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Interviewing: General Advice

Use Informational Interviewing to Develop Job Prospects

The holidays are fast approaching.  Hooray! Time to rest, relax, and take a break from school work and the job search. Right?? Well, almost.

Actually, winter break is the perfect time to practice networking and conduct informational interviews.  Remember your dad’s coworker’s wife who works for Honda? Oh yeah – maybe you should talk to her.

What is an informational interview?

It is a one-on-one conversational with someone who has a job you might like, who is employed by a specific company that you’re interested in learning about, or who works within an industry you might want to enter.  The purpose of this is to gather advice and information. Let’s make this clear: you are not interviewing for a job/asking for a job.  You are having this conversation strictly to learn, and hopefully, build a relationship and your network.  If you do this right, you … 

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The “Not-So-Secret” Secret to Job Search Success; Pt. I: How to Research

Every semester I facilitate workshops on interviewing strategies for engineering students. in the presentation the following question is asked: “What do you think employers say the number one interviewing problem for our students is?”

Do you know the answer? You probably do. In fact, I have yet to lead a workshop where the right answer was not guessed right away. The number one constructive statement from ECS employers is that students are not prepared by doing simple research about the company.

Did you know that you are supposed to do research before going into an interview or a career fair? You probably did! Most students seem to know the importance of research and claim to practice this prior to an interview, but still most employers say students don’t know enough about the company and industry.

Consider that (a) students may not know how to research effectively and, more importantly, (b) … 

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Preparing for Interviews

Do you ever feel like there are some things you just can’t prepare for? If you do, you're not alone.  A quick Google search on things that are impossible to prepare for yielded quite a list including: taking the polar plunge in 32 degree water, what stinky tofu tastes like, and LeBron James. It’s a fact that some things will come up in your life that make planning difficult. Thankfully, job interviewing is not one of them.

The fact is, there are so many basic patterns and standard questions in interviews that there's really no excuse to walk into one unprepared. All you really need to do is learn the typical questions/question types you may be asked and then practice. One of the best resources ECS has to help students in their interview preparation is Big Interview: an online mock interview tool available to registered students, acccessible through CareerEngine … 

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Employer on-campus interviewing feedback

As generally the last person to talk to recruiters after they finish a day of on-campus recruiting at ECS, I hear a lot of feedback about our students. Most of it is positive; I often have recruiters tell me how refreshing it is to interview so many great candidates in one day. However, I also hear about it when students don’t exactly meet their expectations. Here are a few of the most common recruiter complaints—and what to do to avoid these mistakes!

  • Wear proper interview attire!

I cannot stress this enough! First impressions are absolutely critical. If not explicitly stated by the interviewer in advance, formal interview attire is expected every time. I’ve had recruiters tell me that a candidate had great credentials but that the casual dress made them reconsider. Formal interview attire may seem a hassle when you are also have class and other activities on the same … 

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What NOT to Do in an Interview

For many job-seekers, the most stressful part of the hiring process is the interview. Knowing that your future career can depend on 30 minutes of questioning can certainly be nerve-wracking! To increase your confidence, try focusing on the things you know you can control. A big part of this is being able to identify distracting behaviors that could even result in you not getting the job. Obsessive pen-clickers, read on…

Here is a list of 4 things NOT to do in an interview:

1.       Arriving underdressed – interview attire is important and is an immediate impression on the interviewer. If you aren’t dressed appropriately, it can be a distraction and even can be detrimental. The rule of thumb is it is always better to be overdressed than underdressed. Business professional (see past blogs “Men’s Professional Attire and Women’s Professional Attire) is almost always appropriate. If the company expects different … 

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