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November 2011

How to decline an offer graciously

You got the offer! You should be excited right? Well, sometimes the offer does not meet your expectations (if this is the case—come in and see us at ECS, we may be able to help!) or you feel that the company just isn’t the right fit for you. That is totally normal. Just remember that you don’t want to burn any bridges so if you find yourself in this situation here is what you should do…

First, you MUST inform the employer as soon as possible that you are not going to take the position. A phone call is preferred but they may ask you to follow up in writing. Always leave the door open for future possibilities, so remain polite and professional. You don’t have to go into detail about why you’re declining the offer.

Here’s what you might say:

Dear Mr. Jones,

I truly appreciated the opportunity to … 

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How to Answer Behavioral Based Interview Questions

ECS Graduate Advisor, Meg Flood, is lending her extensive interview training experience to today's blog...

Interviewer: "Tell me about a time when you took initiative."

You (sweating, nervous, breaking out in hives): "Umm. Well. You know…..I do that all the time!"

If the above has ever happened to you, you're not alone. Interviewing is a scary thing especially when you don’t feel prepared to talk about a time you persuaded someone to see your way. Or you can’t remember a time when you handled a difficult situation. The key to answer these types of questions (and avoid the sweating, filler words, and hives) is to prepare and know the right formula.

Preparation is the key to answering behavioral based questions. Be sure to begin preparing for your interview in advance (the night before is not in advance). Go through experiences on your resume including projects, past work experience … 

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Make a positive first impression during interviews

At ECS, we’re currently knee deep in on-campus interviews. I like to sit with my office door open…and one side effect to doing that is hearing the “small talk” conversation that happens when recruiters are taking students back to their interviewing rooms. Below are two very common scenarios where students hurt their chances of obtaining employment by missing the boat on professionalism through “simple” interactions.

  1. Don’t greet the recruiter with openings like, “Hey James” or “Hi Jess”. Let’s be clear: an interview is a professional setting…one that requires certain conventions. It’s likely you grew up calling your friend’s parents by their first names (instead of Mr. or Mrs. So-and-so)…maybe your parents even let you get away with calling them by their first names (that didn’t fly in my house). There’s a strong probability that the recruiters interviewing you are not your friend’s parents. Therefore, you need to address them as … 
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