Tips for evaluating an employer - an intern's perspective

This article is contributed by Marisabelle Porro, a product marketing intern at Epsilon.  In this post, Marisabelle shares her advice on establishing guidelines when evaluating employers and her key takeaways as she sets the foundation for her career.

As a rising senior in college – just one year away from graduation and ready to enter the workforce – I’ve already started doing my research and created a set of parameters  to determine if companies are aligned with my goals. Below are just a few of the things that are important to me:

  • A team environment. -  I’m a strong believer that working with other people and collaborating with them can bring out more innovative and fresh ideas. Also, working in a team is more efficient when it comes to solving problems. People have different ideas and ways of approaching a situation. Combining these ideas to reach a consensus about how to approach a problem is much quicker than having one person working towards a solution.  I want to work for an organization that values this aspect of ‘we’ vs ‘me’ mentality.
  • Professional development. - Continuous education in the form of webinars, trainings and conferences is an important aspect when it comes to continual learning and development. It’s important to work for an employer that focuses on my personal growth and education.
  • Organic corporate structure. -  I want to belong to an organization where I will be valued and respected because of my expertise, the work I do and how I interact with my colleagues, rather than the title I have. For me, it’s important to work at an employer where it’s the people and the skill level that comes first and title comes second.

Based on these guidelines, Epsilon has quickly risen to the top of my list for my ideal company to work for, here’s why:

Heading in to my interview, I’d done my research but knew the people I would meet were a critical component. After my interview, I was absolutely sure this was the place where I wanted to work. The team explained to me in detail Epsilon’s fun and energetic culture and what great work/life balance it offers. This mirrored what I found on social media as part of my research – pictures and videos about the amazing things the associates had to say about working here.

The internship program at Epsilon is designed to give its participants a taste of how life is in the corporate environment and train them on how to succeed. There are 62 interns across the organization, working with teams ranging from BSAs - to software developers - to community managers. The internship program has given me the opportunity to put into practice everything I’ve learned in school, allowing me to apply theory to real-life projects. One of the things I like most about working at Epsilon is being able to work on projects that will benefit the company as a whole, including collaborating with team members across the organization to ensure success.

The team I was a part of did  an amazing job explaining the importance of the projects and how my support  helped them achieve their goals and the goals of the organization. This allowed me to develop an understanding of why I’m doing the work versus just the tactical execution component.

In college, we learn how to work on teams, but these teams are made up of other students, likely similar in age. This internship has given me the opportunity to work with people from different generations, not only millennials. While the general stereotype may be that conflict often arises between the millennial generation and other generations in the workplace, I’ve noticed quite the opposite. My teammates were eager to learn from me about the latest topics and trends, one of them being how social media is influencing marketing for brands. My superiors truly valued my ideas, and learned from me as much as I learned from them. They made sure to give credit to the people that work with them, and were always thankful for the time and effort I put into the different tasks and projects that are assigned to me.

As my internship comes to an end, I can sum up my experience with three key lessons applicable to any rising senior, new grad or experienced associate:

 Who you work with matters the most - Being surrounded by amazing and energetic people is contagious. There is an air of positivity that permeates throughout the organization, and it comes from the amazing people that work here.  This atmosphere fosters great ideas and helps to retain great colleagues and reminds me how important it is to be surrounded by people who are flexible, approachable, team oriented, innovative and have diverse opinions.

 Networking – Building a strong network is the foundation of anyone’s career and especially important for me as an intern. Epsilon allowed me to grow my network of influential people and experts in the marketing industry. I made the most out of this experience by connecting with people from different areas of the organization. One of my favorite experiences was being able to work one day from the NY office to meet the interns and other associates.

Believe in what you do – It is really important to be part of an organization whose goals align with what you believe in. For me, that includes fostering good work/ life balance and an organization that values my expertise from the start. Additionally, giving back to the community is something that fulfills me and makes me a happier person. I want to be part of an organization that cares about the community as much as I do: one that is not only concerned with the business and the profit it makes, but that also has a human aspect and looks out for the well-being of its people and the community that surrounds it.

For me this experience has further solidified the importance of staying true to myself, establishing guidelines and finding an organization that aligns with my goals – this is knowledge that will stay with me throughout my career.  What do you look for in an employer? Leave your thoughts in the comments