2019. Though she had no previous retail recruitment experience, she was encouraged to get involved in the nuts-and-bolts of the business right from the start. In her first week she was trained on how to use the database correctly within GDPR constraints, and how to search effectively on LinkedIn. Within three or four weeks she had begun conducting screening calls and interview set-up calls. Interview experience followed. Mathilde has shadowed Charmain, to learn how interviews are conducted and has taken part when appropriate in the questioning. 

Face-to-face headhunting was another aspect in which Mathilde became actively involved, learning how to approach people in their place of work and gently open conversations. She notes, “I learned not to be afraid to approach people, and how to make that first contact in the right way.”  Within two months Mathilde was conducting interviews for certain positions by herself.  

Mathilde is particularly proud of her role in staffing a new store for major global streetwear brand, Champion, saying, “I’ve been involved in recruitment of the whole team, including store manager, assistant manager, supervisor and the sales team. We headhunted in the area where the store was setting up and I helped Charmain to find candidates for the manager, assistant manager and supervisor positions. Charmain even put me in charge of conducting the sales team interviews.” After just two weeks, and with the project still underway as Mathilde’s internship comes to an end, four of her candidates have already been offered positions with the new store. 

Mathilde has enjoyed a very positive internship with Outside The Box Recruitmentand is moving on to continue her degree with a semester focusing on Financial Management at Arcada University of Applied Sciences in Helsinki, Finland. Reflecting on the experience and learnings, she notes, “I’ve gained insight into the whole recruitment process, end-to-end. I’ve really enjoyed working in a small team, because that’s enabled me to get involved in everything. And thanks to Charmain’s background and knowledge, and her generous approach to developing me, I’ve learned an enormous amount.  My next internship will be in Finance. Then I will make the decision on whether, after graduation, to do my Masters 2 in Finance or HR.” 

Mathilde is now more confident, not only with the English language in general, but in her ability to interact in English with people at all levels of their career and across different cultures.  In addition to growing her recruitment experience, she’s developed her communication and time management skills and begun to build her professional network. Mathilde notes, “Charmain constantly stretched me and as a result I’ve learned to be more confident and to believe in myself more.”

From Raindrops, a Waterfall…

Charmain is effusive in her praise of Mathilde, who, in addition to her expanding research and recruitment role, helped keep Charmain organised, including getting to grips with the new digital accounting system. She notes, “Mathilde may be only 18, but her attitude to work is extremely mature. Working with two more experienced women, she made it her business to learn as much as she could, whilst being of huge value to us both. She’s a self-starter, organised, and with a highly professional attitude. And she fitted in, right from Day One.”

Charmain is committed to developing all the Interns who come to work at Outside The Box Recruitmentand her approach has delivered successful outcomes, time and again. One Intern has since secured a role at Hermes and another at Gucci; a third has gone on to a luxury hotel brand.  Says Charmain, “I see Outside The Box Recruitment as a Centre of Excellence for Interns. I believe in giving-back and I have the skills to train and develop Interns, to build their confidence as well as their professional skills and experience. Inturn (no pun intended) each successful Intern becomes an enthusiastic advocate for Outside The Box Recruitmentand our business ethos.”

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A few words about the article author

Dwayne Ferguson is the Digital Director at Outside The Box Recruitment. He is responsible for the website and all digital marketing campaigns.

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