What We Look For In A Company

Justine: Happy first day of freedom, dear readers, but the work never ends for Betina and I so we decided to start the week with Part 10 of the Internship FAQ’s series!

Today’s post deals with WHAT WE LOOK FOR IN A COMPANY. How do you know that this is the company you want to dedicate a sizable amount of your time too? What are the things Betina and I look for when we’re interviewing with a company? How do you know whether to avoid a company? We’ve done everything by trial and error, so we’re pretty knowledgeable on the pitfalls millennials should avoid for a happy work life. I think.

Betina and I tackled that big question and more in today’s post! If you still want to find out more about the rest of the process, like say, how to do a phone interview, then check out our 9 previous parts here on The Border Collective!

If you also want a feel for what it’s like to work at a digital agency, or BPI’s summer program, or as a regular intern at Globe, we got you covered too! Read our other series, Intern-view, where we ask former interns at other companies to write about their experiences on the whole internship process!

Also, there’s only 19 days left to apply for one of the best internship programs being offered here in the Philippines, aka INKOMPASS! If you haven’t yet, visit inkompass.global and sign up now! If you want to know more about it, I wrote about it previously and had my co-intern, Greg, write about it here! Reminder, even if you don’t fit into the INKOMPASS criteria, you can still apply through there for both regular internship this coming summer and for employment. Just attach your resume in the signup sheet!

At the bottom of the article is also a promo for our loyal readers, so read on to find out how you could win a free resume consultation with either Betina or me!

Thanks for reading and hope we answered something useful for you! Here is What We Look For In A Company!


What would you recommend in looking for the “right” company to intern for?

 

B: Fit is everything. Fit with culture. Fit with boss. Fit with expectations.

I think you should sit down and really think about what you are comfortable with and have an honest self-assessment about what is important to you. Then don’t apply for anywhere (or take a job anywhere) that conflicts with any of your core values because that’s just setting yourself up for frustration down the line.

J:  I’m a little different in the sense that I vote you apply everywhere now as an intern, and figure out what you don’t want or can’t stand along the way. Sort of like finding a significant other for the rest of your life. You need to know what are your non-negotiables and your compromises early on. Don’t waste your time in the long run with someone you’re not growing with.

The only way, for me, to figure all this out though is through introspection and experience, which comes with being adventurous enough to try anything once. This is how I realized how much I hate irresponsible startups and also, very small startups, primarily because of how work is assigned there. But again, that’s a post for another day.

Instead, we wrote down here the “right” and “wrong” signs we’re looking for when interviewing at companies. Reminder that these are our personal views and opinions, not what should be the norm for all of you, dear readers!

I want to work for a multinational company with a great reputation.

B: I’m hoping to work abroad eventually, so it’s really important to me (and my career plan) that future employers and possibly MBA schools have some sort of context where I worked. I also grew up in very international environments, so that’s my true comfort zone. 

J: I toy with either the idea of starting my own business or working for a MNC, but the MNC always wins out because of the international possibilities. See, I want to renounce Philippine citizenship as fast as possible because of the income tax, but I do not want to abandon my country as well. My parents live here after all. Being at a MNC gives me the best of both worlds. I get to travel, I get to work somewhere cool, my parents get to brag about me, and I can take them out to eat without it breaking bank.

I want to be surrounded by high performers.

B: You know when you work on a project and your group mates suck and contribute nothing?? I’m one of those people who micromanages because I don’t always trust my group mates to get it right. Imagine doing that for the rest of your career! No thanks. I need to be able to trust that the people I work with can handle their end of the projects while I handle my share of the workload.  

J: For me, this lies in the fact that I can trust my coworkers to be both my friend and my competition. Even right now, I choose to constantly surround myself with high performance people because I believe we are the sum of the 5 people we spend the most time with. This is why Betina and I are such excellent friends, and why my SO is ranked as the number one collegiate level programmer in the Philippines. I need to be pushed to be better than who I am today constantly and consistently.

B: As early as high school or college, this is probably the #1 tip I would give for improving your future career. Excellent people are the people who are clued in on the programs to apply for, they’re the ones who are studying between classes and reading interesting books and just generally doing cool things with their time. It’s hard not to be a high performer when everyone around you is so good.

J: Also, excellent people will understand why you are working so hard for this. They are a fantastic support system. They know you don’t want advice, you want a sympathetic ear. Something most people don’t realize.

 

I want to work in a company that is results-oriented.

B: Some companies rate performance so subjectively that it turns into a popularity contest. Numbers don’t lie.

J: I get all my work done between 6-9am. I study best during those hours, I work on my part in projects then, and I know I absorb and process information into knowledge faster. Nothing is cluttering up my mind at 6-9am. There are no deadlines, no people, nothing that can bother me from the sacred act of reading with apple juice in my hand. (I’m usually on a train headed to work or school at this time as well.)

So after 9am, my productivity level continuously falls until 5pm. (That’s the time I usually go home, and so I start reading again since the train lines are so long.) Between 9-5, it looks like I’m doing nothing, ergo, I need my company to trust that I’m a productive member of their society, on my own terms. I need them to rate me based on the results I give, and not the politicization of the work place.

This is another reason why I hate org culture. It’s a question of who has spent the most time in the org room, and on the most number of projects. Not, who has made a deep impact on how the org does things.  

 

I want to be able to talk to my bosses and feel heard.

B: I shouldn’t be scared of approaching the people I work for and raising valid points. The companies that have a super strict hierarchy are usually the ones where your bosses ignore you unless they need you to do something – especially if you’re young. I hate that. I’m not an idiot, because if I was, you wouldn’t have hired me. So trust me to give accurate information and valid suggestions and not waste your time.  

J: It’s too easy to feel demoralized when your opinions aren’t being heard and acknowledged, especially as an intern. In most places, intern means free manual labor, not productive contributor to our society. Think about what meaning you want to add.

 

I want to work somewhere that is flexible with time. I hate bundy clock mindset.

J: Bundy clock mindset is the practice of making sure you time in and time out and fill your requisite hours at work. If you’re not there by 8am, deduction. You take too long out for lunch, deduction. You clock out at exactly 5:01pm while your coworkers do so at 8pm, you’re first in line out the door, no matter your performance. It’s aggravating.

B: This is such an outdated way of doing things. Especially in a country like the Philippines with truly terrible traffic. If I leave the office just 15 minutes earlier, I save myself an hour worth of traffic on the road. Also, 80% of what I do can be done online, so as long as I deliver results and show up to meetings, leaving the office slightly early shouldn’t be a problem!

J: Also, it reflects an industrial factory workplace because this policy came from the industrial revolution, where people had to time in and time out to prove they were on the factory floor. A place where people were simply a cog in the machine, and not an engaged and productive member of society. Food for thought.

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I hate when people say “This is how it’s always been done.” as an answer.

B: If there is a policy in place, and nobody can explain to me, why that policy is in place, only ‘that’s just the way it is’, then I’m immediately worried because it also means that nobody around me bothered questioning the system.

J: This applies to Ateneo offices as well; when your reason for not changing to a more effective or efficient way to run things is habit, you’re alienating a lot of young people who live in the rush of everyday life. You are wasting my time with processes whose worth you cannot prove to me. Why??? What are we all gaining from this??

I don’t mind time-consuming processes, so long as you can explain why we have to do things this way. Like banks vetting checks for security purposes. That I get. I don’t want someone to submit a fake check and withdraw money instantaneously from my bank accounts.

 

I hate hands-off supervisors, especially if you’re interning in their department.

J: It defeats the purpose of having an intern; I’m here to learn about what you do and how you do it on the basis that I could one day actually work for you. If you’re not going to train me in the core values, work, and tenets of your department, why am I even here?? Because of this though, I was paid to sit around all day at one of my internships wherein I finished a book a day since I was so bored.

Your direct manager is the most important person you will interact with at your job. S/he usually determines whether you’ll want to stay or not. So, don’t ever think you’re completely at fault if your direct manager makes you feel unhappy in the position. Ineffective direct managers are the bane of HR’s struggling to keep talented people in the company.

B: People don’t quit their companies; they quit their bosses.

On the reverse side, if you have a truly fantastic boss, you’ll be inspired to do and be your best.

 

I hate companies who do not trust their people.

J: When you feel the need to watch over your people 24/7, you’re not trusting them. When you don’t let them make decisions, you’re not trusting them. When you want to know what they’re doing and where they are all the time during office hours, not only are you not trusting them, YOU ARE BEING CREEPY. If my own father doesn’t check what I’m doing the moment I leave the house, why should my employer? I’m very against Big Brother-like surveillance.


 

B: Clearly a lot of what we want are reactions to things that we don’t want to see in companies. But having a list of non-negotiables is good! It will save you so much time and misery. Figure out what your core values are and make them non-negotiables.

Words of warning: Knowing what you want and advocating for it can be taken as entitlement. I think it’s good to have a healthy sense of entitlement. It’s good to be able to stand up for your opinion and voice it out and dream big and have full faith that you can reach those dreams. Because if you don’t believe that you have what it takes to be a CEO, nobody else will believe it either.

Just be aware that you have to put in the work. A lot of people like to fixate on the dreams and forget that to get all the great things they want involves work. Don’t be that brat. Advocate for yourself and your dreams but put in the work to back it up.

J: There’s a difference in say, us thinking we can get a foot in the door at most multinational companies now versus someone who has never done anything with their life and time thinking they can get a foot in the same door. There is no shortcut. There is only a long agonizing climb via hard work. I’m sorry for all of you who have just heard that now. It’s harsh but true. Life isn’t the meritocracy we’ve been told about. It’s so much more difficult than that.

B: The frustrating thing is that for 1% of the population, they will get away with getting the cushy jobs without doing the work simply because their parents have the right connections. All I can say is that if this is you, please don’t take your privilege for granted. Work like you have something to prove because in the eyes of the rest of the office you do. Then when you get promoted, you can rest easy knowing that it was your work and worth that got you there, not your family name.

J: The important thing is to acknowledge first off that you are privileged. It never fails to escape me that the reason I can engage this kind of lifestyle is because I come from an elite educational background. I studied in an all-girls Chinese school, and immediately jumped into Ateneo which has a large Chinese-Filipino population as well. I fall under the stereotypical Chinese girl trope all too well. So, I work even harder than my peers at things other than academics because they’ve got that category locked in already. I’d be wasting my effort trying to beat them there.  

B: I’m even worse. HAHAHA I grew up in international schools with sons and daughters of diplomats, wealthy families,and other expat kids. It’s so easy to grow up spoiled, but when I see what my international school friends are up to, I have to say a vast majority of them are really not. Yes, they get to go to expensive universities abroad, and intern at really cool companies, and get the cushy amazing jobs, and not have to worry too much about student loans or paying rent, but none of them got there without putting in the work. You can never escape the work.


 

Are there companies that you’d recommend not applying for?

Betina: Many, but I don’t want to name names, so I’ll just say that I was at my most miserable when I was at a traditional Filipino company. It drove me batshit to know that my opinion was undervalued and my bosses were dismissive of my suggestions simply because I was young. What’s the point of hiring an intern if you’re not going to take anything they say seriously?  

Justine: We can’t disclose that on our blog. It’d be bad form on our part, and who knows, what if they’re a future employer to one of us? Or worse, a future sponsor of our blog? If you truly want to know, treat both of us out to lunch and we’ll tell you off the record who we would not recommend you apply for.

(B: We’ll give you the whole damn list. J: It’s a little long though, so make it a 2 hour lunch. At Silantro. Or Ramen Nagi lol.)

Until then, go and do some research on your own; you’re bound to have some friends who work at each major corporation. Good luck! 😉

 


 

And that’s it for this week’s Internship FAQ’s post! We’ve been experiencing a tremendous amount of growth recently, considering we’ve only been around for 8 weeks. So, Betina and I decided we need to understand what about The Border Collective interests you guys so much.

To find our key readers, we decided to make it into a simple share contest. The first 10 people to share their favorite TBC post from our Facebook wall, with a short caption on why your friends should follow TBC, wins a free resume writing consultation from either Betina or Justine! Your choice on who you want to interact with. (Go to Betina, she’s the one with professional experience lol.)

When you’ve shared it to your own profile, send us a screenshot of your FB wall with the shared posts to The Border Collective’s FB inbox! Simple as that. We’re perpetually online so we’ll be able to monitor our inbox. 😀

We’re not quite sure what’s coming up next here on The Border Collective since a lot is happening that we can’t disclose yet, but rest assured, we’re working on a bunch of cool things that we can’t wait to share with you guys! For sure though, we’ll be opening paid resume consultation times this coming Holy Week so we can help you guys prep for the coming Ateneo career fair and job (+ internship) hunting season!

If you have anything you want to say to us, email us at either justine@thebordercollective.com or betina@thebordercollective.com! For partnerships and business deals, email us at admin@thebordercollective.com! Follow me on Twitter and Instagram as well @ChaiXingJun!

In the meantime, have a restful Holy Week as we all catch up on extra homework and extra sleep!

Thanks for reading and hope we answered something useful for you! 😀

 

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