Posts Tagged ‘Interviewing’

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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Contribution by:  Tam Pham 

For those who don’t know me that well, I am an extremely punctual person. Or at least I try to be. I used to always be late to everything: Boy Scout meetings, school, hangouts, badminton practices, events… I’ll always walk into the room late with my head down, usually with a bag of tacos in my hand, and try to avoid eye contact with everyone. It wasn’t until these last few years, I’ve made being on time one of my biggest priorities. But on the day of my recent job interview, disaster was ready to be unleashed.
A key component of being on time is preparation.
Before I sleep and when I wake up every morning, I spend ten minutes planning out my whole day or recapping on my whole day. So the night before, I hung my suit’s hanger on my door handle, placed my wallet, keys, watch, and chap stick on the table ready to be picked up the next morning. I set multiple alarms on my charging phone and even set up a back up alarm to wake me up at 8:00am. I planned that I would leave the house at 8:45am to go to Jamba Juice for breakfast and depart from Jamba Juice at 9:00am to arrive in Palo Alto at 10:00am and spend the remaining time before 10:30am to review my notes and interview questions. Sounds clear and simple, how hard can that be?
Everything was going according to plan until…
I hit freeway traffic. On my Google maps, it calculated that it’ll take 52 minutes to get from Jamba Juice to EPRI, so I thought since it was only 9:00am, that’ll be perfect! Once I entered the freeway, I was hitting bumper to bumper traffic for at least an hour… As time went on, the more nervous I became. The time struck 10:00am and I still had 10 more miles to exit the freeway. So I’m thinking to myself, calm down, everything will be okay.
I exit the freeway at 10:20 and I’m fumbling though my phone so I can memorize the directions ahead of time. At this point, I hit one of the worse feelings in my life, the feeling of being rushed. I park all the way in the back of 3240 Hillview Avenue, put on my coat that I left hanging in the back seat and scurry inside the building. 10:29am. I’m thinking to myself, things could be worse. And it was. It turns out, I was in the wrong building, the wrong address actually. The location was actually 3420 Hillview Avenue instead of 3240 Hillview Avenue…
Going to be tad late.
I email the HR coordinator on my way to the car saying I was going to be a tad late (calling would have been more effective). I start up my engine and speed a half mile across the traffic light to arrive at the entrance to the parking lot. The HR coordinator told me how EPRI and SAP shared some sort of sign so I assumed by pulling into SAP’s parking lot would make me secure. To my luck, visitor parking was full and at this point, I called Denise to tell her about my situation. She told me I could park anywhere I could find so I scurried in and out of the parking garages but it was absolutely packed… Zoomed in and out twice and of both garages and could not find an empty space until I spotted an employee walking out to her car. I think I could have seriously killed somebody by how reckless I was driving. I rushed to where she parked and sprinted inside SAP. 10:38am.
Not bad, this could be worse right?
Me: “Hi, I’m here to talk to Denise”
Receptionist: “Who?”
Me: “Denise, the HR Coordinator from EPRI?”
Other Receptionist: “You mean EPRI? That’s next door buddy you got the wrong place..”
Just imagine me in a suit with the wind blowing across my face sprinting next door for this interview. Luckily, the distance wasn’t that far from both buildings except the fact that I had to sprint uphill. I slow down to catch my breath before I walk in the door because at this point, I was completely out of breath. 10:45am? At least I showed up, I thought to myself.
Me: “Hi, (gasps for air) I’m here to see Denise!!!”
Receptionist: “Oh okay, and your name?”
Me: “Pham, Tam Pham.” (Imagine the most slick way to say this line, and that’s how I said it.) (Not really, I just said my name)
Denise came in to the front and escorted me to the meeting room.
Me: “I’m so sorry, asjdfklajsdk;fjasdjfjlk”
I begin to explain my situation and Denise cut me off and explained,
“It’s okay, a lot of our employees get lost the first time they come up here. Do you need any water or anything?”
I was touched about how caring she was despite the fact that I wasted her time.  After an hour of interviewing with three different people including Denise, I got a call a week later telling me that they want to offer me a job. I pinched myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.
Even if I didn’t receive the job, a lot can be learned from this experience.
  • Take 101N in the morning instead of 280N.
  • Get the right address down.
  • Keep the HR Coordinator’s phone number handy in your contacts list.
  • Always look at the bright side of things.
  • If the worst can happen, it definitely will happen.
  • Make the best out of every situation.

About Tam:

 My name is Tam Pham and I’m currently a freshman in a wonderful college known as San Jose State University. I’m studying Business Management and plan to pursue a minor in Sociology. At the end of the day, I believe in equality and social justice. I hope to go into a field where I’m able to change lives and make a difference either through service, projects, administration, or maybe education. I’m not sure exactly what I want to do with my career but I believe that I’m pretty good at making money, listening to other people’s stories/perspectives and interacting with them, and I possess a strong motive to ultimately benefit the world in a positive way. I also have a strong infatuation for Taco Bell but I am restricted in applying for their Marketing internships because they are stationed in Irvine… (Yes I checked).  You can check out what Tam is up to on his blog: mrtampham.blogspot.com

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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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Greetings SJSU students!

Some of you may be new to campus or the Career Center, while others may be quite familiar with what we do. Whether you are choosing a major, looking for an internship or full-time job, or you just need to know where to get started-we are here to help you. The spring semester is the time to get your career on track!

One of the ways that you can get current  information in addition to our website and facebook fan page is right here at our blog. We regularly post information and tips created by our counselors and employers who hire SJSU students. In addition, we provide quick links to some of our most popular resources and we also link to useful career web sites.

How you can maximize our blog:

  • Subscribe to our RSS feed to save time and stay informed. Read this article, if you don’t know what RSS is and how it can help you.
  • Use the comment section  to let us know what you like, dislike, and what you want more of. 

“What is posted on the SJSU Career Center blog?”

Check out this collection of our most popular posts that have been categorized into sections:

General Information:

Explanation of services and FAQ’s

Choosing a Major:

Does Major=Career?

Internship Information:

Learn about virtual internships

What’s your “Plan B”, if you didn’t get an internship?


10 Interviewing Don’ts from Voce Communications

Are you ready for the phone interview? (Kelli Greene , Yahoo recruiter)

Job Search:

The Art of asking for references

Key tips from employers to land the job you want! 

Student guest posts:

What I wish I knew back in school (Tracy Rosario, SJSU Alum)

SJSU student creates career opportunity ( Benjamin Hernandez, Advertising)


Job Search 2.0: Branding yourself for success workshop slides

Finding a job in a tough economy workshop slides

*Please note this list is a collection of previous posts-the dates, times, and events have passed. However, our calendar reflects the current spring slate of events.

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SJSU Job Fair
With two upcoming  job and internship fairs, we want to take the opportunity to address some common job fair myths in order to help you make the most of your job and internship search.

Myth: The last job fair I went to, the employers just told me to apply on-line, why bother going?” 

 Fact: At a job fair, if employers ask you to apply on-line do not get discouraged!  Many employers may have internal recruiting restrictions that require all candidates to apply on-line.  On-line applications enable employers to electronically and systematically keep track of all applicants as required by their Affirmative Action program.

 Job fairs provide you with an opportunity to meet face-to-face and make a connection with hiring managers and recruiters, if you make a good impression, they are more likely to remember you among the other applicants!  This is also a good time to ask the recruiter if there is someone you can follow-up with after submitting the application on-line. 

How can the Career Center help me? To make the best impact, take the time to research the companies and openings that interest you, revise your resume, and prepare your one minute commercial.   

Attend one of our Resume 101 or Interviewing Skills workshops to learn key tips on how to craft an effective resume along with proven strategies for navigating the interview process, see our calendar for more info.  Also, our online resume tool kit provides an overview on resume writing in only 8 minutes.  

 Myth: “With the crowds and long lines at the fair, I may only have a minute or so to talk with an employer – that is not enough time for the employer to assess candidates and for me to convey my qualifications!” (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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