Zillow Group’s Shadow an Intern Day inspires youth to think creatively about their careers

A Zillow Group employee leads a student tour.

This summer, Zillow Group hosted an innovative new event for local high school students aimed at helping kids envision their future careers and learn skills to set themselves up for success. The “Shadow an Intern” event brought high schoolers from TAF Academy, YWCA, and the Seattle Housing Authority to Zillow Group’s downtown headquarters.

“Giving back to the community where we live and work is an important part of who we are at Zillow Group,” said Samantha Tripoli, Social Impact Manager, Zillow Group. “By hosting students from a variety of organizations across the area – including our Home Project partner Seattle Housing Authority – it is our goal to introduce them to careers in STEM that are within their reach, right here in their backyard.”

To start the day, the kids split into groups and paired up with current Zillow Group interns and employees who guided their groups up and down the tower of office space, answering questions and introducing staff from teams across the company. Meeting the different departments gave students the chance to see the breadth of their career options at a big company like Zillow Group—they could be a storyteller on the communications team, a hacker with the security team, an economist on the data analysis team, an event planner on the facilities team, and much more.

A panel of Zillow Group employees presents to the group of students.

The tour was followed by a short panel with a few Zillow Group employees who shared their career stories and advice on looking for jobs. One panelist encouraged students to get to know people in companies or industries that they are interested in, since having a connection can help get one name to the top of a stack of hundreds of applications. Another advised the youth to “spend a lot of time prepping for interviews, get to know the company,” speaking to her own experience in what she looked for as a hiring manager.

After lunch, the kids split into groups again for an afternoon spent working on a new product and designing a website to market their idea. Working with a Zillow Group staff member, the students came up with a concept for a new home product, created a prototype, and prepared a three-minute commercial. The students then got a crash course in coding by working one-on-one with a Zillow Group intern to build a webpage for their new product.

The high schoolers ended their day by reflecting on what they learned and thinking about what job they would want at Zillow Group. (After a day spent looking out at the tower’s Elliot Bay views, plus the never-ending snacks from Zillow Group’s many staff kitchens, the consensus seemed to be “I definitely want to work here one day,” as one student put it.)

Zillow Group’s Shadow an Intern event was a creative way to get young people excited about their future careers, which is especially important for students coming from low-income households who might be lacking connections, resources and career support from their family. The Office of Economic Development looks forward to working with Zillow Group and other employers in the future to connect youth with internships and other career experiences.

While not every business has the means to host interns through the City’s youth employment program, employers can always find creative ways to support Seattle’s future workforce. To get ideas on how you can connect with your next generation of employees, reach out to us at oed@seattle.gov.