This entry was written by Blair Canner, a Graduate Assistant working in Career Services this year.
Picture this: you have just spent the last half an hour answering every question thrown at you. Walk me through your resume? What are your strengths? Tell me about a time you failed. Finally the interviewer looks at you and asks “Do you have any questions for me?”
While you may be inclined to shake your head and end the interview as soon as possible, having questions prepared will prove your interest not just in the role but in the opinions of the interviewer.
While any question is technically fair game, you should use this time as an opportunity to:
Reemphasize your fit in the job
Asking what qualities are most common in successful employees gives you one final opportunity to demonstrate that you possess those critical skills. Alternatively, ask what skills the team is seeking in a new hire. Specifically connecting your experiences and skills to their needs will reemphasize that you’re the right candidate for the job.
Understand the culture from a personal point of view
If an interviewer has been at the company for a while, ask them what they like the most about the organization. Find out why they joined the company and what has convinced them to stay. If you’re interviewing with a specific team, ask about the team’s culture and find out if they hold any team-building events. Culture can differ across teams – make sure your team’s culture suits your work style.
Identify professional development opportunities
If this is one of your first jobs out of school, demonstrate your commitment to continuous development by asking about available training & mentoring opportunities. Does the organization offer formal support networks and do those networks hold events? What about continuing education – if you want to learn a new skill, are you expected to learn it on the job or are there courses available?
The final part of the interview is just as evaluative as the first 25 minutes. But in this case, it’s also an opportunity for you to determine if this company is the right fit for you. Preparing 5-10 questions in advance will help you come across as genuinely curious and invested in the job at hand.
On Campus Recruiting season is officially underway. We know that it can be overwhelming, even confusing and it’s the one area of Handshake that isn’t as straightforward as it could be. Luckily, Natty Leach, our Handshake job and internships manager stops by to clarify things for A. Mylène and J. Michael.
It’s hard to believe, but we’ve been successfully using Handshake for almost six months. We’ve had over 10,000 students and alumni activate their accounts, approved over 7,600 employers to use the system, and had over 12,000 jobs and internships posted for Penn students and alumni. (In case you are curious, the top job functions have been education/teaching, finance, data & analytics, business development, and research – but there are lots of others!)
We hope the Handshake system has been working well for you! As a reminder, we wanted to post a few ways that you can optimize the system over the winter break to make it even more effective!
Complete your profile! If you haven’t already done so, take a few minutes to add details to your profile about your work experience, activities, educational background, and skills. You can even upload your resume so you don’t have to start from scratch. Once your profile looks great, you can make your profile public to employers so that they can find you for positions for which you might be a strong candidate. (If you have already finalized your plans and are not currently seeking, you can make your profile private so that you are not contacted.) As a new feature, you can also make your profile public to other Penn students and check out profiles from classmates who have opted to share theirs. Handshake can be a powerful networking tool.
Fill out the Career Interests section completely! The more Handshake knows about your career interests, the more effective it will be at populating your homepage with opportunities that are a good fit for you. Be sure to indicate what type of opportunities interest you (job, internship, networking, volunteering, etc.), the industries and job functions of interest to you, and where you want to live. Also, take a few minutes to indicate which CareerMail Communications you would like to receive. These are industry based e-newsletters sent out by the Career Services staff on a regular basis. It is one of the primary communication channels we are using this year, so don’t miss out on it.
Take a look at the Resources tab to find other career related resources available to you as a Penn student.
RSVP for events! (We will have lots more events listed in the spring once we get our room assignments from facilities!)
Schedule an appointment with a Career Advisor through the on-line scheduling system.
Download the mobile app, so you can do all of these things on the go! (Note that currently a mobile app is only available for the iPhone – an Android app is in the works- but even without the app Handshake’s website is mobile ready.)
On-campus recruiting for full-time positions (which started on September 26th) is well underway and interviews for internship positions will start on Monday, October 23rd. The semester is flying by, so I thought now would be a good time to remind students about the Recruiter Add-On Interview process. If you were not able to get on an interview schedule (either because you did not apply through the original resume collection or you were not selected for an interview), the Add-On Interview can be a great second opportunity to speak with an organization of interest to you.
It is fairly common for employers to have open slots on their schedules when they arrive on campus because of candidates accepting other opportunities or because of unforeseen situations like students being ill. Many organizations opt to fill these open interview slots on the day of their on-campus interviews by accepting “Recruiter Add-On Interviews.” If you wish to be considered for an “Add-On” Interview, complete the “Recruiter Add-On Interview Request Form” for each position that interests you, attach the form 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 9:15am-2:00pm one business day before the interview date. The OCR staff will notify students who are invited for an add-on interview as soon as an employer invites the student to interview. Note that there is no penalty for declining an Add-On invitation if the time doesn’t work for you. Use the “Weekly List of Employers Scheduled to Recruit On Campus” link to determine which employers to submit for each day. The spreadsheet will be updated weekly on the On Campus Interview website.
We see students every day who are invited to fill these last-minute open slots and often they go on to receive second round interviews and job offers because they took the time to submit requests for Add-On Interviews. We invite you to do the same!
As this summer is quickly evaporating, now is a great time to gear up for On-Campus Recruiting (OCR) next semester. Each year, OCR brings over 300 employers chomping at the bit to hire Penn students and soon-to-be graduates. Details on all of the employers and positions they’re recruiting for can be viewed in Handshake. Applications for full-time positions open tomorrow, August 23rd . Applications for summer 2018 internship recruiting opens September 28th .
Tips for viewing OCR positions:
1) Go to Jobs -> Job Search. This page has all of the jobs in Handshake but you can add a filter to see just active OCR positions by checking “Interviewing on Campus” under the “Categories” filter.
2) Sort by expiration date to help see what’s coming up sooner rather than later.
3) Find an overview of employers coming to campus by clicking on the “On-Campus Interviews” tab in blue at the top right.
While OCR is open to all undergraduate students, the types of employers that typically recruit during this time are mostly from industries with predictable hiring trends (often Finance and Consulting). On-Campus Recruiting is just one of many options to take advantage of here at Penn so stay in touch with Career Services so we can help you navigate whatever your future plans may be.