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Interviewing: General Advice

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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Get a Jump Start on Interview Prep!

Today's blog is written by Engineering Co-op and Intern Program Advisor, Meg Flood...

Summertime is a wonderful time of the year. It's a time for students to gain hands-on experience at internships and co-ops, network with professionals, and hopefully squeeze in some time in the sun! Summer is also a great time for getting a jump start on preparing for fall interviews.

I know, I know, you just want to enjoy working this summer and not have to think ahead to those interviews where you have to talk about yourself and tell interviewers about a time when you persuaded someone, took initiative, or showed leadership. But if you start thinking about these examples now, you will be ahead of the game when interviews roll around in October.

Here is an effective strategy that doesn’t take much time—but will have big payoffs this fall: once a week spend a little bit … 

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Think About Your Safety When You Prepare for an Interview

Most students don’t think about the dangers potentially associated with the interview process. Understanding what’s “normal” and what’s not is an important part of interview preparation. Although an employer or interviewer is in a position of authority and power, it DOES NOT give them the right to manipulate, harass, coerce, or take advantage of you in any way.

When interviewing for a position off campus, or for something that you found outside of the ECS system…


  1. Make sure it’s a legitimate company and job! Know what company you are interviewing with! Some companies may post jobs that aren’t what they advertise to be. For example, a company may advertise that they want “high-energy, responsible mechanical engineers for an exciting opportunity”, but the job is really a sales position and they display the same job description but change the field to draw in as many unsuspecting college students as they can … 
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"Tell me about yourself!"

During the past couple of weeks, students applying to join Texnikoi [the engineering activities honorary] have been coming to my office in a steady stream because my signature is one of half a dozen required on the application form.

Most seemed surprised that I wanted to talk with them, instead of quickly signing the form. But I wanted to meet them - to learn a little about each person, to find out about their current and future plans, and to hear how their job searches were coming along.

My first question was one typically asked by interviewers: “Tell me about yourself.” Surprisingly, most students seemed taken aback by the question and stumbled in their answers. Do they do the same in interviews, I wonder?

A few had ready answers. Here are a couple of examples. “I’m from a small town in NW Ohio, and currently I’m a junior, majoring … 

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View from the front desk: Interview Feedback

One of my responsibilities at Engineering Career Services is to take comments employers write about students they’ve interviewed and present them to that student into helpful advice through email, a telephone call, or a scheduled appointment with an advisor for interview coaching.

Sometimes the comments are clearly individual: "don’t wear a party dress to your interview" or "iron your shirt next time." Most of the time the advice recruiters provide can be helpful to all applicants.

Here are the top five suggestions:
5. Work on a firm handshake.
4. Practice an introductory speech about yourself.
3. Maintain eye contact with the interviewer.
2. Answer questions in the STAR (Situation Task Action Result) format

And the #1 suggestion:
1. Know what you are interviewing for. Research the company before the interview and ask questions that show you did.

"Perfection does not exist - you can always do better and you … 

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