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The view from the other side of the interview desk, Part I

Engineering Career Services is excited to present guest writer, Carmen LaTorre who is an Advanced Engineer with Owens Corning. This blog will be a two part series, with the first part focusing on the Interviewee and the second part on the Interviewer...

You sit in the ECS waiting area in your formal business attire. One foot nervously taps the floor. You run through your notes and try to organize your thoughts one last time. You’ve anticipated every question and memorized every accomplishment. You’re ready to show why you’re the best candidate for the job. Suddenly you hear the recruiter call your name…it’s time to interview!

I’ve had the privilege to be on both sides of the interview desk at Ohio State University, first as a BS and MS student seeking mechanical engineering internships and full-time positions, and now as an interviewer for Owens Corning for the past 3 years. The … 

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Do you have trouble answering this interview question: "Tell me about yourself?"

Or how about these questions:
• “Why should we hire you?”
• “Do you believe your GPA is an accurate reflection of your abilities?”
• “Why are you interested in this job?”

How can you be better prepared to answer these STANDARD interview questions? ….Create YOUR Personal Brand!

Let’s face it, now is not the best time to be looking for a job. With an unstable economy, employers’ hiring practices are unpredictable. But there are steps you can take to make yourself a more attractive candidate and help land the position you WANT!

First you have to think of yourself as a ‘PRODUCT’:
• You are a student with a unique combination of skills, abilities, education and work experience.
• You MUST utilize that information to create a unique personal brand and learn how to SELL yourself to an employer.
• If you don’t know what added value you … 

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Salary Negotiation Part II: How-to Guide

We've covered the reasons someone might consider negotiating. Now let’s discuss when, what, and how.

When do you negotiate? After you receive the offer, but before you accept the job. This may seem obvious, but just remember that if you have accepted the offer under the specified conditions, the employer is likely to either laugh or withdraw the offer if you come back later to ask for more.
You negotiate after you’ve carefully reviewed the written offer, including all conditions of employment and the benefits package. Never wait until the day of – or even the day before – the acceptance deadline.

What can be negotiated? Here are the main factors: Acceptance deadline. Starting salary. A sign-on bonus. Relocation assistance. Your start date. Time off [without pay] for personal needs [for example, you’re in a wedding—maybe even your own-- before you’re eligible for vacation time]. Maybe a mid-year performance review … 

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Salary Negotiation Part I: Circumstances for Negotiating

It’s easy to find books and websites (maybe friends and relatives!) that say, “always negotiate!” But is it true?

No, it’s not. Sometimes you have no basis for negotiation. But how can you tell?

Once you have an offer (or several, if you’re lucky), start by asking yourself “what do I like about this job offer?” Look at the whole package: is the work interesting? Do you like the company, the location, the co-workers or supervisors you’ve met? Is this a good launching point for your career? What about non-salary aspects, like benefits, vacation, working hours? Take a look at the Offer Comparison Chart in your copy of the Career Services Handbook for a longer list of factors to consider. Above all, remember one thing: no one can pay you enough to make you happy doing a job you don’t like.

If you have only one offer, keep in mind … 

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Use winter break to assess your job search

This is an exciting time of year with students deciding among offers and others increasing their job search efforts. Those of you who have not accepted employment shouldn’t despair. There will be opportunities next quarter. You should take advantage of break to reconsider your job search strategy.

Sometimes, employers ask me to print out candidate resumes. You gave us permission to do so when you signed your registration card. Sometimes the resumes are bad. They may have misspelled or misused words, formatting errors or other problems. I cringe when an employer points out errors on a student’s resume. Don’t count on spell check. It will not pick up word usage errors. One student wrote that he maintained an impressive grade point average while working 40 hours weakly (vs. weekly.) If it has been a while since you have had your resume reviewed, have it done again before winter quarter … 

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