Don’t Make the Mistake of Wearing a Suit

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I  learned that Google thinks it’s perfectly fine to wear jeans and t-shirts to interviews for positions in the company. The company culture dictates that you should be relaxed and your attire should reflect  your personal level of comfort. This is contrary to what I thought I knew about appropriate dress for an interview. This essentially means a student in a suit may be have been perceived as inappropriately dressed  when interviewing with Google.  Yet  I know of student who  interviewed for Google in a suit and was extended an offer for a summer internship.  He told me that he was instructed to dress in attire that he felt comfortable.   The position for which he interviewed was in business to business sales.

While a conservative (not black) suit is considered ideal, companies such as Google remind us that a suit is not the only option. It is crucial that you research the companies in which you have an interest. Learn as much as you can about the company culture BEFORE you interview, because you don’t want to make the mistake of wearing a suit when jeans and a t-shirt will be just fine.

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8 Semesters, Not Four Years

Think in terms of semesters, not years

Four years sounds like a long time.  8 semesters  sounds far more fleeting.  8 semesters give or take one or two additional semesters is the amount of time that  the majority of college students have. You want to spend this time creating experiences for yourself that you can add to your resume and  discuss during the job interview.   There are far too many activities, clubs and programs at most schools for you to spend that time just going to class.  It is your responsibility to use that time wisely.  In many ways that means you will develop yourself holistically into a candidate that employers will want to hire.  Dont’ waste time by thinking that you have alot of time. You will learn soon that those 8 semesters go by very quickly. Spend the time you do have getting most of your college experience.  This means getting involved in ways that are meaningful.

Go Even If It Doesn’t Relate To Your Major

Courtesy goBrooklynart

Courtesy goBrooklynart

Are you the student who ONLY attends events that targets your major?  For instance, if your major isn’t in the title of the event  you  don’t show up or if your major isn’t mentioned in the job description you don’t apply.  Unless an event or program specifically bars your attendance or participation I’d like for you to consider using every  recruiting activity on your school’s campus as a way to showcase your brand and learn about the various opportunities that companies offer.  Events and activities are a good way for you to practice communicating your message.  The more events you attend the better you get at meeting people and expanding your personal contact network.  You may also be exposed to  new industries and companies and ways to utilize your major that  you not have previously considered.  Don’t limit your job search experience by simply focusing on events that apply to your major.  Think outside of the box and expand your horizons just a bit by participating in something that doesn’t seem to relate to  your  area of study; you may uncover an area that becomes a new interest.

Summer Vacation A Great Time to Prepare for the Fall

It’s summer vacation and many of you are either in an internship or working  in various areas (retail, bartending, serving).   Summer vacation is a great time to plan and prepare your self marketing strategies for the Fall.

Begin to think strategically about where you wish to be hired during the upcoming recruiting season and create a concrete plan to target those organizations.  Build relationships within  and outside of your  business unit and organization.  Research companies  and individuals of interests and develop contacts.   Seek advice or suggestions from indviduals who are currently in a role that  you find interesting.    Remember to update your resume.

S.T.A.R. In Your Interview

Be an Interview Star

How many times have you been on an interview and an employer has asked you a question that begins with something like “Give me an example when you had a difficult time with a customer how did you manage it?”  Or maybe the question sounded something like “Describe a time when you applied effective time management.”    These questions are behavioral based and the premise is that if you can provide concrete specific examples of how you addressed  past challenges that will give employers some insight on your performance in the future.   The key to a successful response is to use S.T.A.R.   This stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result.

  • Situation- Describe the Situation.
  • Task- What problem did you face?
  • Action- How did you address the problem? .
  • Result- What was the result of your action?  .

Responders tend to be  very vague however interviewers want something specific.

Take a look at the responses in bold below to a question about dealing with difficult customers:

SITUATION –  What problem did you face?- As a server in a restaurant I had an issue with a customer who came in an ordered a meal .

TASK-  What problem did you face?- When I brought the meal out it was not prepared according to her specifications. The customer was irrate and she began to state that she would never return to the restaurant.  I sent it back to the kitchen and her meal was incorrectly prepared a second time. The customer was very upset. I did my best to calm her down and apologized for the mistake. I offered to try once more but she declined and agreed to eat the meal.

ACTION-  How did you address the problem? I realized the customer was upset and that the error was our fault so I asked my manager if I could provide her with a gift card to apologizee for our error and to encourage her to return to the restaurant. My manager agreed so I presented her with the gift card.

RESULT –  What was the result of your action?  The customer returned at another time and she actually requested me to be her server. She apologized for her past behavior stating that she was having a bad day at the time of her last visit.  I took special care during her second visit to ensure that  we got her order perfect and it was.  She also used her gift card to pay for her meal.

So next time you are asked for an example or to describe a stituation when something happened remember to use the STAR techique to answer the questions. What are some common behavioral-based interview questions that you’ve encountered?  Please share so that we can discuss the a great response.