Summer at TikTok: Our First Class of Summer Interns

Last updated: 27 Jul 2023, 11:18

At TikTok, our interns are creative powerhouses, strategic thought partners, and cherished teammates. Given our flat structure and collaborative culture, interns have the space to make a real impact on our growth by leading innovative initiatives and managing projects that have global impact.

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At TikTok, our interns are creative powerhouses, strategic thought partners, and cherished teammates. Given our flat structure and collaborative culture, interns have the space to make a real impact on our growth by leading innovative initiatives and managing projects that have global impact.

With this in mind, we're excited to share that TikTok in North America recently welcomed its first-ever cohort of over 150 summer interns. Coming from a variety of backgrounds (ranging from professional baseball to content creation on TikTok!), our interns have inspired us each day with their talent, creativity, and willingness to learn. Here are a few of their stories.

Meet Our Interns

Phoenicia Fares is a User Experience Research Intern based in Los Angeles. Since 2014, she has been a PhD candidate in Sociology at the University of California, Riverside. As a member of the Strategy Team, she conducts interviews and surveys with TikTok creators to collect sentiment about product features and the overall TikTok experience.

Chris Cruz is a Technical Recruiting Intern on the System Technology and Engineering (STE) and Networking teams in New York. Before TikTok, he spent years as a professional baseball player and scout. He now sources engineering candidates to fill open roles on his teams.

Joy Fan is a Patent Management Intern for our Data Systems Team based in San Diego. An undergraduate student at Columbia University, she uses her knowledge of computer science to deal with issues at the intersection of technology and patent law.

How has your internship at TikTok been so far? Any highlights?

Phoenicia: "My experience at TikTok has been AMAZING! I love working in an environment that supports and encourages me to reach my career goals. I receive incredible mentorship and guidance from my teammates, who meet with me regularly to discuss my career goals and help me build my professional network. I'm also grateful to the University Recruiting Team for the support system they provide for new hires and interns -- there's a ton of attention paid to our needs in the form of career guidance, resume workshops, and personal branding sessions."

Joy: "Every day at TikTok is exciting and feels like day one because I'm constantly growing and learning things that will propel me forward in my career. My favorite part of my internship has been the people I've had the honor of working with. Like Phoenicia, I've been supported by a dedicated and passionate group of mentors. With a team so diverse and welcoming, I truly feel there's no better place to learn!"

What's something valuable you've learned during your internship?

Chris: "Something important I've learned is the importance of connecting with the business and understanding its needs. Without this, the process of filling roles can be much more difficult and experience delays. When you’re aligned, finding the best candidates becomes a much smoother and more efficient process."

Phoenicia: "It's hard to pick one thing because I feel like I've learned so much! In just the past few months, I've improved my communication skills, learned how to network with cross-functional teams, and used my research skills to make an impact in a new environment. The self-confidence I've gained from this experience is something I'll carry with me for the rest of my career."

What makes interning at TikTok unique?

Joy: "What has surprised me is that even though TikTok is experiencing so much success, my team still has the 'start-up mentality.' Everyone is incredibly humble, willing to share their knowledge, and excited to try something new. I find this rejection of complacency inspiring.

For example, the coolest project I've worked on involved building a patent database for internal screening purposes. My team not only trusted me with major responsibilities, but also encouraged me to think outside the box and combine my programming skills with the existing framework for patent evaluation. In the end, I was able to make a quantifiable and sustainable improvement to my team’s workflow!"

Chris: "I didn't expect that the organization would be as flat as it is. Although I heard about the culture before joining, I've still been blown away by how everyone at TikTok is willing to have a conversation, share information, or help with a task.

Interning at TikTok is also unique because you get the opportunity to join numerous projects and make an immediate impact. One of the most memorable projects for me was organizing the 'Sourcer Camp,' a six-week program where interns and recruiting coordinators attended classes to improve their sourcing skills. As both an organizer and an attendee, I had the unique experience of planning and directly benefiting from the program."

What advice do you have for candidates looking to intern at TikTok?

Chris: "If you're looking for an amazing experience where you’ll get hands-on with projects and grow a LOT in a short period of time, don't wait to apply!"

Phoenicia: "Challenge yourself. Don't be afraid to lean into your strengths and address your weaknesses. The environment at TikTok encourages you to explore new ways to develop and apply your skillset, so knowing the career goals you want to achieve (and approaching your work with passion!) will help you make the most of the experience."

Joy: "Apply! Working at TikTok is a unique opportunity to learn and build a strong network of passionate and supportive mentors at the forefront of their respective fields. The dynamic and fast-paced environment will push you to grow at a speed you wouldn’t think is possible, and the inclusive culture is truly one of a kind."

The stories of Phoenicia, Chris, and Joy highlight how TikTok is a place where you can make things happen. As an intern, you will be heard, valued, and expected to make an impact. If you'd like to learn more, check out our Students & Grads page and follow us on LinkedIn to stay up to date about life at TikTok!


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This describes content that has been written and edited in close collaboration with the organisation, which has funded the feature; it is advertising. The content has been written by gradireland editors but the organisation has provided content, contributors and instruction and has approved the content.

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