Last summer I completed a 12-month industrial placement at The Body Shop International’s Global Head Office in Croydon, London. I was the International Digital Recruitment intern working as part of the International Human Resources team. It had an amazing year and learnt SO much. After continually getting questions about my internship (on social media and in real life), I thought I’d talk about my time at TBS!
My yearlong placement started on Monday 26th June 2017 and run until 22nd June 2018. I was based in the Croydon Head Office but often spent several days a month working in the second head office in the delightful coastal town of Littlehampton in West Sussex.
ABOUT THE BUSINESS:
The Body Shop was created by activist and environmentalist Anita Roddick in 1976, in Brighton. It is a beauty and cosmetics company which deals in many different categories: hair care, make-up, bath and body, skincare and fragrance. The business was owned by L’Oreal until a few months after I started there when it was purchased by Brazilian cosmetics company, Natura. Natura do not really distribute their products outside of Latin America so it is quite an interesting move buying The Body Shop, which is such an international company.
ABOUT MY ROLE:
As the International Digital Recruitment intern, I used digital tools to promote The Body Shop as a desirable employer. On Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, I posted articles, pictures and videos about The Body Shop, the brand and the employees. I also used paid-media tools like Facebook ads to promote and advertise jobs in the business, globally. Scheduling tools, like Hootsuite and Facebook insights, are really useful for planning posts on multiple social media pages.
As I worked in the international head office, I often spoke to colleagues in other offices all over the world. The social media pages I ran were all global-facing so I spoke to customers from different countries. I often got support from different markets’ HR teams (and Google Translate, when need be!) to help with any language barriers.
By the time I was half way through my placement year I was feeling a mixture of emotions. Anticipation for the second half of the year. Excitement at the thought of going back to university to finish my degree. And amazement at how much strong I am than I thought and how far I had come in the last six months.
When I started as the International Digital Recruitment intern, I had no idea what to expect. I barely knew what recruitment or HR was and I had no idea what I would be doing.
While my role did not pertain recruiting people myself, I learnt so much about talent acquisition and how businesses hire and manage people. This knowledge has been valuable because it has given me an insight into what recruiters and essentially companies are looking for in their employees. I learnt how to present my skills in a way that makes me a desirable person for them to hire.
My role consisted of managing digital channels to present The Body Shop as an employer of excellence through photos, videos and content about life as a The Body Shop employee. I posted daily on the careers/jobs Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Glassdoor pages to a combined following of over 100,000 people worldwide. I also worked closely with the global communication teams to monitor and gather any press and articles relating to both The Body Shop and the wider beauty and retail industries to share on social media
Early in my internship, The Body Shop was acquired by Brazilian beauty company, Natura from L’Oreal who had owned it for the past 11 years. It was very interesting for me to be right in the middle of a business acquisition and to see what that meant for the company. The Body Shop is one of the leaders in ethical and vegetarian beauty and cosmetics. The companies and its products were very positively perceived by the public until L’Oreal’s purchase in 2006.
When a ‘more ethical’ parent company took over owning The Body Shop, I saw firsthand the gradual positive change in the public perception of The Body Shop – especially online. I had a Google Alert set up to let me know when anything relating to The Body Shop was posted in the news and online. It has been interesting to see more articles about the charity work and campaigns The Body Shop are part of being discussed more and more now.
Being an intern at The Body Shop International was a great experience. I learnt new things everyday about working in an international company and was armed with skills I will continue to use throughout my career.
Eight months into my placement I was extremely comfortable with my role, team and responsibilities. At this point, the 41 The Body Shop interns across the two Global Head offices (East Croydon and Littlehampton) had the opportunity to ‘swap’ roles with each other. The Intern Swap allowed us to shadow each other for the day, learning and working with a different department than usual.
Being busy with our individual day-to-day tasks meant we often did not get the chance to notice and appreciate the hard work the other interns did. The Intern Swap was a fun way to explore more about The Body Shop and all the different functions that make the company run like clockwork.
I highly recommend industrial placement years because you get really immersed in work-life culture and develop the interpersonal skills we will need in the ‘real world’. I came back to university so determine to work hard, stay disciplined and do my very best in final year.
Oh, I do miss the The Body Shop freebies and discounts! I am a TBS shopper probably for life – The Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Facial Wash and The Body Shop Seaweed Pore-cleansing Exfoliator are two facial products I swear by!