This semester our Executive Vice President, Devanshi Shah, and the Pearls of Wisdom committee held the first ever annual WIB CON. Speakers Jennifer Pesce, Brand Director at Shobha, Ingrid Tineo, Acting Deputy Director at Baruch, and Pratima Mangar, Assets and Protection Team Leader at Target and prior Executive President of Women In Business, were invited to discuss the art of ‘Sealing the Deal’ in a job interview to a crowd of 150 eagerly awaiting WIB members.
Jennifer Pesce started off the convention with her topic: “How to prep for an interview”. She very aptly compares the research process of interview prepping with the early stages of online dating. Like with any potential date mate, every interviewee should scope out what their prospective employer is offering. Does this company have goals that align with mine? Are my strengths and accompanying weaknesses a good fit for the job description? Am I going to gain an ideal career experience working here?
Every interviewer is going to be looking for a candidate who has done their research on the company. Pesce asserts the question, “Why are you interested in Company X?” is guaranteed to come up in every interview no matter what field or profession you are looking to go into. Someone who can answer this without hesitation demonstrates that they are serious about joining the company.
Ingrid Tineo then spoke about how to secure an internship or job opportunity at a job fair or other networking opportunities. You want to make a connection and maintain a friendly relation with working professionals. As Tineo said, most of these people are surprisingly amicable to the thought of providing you with quick mentoring sessions. They were once trying to break into entry-level positions of internships themselves and can relate to how you feel. However, even knowing this tidbit of information may not calm down your nerves completely.
Anticipating this, Tineo brought two members from the Career Development Center up on stage to demonstrate the do’s and dont’s in a quick networking session. They simulated a meeting between a job fair attendee and a recruiter, first providing an example of an underprepared student, and then a well-researched and self-assured student. At one point, even a member of the audience was able to come up on stage and play into the recruiter and job seeker simulation.
Finally, the last speaker of the night, Pratima Mangar, spoke on the not so often touched upon topic on what to do after an interview. She calls this concluding period of the interview process ‘The Waiting Game’. So how do you win?
Well, Mangar breaks things down for us into increments of time. At the very end of your interview, right before you walk out the door, remember to ask your interviewer for his or her business card and the expected time frame in which he/she will respond with an offer or rejection (but, hopefully, an offer). Fifteen minutes after you leave the building call the friends, family, and mentors who helped you the most during the interview process and receive their feedback on how to proceed accordingly depending on how your interview went. They were a source of help before the interview, and now they can be of help once again.
Then, three hours later, consider performing a self-evaluation to determine which interview questions you had great success with and which interview questions you stumbled upon. It’s important to digest and outline your interview strengths and weaknesses. Also, make it a priority to research the position’s salary and culture in depth if you haven’t already done so.
Twenty-four hours later, make sure you send out a memorable thank you email. Be short and to the point, but also state what you’ve learned in the interview, a refresher on a personal connection you may have established with the interviewer, and a solid reminder on what you can bring to the table. After you hit send, DON’T PANIC! Now is the time to truly wait. Most mid to large sized companies will take up to 2 weeks to get back to you so don’t spam them with messages.
An excruciating amount of time later, you would have either been offered the job or received some bad news. In scenario one, make sure you get the offer in writing and understand your position, work station, job level, salary, benefits, employment status, and expected response time. You don’t want to enter into a contract that’s not beneficial for you. In scenario two, find acceptance, ask for feedback, and reflect on the process. It’s a good learning opportunity and if one of your friends just so happens to get an interview for the same company, make sure to pay your knowledge forward!