by Moira Srago, M.A.
As we get closer to the end of the school year, you may be wrapping up your job/internship search, or you may just be getting started. Regardless of where you are in the process, it’s important to maintain your reputation with the employers with whom you are interviewing – Silicon Valley is a small place, and you never know where you might bump into that recruiter or hiring manager again! With that said, here are the top 5 ways to ensure that whatever the outcome of your job search you come out the other side looking great!
1. Provide accurate information: It may be tempting to round up your GPA from a 3.15 to a 3.2, or to exaggerate a little bit on what your role was in that class project, but remember, employers will be asking behavioral interview questions to get a sense of what you did, and how you developed the skills you have. It will eventually come out that you may not have all the skills you say you have. That will cast doubt on the rest of your resume, and that doubt could cost you the job. Be honest about the skills you have, and prepare to discuss how you will develop the other skills needed to do the job. You don’t need to know how to do everything right off the bat; training and mentorship on the job can help you learn too!
2. Accept interviews for positions you are genuinely interested in: You may be called for many different interviews. In a challenging job market it might be appealing to accept an interview just for “practice” or because you are concerned you may not get any other interviews. Prior to accepting the interview, ask yourself: if you were offered the position with this company would you really consider accepting? If the answer is no, be respectful of the employer’s time and politely decline. There may be another candidate out there who is truly interested in that position and that employer who could use the interview slot.
3. Show up for the interview on time: Be on time for your interview the day of, and be careful not to show up more than 10 minutes early. The agenda for the day is pre-planned and a recruiter or a hiring manager will want to adjust to accommodate your early arrival, throwing off the rest of their morning. If you happen to get to the company more than 10 minutes early, use the time in your car to review your resume, take a few deep breaths, and get mentally prepared for your interview.
4. Treat everyone in the organization respectfully: The day of your interview you are meeting with many different people in the organization, whether you speak with them or not. Did you know that hiring managers and recruiters often ask their Office Manager or Receptionist what their impression of the candidate was while he or she was waiting to be interviewed? Be authentic and aware of how you interact with different people on the day of your interview. Even if you don’t get the job, you may interview with that organization or that recruiter in the future and your actions that day will be remembered.
5. Accept the job offer in good faith: A question that sometimes comes up is “I accepted an offer and then the next day an organization I really wanted to work for called and wants to interview me for a better position. Can I take the interview?” Accepting an interview after you have already committed to another organization is not ethical. But outside of that, consider the reverse situation. What if an employer had offered you a job, you had accepted, and the employer then called you back and let you know their first choice candidate was able to accept after all and rescinded their job offer? What would you think of that organization? The same applies to you as a job seeker.
Remember, Silicon Valley is a small place; you never know who may be interviewing you for your next job or internship! Treat the recruiter and the organization the way you would like to be treated, and you can’t go wrong! If you get stuck or aren’t sure what to do come in to the Career Center and ask for advice. We can help you weigh your options, process your decision and think about next steps. We’re here to help you succeed!
Moira Srago, M.A.
Moira is the Employment Specialist in the Career Center for the College of Engineering and the College of Science. She has a background in Human Resources and has been working in the field of Career Development since 2007. Her areas of specialty include resume building, job search, and interviewing. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from UC Santa Cruz, and Masters in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in Career Development from Santa Clara University.