Archive for the Interviewing Category

How to Talk to Strangers

Posted on November 13, 2014 with No Comments

Always Talk to Strangers- The Power of Networking

Did your guardians tell you not to talk to strangers?  Now that you’re in college the buzzword is networking- talk to strangers, make new friends, and connect. Talking to strangers can make your hands sweat, voice crack, and heart race. How do I network and find out about opportunities that can inform and support my future goals without becoming nervous? Being prepared can help. The most underused job search tool is the informational interview—this allows you to seek leads and information regarding an industry or a career path. To do this well, do your homework:

1- Figure out what information you want.
2- Brainstorm people you know—that means everyone from your best friend’s cousin to your hairdresser.
3- Schedule an appointment with someone who seems interesting. It is generally no longer than 30 minutes. Just remember, people are busy.
4- Ask the right questions—here are some sample questions
5- Play the part—dress professionally and know as much as you can about the person you are talking to.
6- Get ready to talk about yourself- draft an elevator speech about yourself and where you hope to go. Bring a resume but only give it if requested.
7- The last question you ask should be, “Do you have any suggestions of other people I could talk?”
8- Be gracious for their time and SEND A THANK YOU NOTE. Stay in touch with your contacts and let them know how they have been helpful in the future.
9- Follow up on any referrals given and do it again and again and again. That job offer could be around the corner.

These tips can help you make strangers into a valuable contact!

~Kim

The Party’s Not Over Yet! Here’s How to Stand Out AFTER the Job Fair.

Posted on October 21, 2014 with No Comments

Staff of City Year Corps Members

Vilma Rodrigues-Silva is the Recruitment Manager of the Northeast Region for City Year New Hampshire. She goes to lots of job fairs, so we asked her about the best ways for candidates to stand out after the event.

Is there an appropriate way to follow up with an employer after a Job Fair, even if I didn’t get a chance to meet you there?

YES! Following up with an email is fine if you missed us at a fair or could not make it. You do not need to be shy about letting a recruiter know that you are interested in a program (that is what we are here for!), and there is no need to explain in detail about why you didn’t make it to the fair. Following up with an email shows us that you are taking the initiative to learn more about our program, and that is a good thing.

What do you think about thank you notes after a Job Fair?

Personalized, hand-written notes are amazing! However, if I received these from even half of all of the students I met at job fairs, I would have hundreds of them coming in and I wouldn’t be able to keep up. I believe handwritten notes should be left to more personal interactions or after an interview. All other instances of meeting at fairs or presentations could be followed up with an email note, thanking the recruiter for their time and for coming to campus. What makes a good note is simply saying thank you and mentioning something specific that you learned or that the recruiter said that stuck with you.

Is it possible to follow up too much?

Yes, there is a “too much policy.”  It’s important to show recruiters that you are interested in their program, but keep in mind that there is an abundance of information on the websites and brochures. You don’t want to ask a recruiter something that could simply be found on the homepage of a website. However, if you need clarification on something you’ve read, want more information on something you found, or want a personal account of the recruiter’s experience, then feel free to call and email.

What else should candidates know?

I – and many recruiters – love talking to students at fairs! If you already know a little about a program and plan on visiting the fair, you should come prepared to ask questions to gain more knowledge. If you randomly end up at a table because it caught your attention, politely introduce yourself and ask to learn more! Don’t be afraid to inquire for more information, and to tell the recruiter a little about yourself. Show confidence!

Using the STAR Method in an Interview

Posted on April 24, 2014 with No Comments

Computers shaking handsOver the last few years, we’ve written various posts about the interview process and how to best prepare for such a daunting step within the job search. However, the one thing we haven’t discussed is the importance of learning and practicing the STAR method, so you’re probably asking yourself; what do we mean by the STAR method? Well, it’s a tool you can use when you’re asked either a situational or behavioral question during an interview. STAR is an acronym for:

Situation, Task, Action, Result/Resolution

So, if an interviewer asks you:
“Tell me about a time when you led a team and it went well?”

    • By using the STAR method, you’d describe an example when you led a team and it was a success- the Situation.
  • For example, “Last year, I coordinated and led a team of volunteers on an Alternative Spring Break in New Jersey where I was responsible for 6 students for a week.”

    • Next, you’ll want to describe the work or Tasks you performed.
  • For example, “I drove all of us to New Jersey to help a small community center with the restoration of their town center near the waterfront where Hurricane Sandy occurred.”

    • At this point you’d want to describe your role as the leader- your Actions.
  • For example, “As part of my role, I collaborated with the Community Center Director each day to determine the top priorities, whether it was clean up or restoration of the building, then I’d delegate a job for each of our student volunteers.”

    • Finally, you’d want to describe the result of your leadership- Result.
  • For example, “By giving each volunteer a job, we created a more efficient work environment and ended up finishing the restoration sooner than we had expected.”

    So, what are the benefits of using the STAR method?

    • You’re guaranteed to answer questions with clear examples.
    • It should keep you within the suggested 2 minute time frame for your answers.
    • And it will showcase the skills you’ll bring to the position you’re applying for.

    Practice using it, and then try it in your next big interview. It’s guaranteed to help you succeed.

    ~Danielle

    Don’t Forget to Say Thanks!

    Posted on April 9, 2014 with No Comments

    Hand writing thank you with a penSo you passed the interview stage.  Now what??

    Send a thank you message within a few days of the interview.

    In addition to being courteous, a thank you demonstrates enthusiasm, reiterates interest in a position, and provides another shot at selling yourself for the job.  Plus it demonstrates strong communication skills!

    It’s always beneficial to add more than just “thank you.”  But what should be included?

    • Start with the pleasantries. Thank the employer for taking time to meet with you.  Tell them you enjoyed your conversation.  Discuss interest or excitement about this position and the company.
    • Get specific. Talk about a key moment or expand on an answer.  Discuss personal skills and experiences and how they would be assets for the company.  If there was an important detail left out of the interview, highlight it—briefly.  If part of the interview didn’t go as well as planned, address that here (but don’t make excuses).  Make a connection to information the employer gave during the interview.  Say something like, “When you told me about x, I thought about y.”
    • Sign off. Let the employer know how you’ll follow up, and thank them again.

    Whether to email or mail the thank you depends on the preference of the employer or on the type of interview (phone vs. in person).  The time frame for notification could also dictate how it should be sent. (You don’t want the employer to receive your the note—by mail—the day after they’ve made their decision, right?)

    Here are a few more tips:

    • If the interview was with more than one person, send each one a customized note.
    • Keep the thank you concise.  It doesn’t need to be as long as a cover letter.
    • As always, remember to proofread… Don’t send a note that reads “thanks you.”

    After the thank you has been sent, wait.  If you haven’t heard from the employer by the time they specified, follow up by phone or email and express your continued interest.

    You’ll find a lot of different advice on how to say thank you.  The most important thing is that you do it – one way or another.

    ~Abbey, Career Peer Mentor

    Savvy Seniors: Want to Join the Team?

    Posted on March 5, 2014 with No Comments

    Blue Cross Blue Shield Staff on stairs preparing for race

    How to Interview like a Pro: Tips from a Local Recruiter

    For most people, an interview creates a lot of stress and anxiety—it is an intimidating way to make a great first impression. For most employers though, the goal of inviting an applicant in for an interview is to get to know them. It’s a meeting based around discovery. We want to know who you are and if you could successfully fit in with the culture of our organization, the position, and the department. We also want you to ask questions that can help you make a decision about whether our company is the right place for you.

    Quick tips for standing out & having a successful interview:

    • Dress for the job you’re applying for. It’s okay to ask what the dress code is when you’re scheduling the interview.
    • Make eye contact, smile, and shake the interviewer’s hand.
    • Bring a few copies of your resume with you to the interview.
    • If you have a samples of something that relates to the position you’re applying for, have it on hand (i.e. for a graphic design position, bring some of your design work).
    • Don’t over-think things. Trying to perfect every sentence comes off as robotic.
    • Be natural and be yourself; it is okay to smile and laugh! We can sense when an applicant is putting on a façade.
    • Work experience and qualifications are important, but they’re not everything. We’re trying to find someone who “fits” in with the department and the company as a whole. Try to find something in common with the interviewer and make an emotional connection.
    • As the interview wraps up, ask what the next steps are. In most instances, recruiters are happy to let you know where they are in the hiring process and when you should expect to hear back.

    ~Myra Fundis, UVM ‘11
    Human Resources Wellness Specialist with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont

    Want to learn more? Join us and special guest National Life for:
    Savvy Seniors: Interview Like a Pro: Tuesday, March 18, 12-1pm at the Hub

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