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Interviewing: General Advice

What is VIA Character Strengths--and how can I use it my job search?

What is VIA Character Strengths?
The VIA Institute on Character is a non-profit organization based in Cincinnati, Ohio. VIA focuses on the science of strengths through research, surveys, and tools.  To date, over 4.6 million people have taken the VIA Survey. This survey takes inventory of your character strengths, offering a tool for reflection and giving you a vocabulary to use when communicating them. It is a psychometrically validated personality test revealing your positive character attributes.

How can I determine my strengths and why should I know them?
First, take the free survey HERE. Remember that this is an inventory of your character strengths, not an invitation for you to immediately jump to the last page and focus on your weaknesses! 

Upon taking the survey you will receive a report of the 24 character strengths, beginning with your strongest. Short descriptions of each are provided, and it is recommended that … 

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Cocktails with company reps...and other dining etiquette concerns

I’m sure that title got your attention, didn’t it? In this week’s blog, we will cover business dining etiquette, specifically during the interview process. Companies want to hire smart, hardworking, and dedicated new employees.  They also want to hire students with good social skills and etiquette.  A strong GPA or prior work experience may get you an interview, but if you don’t display proper social etiquette, you may not get the job.  To gauge this, companies will often host a lunch or dinner as part of the final interview or site visit. Is this part of the interview? YES! Consider any interaction, including a meal, with company representatives as part of the interview process. Below are my top 5 tips for acing a business meal.

  1. Attire: Many meal invitations will come with an expected attire, but if not, it is acceptable to ask the recruiter.  If … 
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Giving credit, getting credit

You’ve likely had a lot of engineering projects in your entry-level engineering courses. Most of those projects were probably teamwork based. There were smaller individual parts to make the whole project work. You’ve gained valuable, real-world experience that can be transferred into a company setting. When you’re in an interview or even talking to potential employers, how do you talk about these projects? Are the recruiters looking for a team-player or someone who did the whole project? How do you phrase what you did verses what the team did?

The key is honesty. Give credit where credit is due. Employers will be able to tell if you are not telling the whole truth about your role in a project. It may feel awkward to talk about yourself, but the interview is a time where you need to sell yourself to the potential employer. The employer needs to be convinced that you … 

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It’s tricky! Answering tough interview questions

Difficult interview questions are meant to challenge job candidates and make you think on your feet! Some questions during an interview can seem rather simple on the surface but are designed to give the employer a better sense of who you are and whether you're a good fit for the team and company. Here are a few tricky interview questions and how to handle your answers:

Tell me about yourself.

The “tell me about yourself” question is often asked during interviews in order to assess your communication ability and how your experience ties into the current opportunity. Many candidates make the mistake of diving into extensive details regarding childhood, schooling, hobbies, etc. A strong answer to this question includes an overview of relevant work experience, qualifications, career interests and what you can bring to the position and company at hand.

Describe a time when you failed.

The first step to … 

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Meet engineering employers via ECS' Recruiter in Residence Program

Would you like more practice with interviews? Would you like to receive career advice from professionals from various STEM fields? Then Recruiter in Residence is just for you! ECS' Recruiter in Residence Program provides an opportunity to network with employers while receiving career advice, job search guidance, resume tips, and a chance to practice your interviewing skills. Here are the reasons why you should take advantage of Recruiter in Residence this fall:

  • Network with employers outside of career fairs.  Networking is a great opportunity to build connections with people you may never have thought of connecting with before. Remember, it’s not always about what you know, but who you know!
  • Receive career advice from industry professionals.  Even though the Internet can provide some career tips or job search hints, receiving such advice and/or tips from working professionals is invaluable.
  • Practice makes perfect.  By participating in mock interviews, you are … 
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