Mock Interview Day Fall 2018 Recap

By: Abbey Pober

Our annual Mock Interview Day was held on Thursday, November 1st from 3:00pm –6:00pm in Watson Auditorium. The day consisted of five rounds of 35-minute interviews conducted by 41 employer volunteers from multiple companies across industries. In total, 108 students participated in 192 interviews, providing on average two practice interviews per student. Many of the employers will be inviting students back for formal interviews.

Students laughing

If you are a student who attended Mock Interview Day last week your next steps should be to follow up with employers by:

  • Sending a thank you email to the employers with whom you spoke. Find our guide to thank you notes here.
  • If a recruiter gave you specific instructions, be sure to follow through on those items and then follow up with the recruiter.
  • Unable to send a thank-you note for lack of contact information? Stay connected with social media: find the company or even the person you spoke with on LinkedIn or Twitter. Follow their feeds to stay up to date with new openings and other news!

Students interviewing

If you were unable to attend Mock Interview Day, be on the lookout for future opportunities to engage with employers and don’t miss the spring CO-OP + CAREER Fair on March 19th, 2019. Check WITworks as we get closer to the Spring Fair for updates on employers attending.

Employers, invitations for the spring CO-OP + CAREER Fair on March 19th will be sent out in the new year.

Thank you to all students and employers who joined us on November 1st to conduct practice interviews. We look forward to seeing everyone in the spring!

How to WORK the CO-OP + CAREER Fair

By: Caitlin Brison

Image of a smiling leopard.
TFW you nail the CO-OP + CAREER Fair

An approach for everyone, whether you are low-key or EXTRA!

Low Key EXTRA
RESEARCH
  • Find the list of employers attending on the “Fairs App” and research the ones that interest you.
  • Look to see if they have positions posted so you can find out more.
  • Create a spreadsheet, categorizing employers into A, B, and C lists.
  • Write down a few questions you might ask them at the fair. Refer to them before each conversation.
RESUME
  • Write, review, and edit your resume.
  • Come to Drop-Ins to make sure it is ready for the Career Fair.•  Print out 10-20 copies and tuck them in a folder to hand out.
  • Make an appointment with your CO-OP + CAREER Advisor to go over your Resume.
  • Print 10-20 copies and carry them in a professional padfolio.• Make your own business cards.
PLAN
  • The plan is to go, shake some hands, meet some employers, ask good questions, and hand out some resumes.  Go with it!
  • Locate the employer booths on the Fairs App ahead of time and map out your route.
  • Maybe talk to a couple employers on your C list to start before moving on to your first choices!
DRESS
  • Gather your professional attire.
  • Visit WITwear to borrow any items you may still need!
  • Iron, steam, fresh haircut!  Look your best.
  • Also…visit WITwear to borrow any items you need!
PITCH
  • Build a 30-second pitch and practice it in the mirror so you come across relaxed and professional.
  • Practice a firm handshake.
  • Record yourself and watch it back.  Be mindful of eye contact, fidgets, and filler (“um, like”).
  • Pitch with a friend and practice your handshakes!
THANK YOU
  • Shake their hand and thank them for their time answering your questions and speaking to you.
  • Collect business cards so you can write thank you notes the next day.
  • If they requested your application electronically – pass it along or let them know you applied!

Check out ALL our helpful guides on resumes, networking, pitches, and more on our website: https://coopsandcareers.wit.edu/resources/

Fall 2018 WITwear Hours: Mon – Thurs 5 PM – 8 PM, Fri 10 AM – 3 PM
Fall 2018 All Day Resume Drop-ins: Fri 9/28 & Mon 10/1 10 AM – 4 PM
CO-OPS + CAREERS Office + Douglas D Schumann Library & Learning Commons

Make an appointment with your Co-op + Career Advisor by calling the front desk at 617 989 4101.

Informational Interviewing

By: Ria Kalinowski

Networking is a crucial, and often underutilized, method for finding your next job or co-op. Informational interviewing is a form of networking that helps you gain valuable connections and insight into your target industry. Learn about company culture, what tools, skills, and/or certifications are essential to the industry, and how influential people got where they are.

Decorative Image

Where do I start?

Create a list of target companies where you would like to work. Use the “People also viewed” feature on LinkedIn company pages or the “Similar Companies Nearby” feature on Buzzfile to create a list of companies that you are interested in learning more about. Find professionals at those companies or similar companies that hold positions of interest on company websites or LinkedIn. Use the “See alumni” tool on Wentworth’s LinkedIn page to find contacts with whom you already have something in common. You can also conduct informational interviews with professors, friends, family members, or colleagues or ask them for recommendations of people to speak with. 

How do I reach out?

Connect with people you want to speak with through email, LinkedIn, or over the phone. Use emails4corporations to find people’s email addresses. You can ask to connect with people on LinkedIn with a tailored message or message them directly if you are members of the same group. Use the Informational Interviewing handout and the Informational Interview Email Samples handout for guidance on what to say. 

How do I prepare?

As an informational interview is a chance for you to get advice, you will be asking the majority of the questions. Thoroughly research the company and person you will be meeting with to ask intelligent questions. Explore their website, their social media channels, and any current news stories about them. Don’t ask questions that you can answer with a quick Google search. Ask open-ended questions and follow the TIARA Framework (Trends, Insights, Advice, Resources, Assignments) to allow your connection to talk about themselves. Asking questions in this order “maximizes the chance that that stranger becomes an advocate by the end of the conversation”[1].

What does an informational interview look like?

An informational interview usually lasts 20-30 minutes. Don’t take up too much of your connection’s time and make the location convenient to them as they are doing you a favor. Although it is best to meet with them in-person, informational interviews can also happen over Skype or the phone. In-person meetings help you to make a more lasting impression so remember to dress and behave professionally. Oftentimes, you will meet at your connection’s place of business which gives you more opportunity to view the company culture first hand. Have your most recent resume with you but don’t give it to them unless they ask. Remember: you are not there to ask for a job, just to ask for advice! Ask them your questions, take good notes, and don’t go over the time limit that was set. Thank them at the end, ask to stay connected with them over LinkedIn, and see if they are willing to recommend anyone else that you can contact for additional advice.

What next?

Using the notes that you took, send a thank you note within 24 hours. Reference something you spoke about or a resource they wanted you to check out. Attach your resume to the email, if you hadn’t already had a chance to provide it, asking for their feedback. Make sure to follow-up with the resources, assignments, or contacts that they provided to you. Set a recurring monthly calendar alert to reconnect with the individual and mention how their advice has helped you.

Over time, you will develop a network of people who you can reach out to when it is time to conduct your next co-op or job search. You will also gain valuable information about what direction to take your career and what it takes to get there.

[1] Informational Interviewing with Steve Dalton: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FsUm5noXEM

Picture Source: wikiHow

 

Acing Your Phone Interview

By: Ria Kalinowski

So, you’ve been contacted for a phone interview. Congratulations! What do you do? What will it be like? How do you prepare? Keep reading to find out!

Purpose of Phone Interviews

The purpose of most phone interviews is for initial screening. Employers have chosen several candidates from the pile of applications they received and want to narrow down who will be invited for in-person interviews. They save time (both yours and theirs) by reaching out to you by phone. These conversations are typically short but can last anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour. Depending on the company, you could be speaking with a representative from human resources or the actual supervisor for the position. You may speak with one or more people.

Topics that could come up:

  • Tell me about yourself or Walk me through your resume.
  • What are you hoping for in terms of salary?
  • Describe your experience with ___________ (a skill they are looking for from the job description).
  • Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Why are you leaving your current position (if you are currently employed)?

How to Prepare

Practice answering possible interview questions with a friend, in the mirror, or with your Co-op + Career Advisor. A list of commonly asked interview questions for both co-op and full-time positions as well as a guide to interviewing can be found on our resources webpage: https://wit.edu/coopsandcareers/cooperative-education/co-op-resources.

Conduct research about the company so you understand what they do and why you are interested in working with them. Be ready to answer the questions, “why do you want to work here?” or “what do you know about the company?”. Spend some time on their webpage as well as on their social media channels. Understanding what they care about and how they convey that will give you insight into the company culture.

It’s also a good idea to do some research about the person or people interviewing you if you have that information. A human resources representative will ask very different questions than the supervisor for the position.

At the end of the interview, there will be time for you to ask questions as well. Make sure to have a list of 10-12 questions to ask in case some of them get answered during the interview, however, you will only want to ask three to four questions so as not take up too much time. Do not ask questions that can be answered by a simple google search. Ask specific questions about the position, company, or projects you will be working on. A list of general questions to ask can be found on our interviewing handout.

How to Handle the Salary Question

Be prepared to deal with possible questions about your salary requirements. Use resources such as Glassdoor.com, Salary.com, or the salary feature that is part of a job search on LinkedIn to determine a suitable range for the position, your experience, and the geographical region. Check to see if a salary range is mentioned in the job description. Questions about salary during a phone interview are usually just to make sure you and the employer are on a similar page. If asked, avoid stating a specific figure. Instead, ask if there is a salary range for the position. Then you can say, “I’m sure we can negotiate a mutually agreeable salary within that range once I am offered a position.” If pressed, give a range based on your research.

During the Interview

Have a copy of your resume in front of you as well as the job description. Make sure you are in a quiet space where you will not be interrupted and you won’t lose cell phone service. Without visual and body language cues, phone interviews rely heavily on the content of your answers, and your ability to project enthusiasm and interest in your voice. Smile (even though they can’t see you) and make listening noises to show you are engaged. Stay focused and listen to what they are saying. It may be helpful to have a pen and paper available to take notes. Take a breath between questions and your answers in order to compose your thoughts.

Don’t Forget To…

Thank everyone you spoke with at the end of the interview and make sure you have their email addresses. You will need to send a personalized thank you email to each person you spoke with. Ask about the timeline for the hiring process, what the next steps will be, or when you can expect to hear back from them. This helps you decide how long to wait before following up if you do not hear back within the timeframe they give you. Be confident! They have asked to speak with you because they think you would be a good fit for the position. Tell them why they are right.

Additional Resources

Follow-up Thank You Email Handout: http://bit.ly/2tqjvb7
Top 5 Interview Tips: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GqTlDZ-WTw

Mock Interview Day 2017

By: Chawney Weis & Abbey Pober

Our annual Mock Interview Day was held on Tuesday, November 7th from 3:00pm – 6:00pm in Watson Auditorium. The day consisted of four rounds of 45 minute interviews conducted by 57 employer volunteers from multiple companies across industries. In total, 128 students participated in 216 interviews, providing two practice interviews on average per student. Many of the employers will be inviting students back for formal interviews.

If you are a student who attended Mock Interview Day last week your next steps should be to follow up with employers by:

-Sending a thank you email to the employers with whom you spoke. Find our guide to thank you notes here.
-If a recruiter gave you specific instructions, be sure to follow through on those items and then follow up with the recruiter.
-Unable to send a thank-you note for lack of contact information? Stay connected with social media: find the company or even the person you spoke with on LinkedIn or Twitter. Follow their feeds to stay up to date with new openings and other news!

If you were unable to attend Mock Interview Day, be on the lookout for future opportunities to engage with employers and don’t miss the spring CO-OP + CAREER Fair on March 20th, 2018. Check The Fairs App as we get closer to the Spring Fair for updates on employers attending.

Employers, invitations for the spring CO-OP + CAREER Fair on March 20th will be sent out in the new year.

Thank you to all students and employers who joined on November 7th to conduct practice interviews. We look forward to seeing everyone in the spring!

How to answer the “greatest weakness” question.

By: Becky Smith

Sometimes a painful moment arises in an interview: My pulse is racing, my palms are sweaty, and my grasp on my vocabulary is slipping. Now you want me to talk about my greatest weakness? Really?

Why do hiring managers ask about weaknesses, anyway?

Employers want to know what strengths you can contribute, and what you could do better.
Prior to the interview, hiring managers have only read about you. The interview is their chance to meet you and evaluate what you could provide in the role for which you are interviewing. Your skills, interests and experience are part of the picture, but they also want to know what you are working on improving or learning.

They want to know how you perceive and overcome challenges. It’s a way to get to know you as a person!

Experienced recruiters and managers know that work is called work because it can be challenging!
You interviewers are not toying with you. They are not trying to trick you. They want you to talk about your greatest weakness because it gives them an opportunity to observe a few things about you: how you perceive challenges, how you problem solve, and your capacity to learn from your mistakes.

So…. Don’t just choose any weakness. Be prepared with an example that demonstrates growth.

Weaknesses don’t just go away. They may stick around forever. But we can develop strategies to overcome them so that they diminish little by little!

What is a weakness that you possess, that you can manage now, and that used to pose a much more significant barrier to your success? Use it to craft a story that is one part honesty, and one part success!

What is a weakness that embarrasses you or that you would have a hard time expressing positively? Do NOT share this one. (All are uncomfortable to a certain extent but some are things we really don’t want to talk about!)

How: Name the weakness. Briefly describe how it affects your performance at work or at school in the present. Briefly describe how it was in the past — either at jobs or in your school work — and tell your interviewer what you do to manage your weakness.

For example:

[Name the weakness and how it affects you in the present] I am shy when I need to speak in public or when I am meeting new people. I have worked on this shyness at Wentworth, where I have done group projects every semester with my classmates and we have presented our results in front of classrooms.

[The past] A couple of years ago I was so shy that I didn’t ask any questions or share ideas, and I tried to completely avoid attention. This made it difficult for me to work on group projects at school because I had a hard time expressing my ideas and sometimes I would be slow to communicate about important updates or changes that my group needed to be aware of.

[What you have learned/your strategies] I really just needed practice. Now when I feel stopped by my shyness, I remind myself how important it is to keep communicating so the work can move forward. That motivates me. I have also learned that it is helpful to prepare in advance for public speaking.

Disclosing a weakness will never be 100% comfortable. But prepare for it. You will impress yourself and others.

Knowing your weakness makes you a stronger team member and your ability to express it is a strength that will make you stand out as an especially self-aware job candidate. By talking articulately about a weakness, you will provide a glimpse of who you really are as a human being – and hiring managers make time to meet with you because they want this glimpse! Work with your Co-op Advisor for help getting started or to get feedback on a weakness you are preparing to discuss.