• What Our Interns Actually Think of Company Culture: Ben

    by Benjamin Lim

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    Would you accept a job that offers a high salary even if you hate working at that company? Or would you be willing to take a lower salary to work at a company whose values and goals deeply resonate with you? Do a company's various values and goals deeply resonate with you? 

    Pictured: All warm and fuzzy at The BGC Team!

    Before entering the working world, I'd always thought that I would stick with the highest paying salary. Recently, I came to value the importance of working in a company whose values I shared. My internship with BGC, a manpower agency in Singapore, made me realize the importance of achieving the same values with a company, something I didn't take into consideration in the past. 

    With that in mind, I will be sharing some of the tips you can use in the future to decide whether or not a company's culture works for you! 

    Tip #1: Find out what you need in order to excel at work

    To appear more exciting and appealing to millennials, companies often sell the idea of an amazing and unique corporate culture. However, it's always good to find out their definition of "amazing" as one person's dream workplace could be your nightmare. 

    Think about the factors in the workplace environment that allows you to produce the best work and take note of it! Are you someone who enjoys fast-paced and driven working environments? Do you prefer to work alone or in a team? Or would you prefer a more flexible working schedule as you can get cranky in the morning? 

    Apart from affecting your happiness and productivity at work, corporate culture also plays a significant role in affecting your lifestyle and happiness after work as well. 

    In short, ensure that your core values and lifestyle needs are aligned with the company’s corporate culture for long-term job satisfaction and happiness. Otherwise, you may find yourself on the job market again not long after starting a new one. 

    Tip #2: Research, research, research before you apply

    Before applying for a job position that looks good to you, you should always check out the company's corporate website. 

    Personally, I find Linkedin as a more reliable and accurate channel to investigate the company's current culture. I used the website to connect with current employees at the company I'm interviewing for, to gain an insider's perspective on the company. 

    One useful tip I learned was to join alumni clubs of all the schools I've studied at on Linkedin, to reach out to seniors who've worked at the company of your choice. As always, it goes without saying that you should be polite and declare that you're a junior who'd like to learn more about the company. But remember to not harass them if the replies do not immediately come streaming in! Unlike other forms of social media, not everyone checks Linkedin on a daily basis! 

    Tip #3: Ask the right questions

    So, you've passed the resume screening hurdle, and have now been invited for an interview! Take this as an opportunity to asses whether or not the company's culture will be a good fit for you. Interviews are a two-way street that gives you the opportunity to decide if the company is a great fit for you. 

    Don't forget to take the time and keep your eyes peeled out for clues on how the employees interact with one another. A great way to conduct an adequate investigation is to arrive 20 - 30 minutes earlier just to observe how the employees interact with one another. 

    Do the employees look happy and engaged? Or do they appear solemn, working silently in cubed, caged up workspaces? 

    Tip #4: Arrange for a test run after the interview

    It may sound unusual but after receiving an offer from the company, you can ask the interviewer if it is possible to arrange a test run. Be clear and explain to them that you'd like to learn more about the team's dynamic, what they do on a daily basis, and whether or not you'd be a great fit for the team. 

    During this trial run, make observations of how your colleagues interact with each other during brain-storming sessions and meetings. 

    Remember that if you do request for a trial session, be aware that your new colleagues are also cross-examining you. So dress your best and give them your best performance to reaffirm their decision to hire you! 

    Final Thoughts: Work in an environment that supports your needs and makes you happy

    According to an Annual Labour Survey done by the Ministry of Manpower, Singaporeans typically work for an average of 46 hours per week. Assuming that we sleep for an average of 8 hours a day, which is about the recommended hours of sleep a young adult should have, do note that 41% of the time we spend being awake is at the workplace! Just imagine if you spend 41% of your time feeling stressed our and miserable on a daily basis. It would be impossible to stay at your job for long. 

    As someone who has scored 100% in an online introvert test, accepting an internship offer to work in a young and hip environment like BGC was a challenge. Despite being a shy and reserved individual, working in an open and casual environment like BGC gave me a better understanding of both my working style and how well it meshes with corporate culture, along with my ideal corporate culture. 

    At the end of the day, I enjoyed my internship and took more than just job-related skills home with me. I hope that you'll find a workplace as accommodating as mine! Good luck! 

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