Alariss Employee Interview: Camilla Guo
We enjoyed speaking with Camilla Guo, head of HR at Alariss, and getting to know her better. A transcript of the interview is below.
Tell us about what you do for Alariss Global.
Majority of the work, I work for the talent acquisition team, which currently we call community engagement leads. I basically oversee all the candidates who join the platform, maintaining a great relationship with all the candidates. Believe it or not, a lot of the candidates after joining the platform, they always either refer someone they know or sometimes they’re just actively looking for their second opportunity, or so on. So it’s always a great opportunity to connect with a candidate. Other than that, I also handle the internal HR, maintaining a great relationship for all my peers. As a startup company, relationships and bonding are the fundamental part, so I’m trying my best to let everybody engage and not feel lonely even as everybody works from home.
Working for Alariss Global, not only working on the talent acquisition side, I guess more importantly, overseeing everyone as the head of HR, it’s more like jumping to different departments, coordinating the onboarding session, making sure everybody when they’re on-boarded they don’t feel lost, they know what’s their scope of the work, they know who they should reach out to if they have any questions. And also obviously every Friday, coordinating the all-hands meeting, making sure everybody gets the chance to show their voice and share their update from the week. I think with a startup organization as I mentioned, showing a voice is really important compared with working for a big company where probably only the leadership shows their opinion, shows their voice. So my perspective, working for Alariss Global, is I want to offer the opportunity to everybody to show their voice. I think everybody’s voice matters a lot.
Tell me more about what you do for talent acquisition.
Yeah so basically talent acquisition, there are two ways for doing it. Either it’s by mutual connection bringing people to the platform, or proactively looking for people who match into what the clients or company are looking for and bringing them to the platform. On top of that, we always create a platform for them to understand what is Alariss Global doing. Not only that, presenting multiple opportunities for them to choose what aligns with their background. If they believe all the opportunities matching their background, we’re happy to help them pursue all the opportunities. In the meantime, helping them to prepare for the interview along with later helping them to coordinate the compensation negotiations while helping them to do the biweekly check-in and making sure everything is on the right track.
So you reach out to people after there’s a job posting and reach out to people who you think would be a good fit and then you try to get them on the platform?
Yeah, not only that. Sometimes, if you just randomly think this person is a top sales candidate but looking for job opportunities, you just actively bring them to the platform in case later on there’s an opportunity to be a match. So that’s what I’m saying, either we’re proactively looking for people who are currently seeking for a job or we are proactively looking for people who are exactly a match for some of the job descriptions we have from the clients.
What is a typical workday like for you?
I guess workday for me, I’m pretty old-school. I like to use a notepad, I like to write down stuff, so my morning will always start from listing up my daily agenda, and then later on, I might–It depends on day to day. Usually my Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday are the days that I have some candidates’ calls, file the notes, and then make matches, and then listening to the clients to see if they have any feedback so I can adjust how I work on this project or adjust the scope of the project. Tuesday, Friday, it’s more like my individual work time to take care of paperwork or payroll along with other internal projects.
What has been the highlight of your work for Alariss Global so far?
That’s a really tough question. Because my work, every day is like constantly bringing people to the platform, I guess the highlight part will be when I see the spark between candidates and clients collaborating together. I guess that would be the highlight for my work because I’m happy to help them find the opportunity along with seeing their career going into a global direction.
What do you love about what you do?
I like to help people, I always stand at a point of seeing what is this people specialized for. As you probably remember, last year we had Adan to onboard with Sinorbis. He is coming from a marketing background but never got a chance to really work in a marketing firm but had been working in sales. So when I saw his profile, I’m suddenly thinking about how Sinorbis is a great platform, which is a marketing platform, but looking for sales talent. So I see the people who have a marketing and education dream but never approach the job opportunity like that, so I would say, I love to help people to achieve the spot that they were looking for but they cannot achieve it by themselves.
What is one of the most impactful things you have learned while working at Alariss Global?
I guess the most impactful thing that I learned is about the strong execution skills. Working for a startup, it’s definitely not like working for a corporate world. I always use this example to emphasize to my candidate, joining a startup is like you’re rolling on a small boat, which is when the captain is saying we’ll go north, everybody puts in the effort and this boat eventually will go north. But working for the corporate world is more like working on a cruise ship, you only can work on a very limited project and you cannot step on other people’s feet. If things worked out, that’s great, if things don’t work out, that’s going to be a Titanic. So in a lot of scenarios, what I learned is show your voice and also execute it when you have this idea. I think that’s really important.
Tell us about your journey to working for Alariss Global.
Yeah, well I joined it back in 2020 June as an intern at the initial stage. Basically, what I did during the time was outreach, which is quite similar to what I do today. So I was graduating from college during the time with the pandemic situation. After I started working with this company, I really enjoyed it because I think my supervisor really gave me a lot of opportunity to let me grow and to let me develop my skills. I come from a marketing background as well, never get a chance to work on any marketing projects, so after a couple of months later I proposed the idea to Joyce asking if I can play around with the marketing materials. During that time, we don’t have anybody working on the marketing department, so at the initial stage I thought she might reject me, but it seems like everything worked out. She let me create our very first podcast, Alariss Classroom, so that’s how I started to work on the podcast side. Later on, I got accepted from my grad school for the HR major, and she offered me the opportunity to run the internal HR, and I still remember the quote she was saying is, I think as an HR major, you have to practice while you learn. So I really appreciate this whole journey that my supervisor invests a lot in me and lets me practice while I’m learning. I will be graduating in a month, not even a month, a half-month actually. So I’m actually really grateful to continue to stay on and continue to contribute at Alariss Global.
So you’re in graduate school right now?
Yep. I’ll be graduating May 13.
What’s your field in graduate school?
Human Resources Development.
What are your hopes for your time at Alariss Global?
My hope for my time at Alariss Global, definitely, is to continue bringing high-profile talent to Alariss Global and help people to achieve their career dream that they have. Bringing more employees to the organization, making us become like a bigger organization along with–I guess my most wild dream that I have is I hope one day Alariss will IPO.
Why is Alariss Global a great place for you?
I think this is a place that I can challenge myself every day. I never expected myself to go to the HR journey until when I started as an outreach intern, I realized, oh, I don’t hate talking to people. This is a place I always challenge myself and I always think about challenge as a great or positive reinforcement to encourage myself to grow. Maybe back in two to three years ago, my career journey was more into marketing and management side–or business and marketing management side. I guess it’s a great place to keep letting me learn and also a great place to keep me to receive the feedback either from my supervisor or from my peers.
What is your favorite part of working for Alariss Global?
Yeah, I guess my favorite part working for Alariss Global definitely is everything’s a learning journey for me and I definitely can show my opinion, show my voice. That’s a really important thing in the organization. Particularly if you’re working in the Asia work culture, if you are someone young, someone female, someone new, you will be barely getting a chance to show your voice. But in this organization, it’s definitely, when you have a great idea, everybody will listen in, and that’s a part I really enjoy and I appreciate.
What would you be doing right now if you weren’t at Alariss Global?
That’s a really good question. I never really think about it to be honest. I think if I did not currently work for Alariss Global, I’d probably still be in grad school but probably not the HR major. I think that’s a really good question. I really should think about it, but I think probably I’ll be in a grad school and in the meantime I might be somebody who’s only been working for higher education but never been working for any startup.
You grew up in China, what was that experience like? And do you visit China often?
Growing up in China as a single kid, as a female, it’s really a different journey than you probably growing up in the States with siblings. Growing up as a single kid, you will get all the attention. I have four grandparents and both my parents, which is six of them putting all the attention on me, so sometimes I do feel overwhelmed. And also growing up as a girl, parents always try to overprotect you, but my family it’s more like letting me to explore things. Probably this is something they already really regret right now because when I decided to study abroad, I moved to Minnesota when I was 18 years old, no family and friends’ help. And they were worried at the initial stage, but that really turned me into being somewhat independent and not afraid of failure. So now, I guess this time my parents are really thinking about how I am way too independent which is, in the Chinese culture, they think about the woman should be not that independent. Eventually, when you get a partner or eventually when you’re getting married, you turn to being more dependent on that person to make it better, but ironically, I just don’t believe that. I think it doesn’t matter the gender it is, everybody should be independent and everybody should be having a career that they embrace and most importantly, they should have a life that they enjoy. So that’s my experience growing up in China. I guess I want to visit China more often because the last time when I’ve seen my mom is actually back in 2019 in May and it’s actually in maybe half-month, or in a month actually that I didn’t see her in person for three years. Probably for a lot of people who are living in the States or living with their parents, seeing the parents is not something like a privilege, but because of COVID, because of other issues that visiting home is turning into a privilege for me.
Last time I’ve seen my whole family was back on May 30, 2019. It was really a short time, I only went back home for three weeks. I was updating my visa, and I was able to stay three weeks with them. During that time, I had a summer internship, so I had to fly back to the States right away. So 2020, COVID started, they actually reduced so many flights and the flights turned super expensive. Right now flying back home probably just one way will cost you around $10,000 US dollars, and I just don’t think that–Of course I want to see them, but I just don’t think schedule-wise or finance-wise, that’s something that is doable for me. Most importantly, I just hope the COVID will end soon and I will see my parents soon.
I’m sorry about that.
It’s okay. I mean, we FaceTime each other like every day or every second day. Sometimes, it’s not really FaceTime, talk about something but it’s more like you’re just seeing each other. They might not be talking, but they’re looking at me working. But because of my whole journey from 2014 moving to the United States, so how many years now? Eight years now I guess, I only went back home five times, I would say–It’s a really conflicting feeling because I’m living here by myself, so I’m really independent, I can do whatever I want, with the boundary, I won’t cross a line. But when I go back home, my parents really treat me like a kid. What you should wear, what you should eat, what you should do, they’re really planning everything for me, so I feel a little bit overwhelmed as an independent adult woman being treated like a little kid. It takes like a week or two to adjust like the mindset like okay, I’m back in this environment, I’m my parents’ kids, I have to act like a kid, but I get that’s typical Chinese parents. When it’s been a long time they didn’t see their kids, they want to show they actually care, I guess.
Tell us about one of your favorite trips abroad.
Yeah, I guess my favorite trip abroad since I don’t go back to China often, every time going back to China, it’s exciting. Definitely because seeing my family and also trying to have this feeling of living in the States for too long that I kind of feel like socially segregated from China. I think my mom, every now and then making a joke of me like, Oh, you’re still using a wallet? We don’t even use wallets in China anymore. Everything is paid by WeChat Pay or Alibaba, things like that. It’s just fun that every time to see like, oh okay, been not living in China for so long that everything changed so fast. I guess the other favorite trip that I had is I always enjoyed to go to the Cayman Islands. It’s a small Caribbean island, but everything is so peaceful, so chill there. I’m a huge beach person, I enjoyed to go to a lot of beach. I used to live by the Revere Beach in Massachusetts. It’s a piece of calm of my mind every time when I see the ocean. So I guess if later the COVID situation will get better, I will do my third or fourth trip, go back to the Cayman Islands again.