Archive for the ‘Interviewing’ Category

An Employer Perspective by Skye Bigari, Talent Acquisition–Galileo Camps


 You’ve researched the company, found a job that you really want, adjusted your resume to highlight your complementary skills, and taken a big leap by applying for your dream position. Now, you have an interview scheduled and the excitement is brewing, but how should you bring your best self to this crucial next step? Galileo receives thousands of applications annually and, like many companies, our team has an intentional approach for hiring the best.  Here’s how we do it, and how you can wow your next interviewer.

First, realize that your interview is a two way street. This is an opportunity for you to strut your stuff, and at the same time, a chance for your potential employer to show you why their company and mission are relevant.

My career with Galileo started as a summer job—a way for a wide-eyed boy from Colorado to stay in San Francisco for the summer and take in all that the big city had to offer. I felt immediately connected to Galileo’s mission to develop innovators, and when I received an invitation for an in-person interview, I was downright terrified.  I pictured a panel interview at a big round table with a bunch of bigwigs judging my every word and move. Turns out, it wasn’t that at all. There were camp activities, challenges, and a one-on-one interview.  In that short amount of time, I fell in love with Galileo. And I really wanted them to fall in love with me, too.

After nine year in various roles at Galileo, I can look back on that initial interview and see what actually made Galileo say yes to me. I’m going to share a few recruiter tips that may help you nail your next interview—especially if it’s for the Galileo team!

We know that our teams have enormous impact on our success. That’s why our hiring philosophy is inspired by and firmly rooted in our core company values. The phases of our process are primarily designed to explore a candidate’s alignment with our mission.  The interview process is an opportunity to reflect on and discuss past examples which exhibit these values—being visionary, courageous, collaborative, determined, and reflective.

Candidates we hire are:

  • Courageous: Participatory, fun, willing to step up, and willing to take personal risks.
  • Determined: Take initiative, improve what exists, and solve problems.
  • Collaborative: Able to work well with others, desire to support and are positive.
  • Visionary: Dedicated and mission-aligned. They want to do the work we do.
  • Reflective: Feedback-oriented; listening to feedback with a level of curiosity and openness.

When interviewing, my colleagues and I observe how candidates demonstrate these attitudes and traits. Here are some examples of how candidates showcase these skills:

  • The person who comes in and introduces themselves to other candidates
  • The person who picks up a piece of trash on the floor that wasn’t theirs
  • Someone that shares their ideas freely and listens when others do the same.
  • A candidate who gets genuinely excited when we discuss our mission, and how their role would serve that very mission and our campers.

These traits are valuable not just to us, but at so many forward-thinking companies. And if you find yourself particularly drawn to the Galileo mission and workplace I’ve described, we’d love to learn more about you! Check out our unparalleled summer experiences here.

skye galileo


Skye Bigari is a Galileo Camp Director in San Francisco during the summers, and an avid talent seeker for Galileo Camps throughout the rest of the year.


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Student Perspective by: Michael Ching

Freshman year can be TOUGH. As a former freshman, I can tell you that it is a time filled with excitement, curiosity, and most of all, rigorous coursework. At the time, thinking about a career, let alone a job, was the last thing on my mind. Some common phrases I used, included:

“I don’t have time for internships. I have too much work.”

“I have no idea on what I want to major in, let alone find an internship.”

Or my personal favorite: “No one is going to hire me; I don’t have any work experience!”

Fortunately, the SJSU Career Center is here to help students get internships as well as know more about career related skills and opportunities. It is an extremely valuable resource to all students, especially incoming freshman and transfers.

Their mission is to help students create meaningful lives by providing the tools to guide students in identifying their strengths and goals, market their unique skills, and obtain relevant real world experience. Here are their top 5 services that I feel have the biggest impact on supporting incoming students in starting their careers:

  1. SpartaJobs: Access Thousands of Jobs and Internships at Your Fingertips

At some point in your college life, you will need/want a job and want to know what opportunities there are in the job market. SpartaJobs is a job and internship database found on the career center website that contains thousands of opportunities for SJSU students. All job types can be found in SpartaJobs including: Internships, full and part time jobs, on-campus jobs, seasonal and even work study.  You don’t have to be a senior to start checking out what jobs and internships are available.  All you need to login is your 9-digit tower card number (as your username & as your password) and your in!

  1. Career Workshops/Online Resources: Learn the Career Hacks to Land You A Job

The Career Center provides many workshops/webinars both in person and  online to help students in their career exploration. Workshops give you the tips you need to build a great resume, develop interviewing skills (i.e. Big interview), and learn strategies to connect with employers successfully, all from the comfort of your home, dorm, or local coffee shop. Check out the latest topics and tips on our virtual resource page.

  1. Major and Career Exploration: Figure Out What You Want To Do With Your Life

We have all been there. Being unsure of your major is a big issue that all first year students face. If you aren’t sure where to start, check out our online tutorial, “Choosing a Major at SJSU in Under 5 minutes”. Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, set up an appointment with a career consultant to help you review your career options and develop a job search plan.

If you’ve pick a major but just don’t know what types of jobs are related to that major, then check out the “What Can I Do With This Major” tool, and discover all of the opportunities that you could pursue.

  1. Job & Internship Fairs: Connect With Employers Without Leaving Campus

So, you’ve polished your resume, have been coached in the secret and complex art of interviewing, and now want to get started on landing your dream job. Your next step is attending one of the many employer connection events hosted by the Career Center.  We offer multiple job fairs throughout the year to help students get connected with hundreds of recruiters both nationally and globally to launch your career/internship journey. The Career Center also provides drop in interviews for students who want to have a one on one with hiring employers.

  1. Challenging Situations: Professionals Who Advocate For You

Whether you are an international student feeling like you need some extra assistance, or a student with a need for accommodations, the Career Center staff is here to help.  There are professionals on staff to help with almost every unique situation, including how to disclose a disability, accommodation requests, and veterans’ services.

So from a seasoned Spartan to all the new Spartans on campus, I welcome you, wish you a great year and hope to see you at the Career Center!  We’re here to help and make your transition to the university and the world of work a lot smoother and stress free.  Be sure to stay connected and get the most updated career information and trends by following the SJSU Career Center on this blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 michael chingMichael Ching is an intern for the SJSU Career Center, supporting the Job Internship Initiative Group. Michael is currently a senior at San Jose state University. His background in Business Marketing gives him a unique perspective when focusing on Marketing campaigns, social media, and innovative ideas in working and understanding students with where they are at with career education.


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by Richard Saroyan, Career Consultant

treat-to-self-2Welcome back SJSU students! Now that we’re back in the swing of things, you’re probably wondering to yourself what you can do to help get  your career on track. If you weren’t, that’s ok too. But somehow, someway, you came across this entry. That’s pretty awesome in itself. So, while you’re here, why not check out some helpful tips to get you on your way towards earning a volunteer position, internship, or a job.

Tip 1: Connect with all the virtual stuff. 

This is the easiest part. Go to our new and improved website. Check out all the great resources that we offer. Are you on SpartaJobs yet? Not sure what SpartaJobs is? Not a problem. It’s our job and internship database that is just for SJSU students and registered alumni. Yep, it’s just for you, and it’s got over 1350 positions posted. In addition, you also get information on various events related to your major and/or occupational interests. What’s an example, you might ask? How about an information session where a company that you’re interested in comes to the career center to answer your questions and potentially interview you for a position. Pretty cool, huh?


No, we won’t take bribes to get you in the Expo early.

Tip 2: View our Job Fair Success Webshop.

Not only will the webshop help better prepare you to mingle with employers, but after you complete it you also get Early Bird Access (you can come in at noon) for the Job and Internship Expo on Tuesday, February 26th. If you took the Job Fair Success Webshop last semester (Fall 2012), you already qualify for Early Bird Access! Could that be any easier? Nope.

Tip 3: Utilize the Career Center.

aboutus_index_newstaff660Connect with a career consultant here on campus! Trust me when I tell you that we all love what we do. Seriously. It makes us happy to help others. That’s how we roll. Our career professionals specialize by the various majors and departments here on campus and can provide a whole bunch of services including writing a resume/cover letter, choosing a major, how to look for a job/internship, interview techniques, and much more.

Some of you might be thinking to yourselves “Oh no, I totally should have started this process a long time ago!” If you are, you’re not alone. Calmly focus on the things that you can do now (ahem…see above tips), to get yourself moving forward. Treat yo self!

richard bio picRichard is a Career Consultant with the Career Center and the WorkAbility IV program which focuses on assisting students with disabilities. He recently completed his M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Santa Clara University, and previously worked in marketing for the videogame industry. Richard enjoys working with students on all career related topics.

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Synopsis by Sheree Pettigrew, Employment Specialist Intern

For those of you who missed Grad Blast 2012, we wanted to share insights that employers from, Enterprise Rent a Car, Plantronics, Robert Half International (Accountemps), Sybase, Target, and Volt Workforce Solutions, made about five key questions on successfully landing a job in a competitive environment.

What makes a resume stand out?  It was agreed that skill set, experience, GPA (if it’s above 3.0), format, no errors and honors etc., were all very important but what puts a candidate over the top is showing your personality.  They look at the whole person, personality/character 80% and skills 20%.   Give examples of your uniqueness, perhaps by mentioning the volunteer work you do.  In addition, update your resume every six months, create a master resume, (use the most relevant information to the job description) and keep a professional journal including tools you used, projects and continuing education. Check out these additional resume examples.

Should you use an objective or subject line on your resume?  If you are applying for a specific job or sending it to the hiring manager, then yes.  It’s not needed if you include a summary statement listing your skills that are related to the role you are applying for.  Or just leave it out altogether and write a rockin cover letter.

What key things are you looking for in a phone interview?  First is accessibility. An employer schedules a select  time out of their day to contact candidates.  For example, if  35 posted positions will bring 2,700 applicants (out of 2,700 applicants, typically 1500 are viable candidates) it is imperative that the recruiter be able to contact viable candidates efficiently.  If an employer can’t reach you, it is possible that you will get cut off the list given the volume of candidates that must be contacted.  Always leave a specific time for them to call!

Be prepared; choose a quiet place to talk, no pets, kids or chewing. Stand up and smile, they can tell.  Practice by being able to answer questions with specific examples (like the time you led a team, gave a presentation, resolved a client issue etc.) and be able to elaborate on your experience.  Be ready to describe the role you applied for and research the company so you can ask great questions.

Student Questions for the Employer Panel:

  • What attire do you expect a student to wear to an interview?

 A dark suit, professional dress, jacket, ladies cover up!  Dress for the position higher than the one you’re applying for.  Take out piercings, cover tattoos, no big jewelry, purses, and conservative nails.  Fit into the culture, when in doubt, ask.

  • Should I disclose a disability in an interview?   Wait until an offer is made. (You can learn more about disclosure and requesting accommodations through the Workability IV program at the career center)
  • What are the key things you look for during the interview?

Be present, listen carefully and answer the questions, don’t say what you think an employer wants to hear.  Bring a note pad and pen, a positive attitude, enthusiasm, and good communication.  Be human, the conversation goes both ways.  Treat everyone in the vicinity with respect, the interview starts as soon as you walk into the organization.  If English isn’t your first language, speak slow and clear.  Be prepared to answer common questions like:  Tell me about yourself,  Describe your greatest impact or contribution to a project.

  • Should you send a thank you after an interview?

Yes, within 24 hours.  It also helps branding and builds a relationship–a hand written thank you is appreciated.  At the end of the interview, ask what the time frame is to follow up or what the next steps are.  Do join social networks, 80% of jobs are found through networking and by word of mouth.  *All employers on the panel checked LinkedIn but not all checked Facebook.  Bottom line is, don’t write, say or do anything you don’t want made public!

All Grad Blast employers are currently hiring and they agreed that the job market in Silicon Valley is looking up!  Check SpartaJobs to apply. 

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Contribution by : Megan Bradley

Group interviews can seem like a scary prospect if you don’t know what to expect.  But with the right attitude and preparation, you can greatly increase your chances of standing out.

The purpose of a group interview is to filter through a high volume of candidates and to assess for certain social/interpersonal skills.  Most group interviews serve as a first round assessment and are followed by a round of individual interviews. I recently led a group interview process to hire Resident Advisors.  With nearly 70 candidates for 6 positions, the most efficient way to interview was in a group scenario.  For these positions, essential skills needed were teamwork, communication and conflict resolution, so observing candidates in a group situation helped us assess for those specific skills.

Candidates were given a list of tasks they may face as a Resident Advisor and asked to rank them in order of importance.  They were then asked to sit in a group of 12-14 and come to a group consensus on the appropriate order.  While candidates went through this process the interview committee observed the interactions and communication style of each candidate.   

 Applicants that stood out to me were the ones who actively spoke up and could articulate their opinion to the group.  If they were confronted with a disagreeing opinion, I took note of how they dealt with conflict and if they could come to an agreement with the opposing team member. On the reverse side, however, I paid attention to who spoke up too much.  Those that dominated the conversation or did not have the ability to compromise raised some red flags.  Lastly, I noted those people that were active listeners when they were not talking.  Interviewees that were engaged with their body language (e.g. eye contact with the speaker, nodding in agreement) were memorable.

While group interviews can vary in process, preparation can help.  Here are some key tips for preparation:

  1. Develop key examples of times that you excelled in team situations.  This can include group projects, volunteer work or internships.
  2. Be aware of your communication style. Talk to peers, professors or friends who can provide feedback on your style and strengths.  If you tend to talk a lot, consider stepping back a bit during the group interview.  If you tend to be more on the quiet side, challenge yourself to speak more.
  3. Don’t forget the importance of body language. Show that you are engaged in the interview even when you are not speaking.
  4. Practice! You can always make an appointment with a career counselor to practice and discuss some of the scenarios that may come up in a group interview.


Megan Bradley is a Career Counselor Graduate Intern at San José State University and an Assistant Resident Director at Santa Clara University.  She is currently in her last year of the Counseling Masters Program at SCU.

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Since many students and new graduates are applying for jobs and internships this summer we have been checking in with various employers on their tips for success in landing these coveted positions.  Today’s tips come from Voce Communications, a marketing and communications consultancy based in Sunnyvale.  As an organization that offers internships and career opportunities to new graduates, they have seen some less than professional behavior during the interview process and have shared some examples to help you AVOID these circumstances and find success in the interview process. 

10 Interviewing Don’ts!  Tips from Voce Communications

We saw a post written last week by a PR colleague named Buck talking about a particularly poor interview experience he had. This really hit home with us because as members of the recruiting committee here at Voce, part of our job is to screen and interview applicants. Lately we’ve been focused on filling internship positions and have definitely noticed that some students are better prepared than others.

After we saw Buck’s follow-up post on 10 Don’ts for PR job applicants, we thought it would helpful to give some additional tips to students, based on our experience, that will help them in their interviews. In fact, given the current state of the economy, we know there are a lot of students out there searching for jobs in PR, so we decided to do a short summer series focused on the topic. Over the next few weeks you’ll see a couple more posts from us focused on giving students tips on getting into the industry. Today we start with some things to keep in mind NOT to do in a PR interview. (more…)

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We recently invited Kelli Greene, University Recruiting Program Manager at Yahoo! to share her insight and perspective as an employer on the importance of the phone interview. 

It has become more common for employers to use telephone interviews (also known as phone screens) as a way of conducting first round interviews with candidates.  Phone interviews are often used to give the recruiter a better understanding of a candidate’s qualifications.

 A phone interview could be conducted by a recruiter, but are also widely used when a hiring manager requests multiple team members to speak with a candidate.  This gives the hiring manager a more complete perspective and greatly assists with the hiring decision.

 They are sometimes used as a way to reduce recruiting costs, or if a recruiting team is unable to travel due to project deadlines and/or travel restrictions. The practice of phone interviews are widely used and should not be misunderstood as a “short cut” in the recruiting process as valuable information is gathered during that first conversation. 

 A phone interview is truly your first chance to make a great impression!

 Prepare for Your Phone Interview

 While you are active in your job search, you should always be prepared for a phone interview.  A recruiter or hiring manager could call at a moment’s notice and want to spend a few minutes gathering preliminary information.  Here are a few tips to help you feel prepared for your phone interview: (more…)

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