Another Chance for an OCR Interview (Reprise Edition)

By Barbara Hewitt

Ok – if any of you have stopped by the Career Services office in the last few weeks, you know it’s been BUSY! So busy, in fact, that I admit I haven’t had a chance to write my blog which is due today. So… given that it is the first day of internship interviewing, I thought I would reprise the blog I wrote a while ago, as it’s particularly relevant this week!

Here goes:

On-campus recruiting is in full swing and the OCR suite is humming with activity. Hopefully many Penn students seeking internships have been invited to interview with employers of interest to them. However, I’m confident there are also many students who have been disappointed by not receiving as many interview invitations as they had hoped. After devoting time and effort to networking with employers and submitting applications on PennLink, this can be a frustrating experience.

Penn is fortunate to attract many students who excel academically, in campus leadership positions, and in the broader community. Most employers who recruit at Penn (especially the larger, well-known ones) receive applications from many more students than they could possibly interview. We also all know that reviewing resumes is an imperfect tool for selecting which candidates might make the best “fit” for a particular organization. For these reasons, we strongly encourage students to take advantage of the recruiter add-on interview process, which allows students to be added to an interview schedule in the event that the interviewer has late cancellations on his or her schedule. (While employers tend not to have very many openings during the first few days of recruiting, it is much more common as the recruiting season progresses and students begin to accept offers with other employers.) If you are reasonably well-qualified for a position (based on the position description) it makes sense to try to get an “add-on” interview. You may really impress the recruiter in person and be offered the perfect job! I have had many conversations with students over the years who have landed positions through this process, and just last May a recruiter from an investment bank told us she hired three Penn students who had been late additions to her schedule through the add-on process.

Some of you may feel like it is not worth your time and effort to apply for add-on interviews if you weren’t selected for an interview initially. After all, who wants to be rejected twice? I urge you to reconsider this attitude. You might have been the next person they would have picked if they had more slots available. You never know what could happen… When I was searching for my first job out of graduate school, I treated myself to a two week trip to Africa right after graduation (and also while I was job searching). When I arrived home on a Saturday I was thrilled to have a call for an interview and promptly returned it at 9:05 am on Monday. Unfortunately, in my absence the employer indicated that he had been forced to make a decision on another candidate who had a competing offer, so they no longer would be interviewing me. I was disappointed and assumed I must not have been what they had been seeking in a candidate after all since they hadn’t waited for me to return. Lo and behold, a few days later, they called to tell me that the candidate had turned down the offer and re-invited me to interview. Two weeks later I started my new job with them. Moral of the story….there are many good candidates and you should take advantage of every opportunity to get in front of an employer to make your case about why you should be the one they hire.

Hopefully I’ve convinced you to apply for add-on interviews…so here’s how you do it. First, fill out a “Recruiter Add-On Interview Request Form” (available from the main OCR web page) for each position that interests you, attach it to your resume, and deposit it in the “Recruiter Add-On Interview Request Box” outside of Career Services, Suite 20, McNeil Building. Collection hours are 9:15 am – 2:00 pm one working day before the interview date. Your add-on request(s) will be given to the recruiter(s) when they check in to OCR the following morning. The recruiter(s) will review the resumes at their convenience and will inform the OCR receptionist should they wish to interview you. However, we request that you not call to check on the status of your add-on request. The OCR receptionist will contact students whose requests have been accepted. Students whose requests are not accepted will not be contacted.  You can watch a short online workshop if you have questions about the “add-on process” here.

Good luck with it!

Author: Barbara Hewitt

Barbara Hewitt is the Executive Director of Career Services.