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Graduate: Career Planning / Recruiting & Employer Relations Guidelines


Graduate Student Recruiting & Employer Relations Guidelines


Communications with employers are professional activities that require professional conduct and with all Office of Career Planning program sponsored events, appropriate demeanor and behavior are always expected from the Meredith students.  The following guidelines are to explain the Office of Career Planning’s policies and procedures regarding on campus recruiting, so that you will understand your responsibilities, as well as your opportunities, when interacting with employers and organizations.  In addition, the final section of this guide provides valuable strategies as you prepare to interview.

Part I:  On-Campus Recruiting Policies:

On campus recruiting is offered as a convenience and resource for you, Meredith students and recent alumnae.  Employers and the Office of Career Planning staff members take this program seriously and appropriate behavior on your part is required.  Students participating in on campus interviewing are responsible for knowing and following the on campus interviewing policies.

On campus interviews are known as screening interviews and are usually one of at least two, three, or possibly more interviews within the interview structure of the company.  Take confidence -- the company has already reviewed your resume and believes that your experience and skills are strong enough to be selected for an interview.  Your on campus interview is typically 20-45 minutes in length, depending on the employer.

Illness or Emergencies

If you are ill or have an emergency on the day of your interview it is your responsibility to call the Office of Career Planning at 919.760.8341.  The Office of Career Planning opens at 8am.  Appropriate documentation must be submitted to the Office of Career Planning within 24 hours in order to receive an excused absence.  If this does not occur, your Handshake account will be deactivated and the Office of Career Planning services will be limited.

Late Cancellations

You may cancel your interview on CareerLink before the deadline as noted on Handshake.  When you cannot cancel on Handshake, it is considered a late cancellation and you must call the Office of Career Planning at 919.760.8341 to cancel your interview.  Voicemail or email cancellations will not be accepted.  Failure to cancel will be considered a no-show and your Handshake account will be deactivated and a loss of the Office of Career Planning services will occur until the situation has been appropriately reconciled.

Missing Interview/No-Show

Missing an on campus interview without calling to cancel is considered a very serious matter. By not showing up, you communicate disrespect.  It also prevents another interested student from participating in an interview. 

Handshake accounts of students/alumnae who “no-show” for a campus interview will be de-activated and will not be allowed to participate in any Career Planning services, including career counseling, job search services, and on campus recruiting. 

Before a student who is considered a no-show can be re-activated she is required to:

Write a letter of apology to the recruiter and provide a copy to the Meredith Office of Career Planning within 24 hours of the scheduled interview.  Contact information for the recruiter can be found in the Office of Career Planning, 2nd Park and/or on CareerLink.

Meet with the Director to acquire permission to participate in on campus recruiting in the future. 

Note: Handshake Deactivation Policy

Your Handshake account will remain active as long as you are a student in good standing with Meredith College or are an alumni. 
Handshake accounts of students who withdraw from Meredith will be deactivated.  

Part II:  How to Sign Up For an On-Campus Interview

All on campus recruiting opportunities are to be accessed through our online career management system called CareerLink.  This system allows you to view the list of employers who will be recruiting throughout the semester, upload a resume, and electronically “apply” for an interview.  Most employers who use the on campus recruiting program on Meredith’s campus typically want to pre-select students, which means that once the resume deadline occurs employers will automatically receive resumes through the CareerLink system and then select those students (out of all the resumes received) that they wish to interview.  You will either be notified by the employer or by the Office of Career Planning that you have/have not been selected for an interview.  Directions can be found in the Resource Library Section of CareerLink, located on the main menu once you’ve logged in. 

Misrepresentation of Profile Information

It is a violation to enter inaccurate information regarding your major, degree level, GPA, graduation date, visa status, etc. in your Handshake profile or on your resume. If you falsify documents or misrepresent yourself to any employer, whether through our recruiting program or in your independent job search, the Office of Career Planning has the right to rescind your privileges to use our services. You may also be subject to disciplinary action through the Honor Council.

Deadlines

Deadlines to apply for positions/on campus recruiting opportunities and to submit documents are noted within the details of each employer’s campus visit on Handshake, after completing a campus recruiting search.  Please contact the Office of Career Planning if you have questions about deadlines. 

Part III:  Employer Information Sessions

Employer presentations provide a convenient and comfortable way to network with recruiters and other company representatives prior to your campus interview. Most information sessions are held an evening or two prior to the employer's campus interview visit. If you have signed up for an on campus interview, you are required to attend the information session of that employer, if offered.

A typical information session will consist of a short overview of the company's recruiting process. Speakers will address general topics such as the corporate culture, benefits packages and other topics that would otherwise take up valuable interview time. Afterwards, you may have a chance to enjoy refreshments and talk informally with company representatives.

Even if you do not have an interview scheduled with the employer, you can benefit from the networking opportunities at an information session. Often, employers will “pencil in” additional interviews for unfilled slots on their schedule or consider your resume.

At minimum, business casual attire is required for employer information sessions.  Business casual includes dark slacks/skirt, button down shirt, blazer/jacket, sweater/sweater set, and appropriate shoes to match. 

The Office of Career Planning strongly discourages students from arriving late or leaving in the middle of sessions.  Plan to arrive on time and stay for the entire event. Keep cell phones, laptops and pagers off during any event or interview.

Note: Email Etiquette

Appropriate communication with employers is essential whether you’re job searching or currently employed.  This type of communication is different from casual email or text with your friends.  Before sending emails to employers read the job search correspondence section of the Career Guide provided by the Office of Career Planning. 

Part IV:  Interview Tips & Strategies for On Campus Interviews 1. Before the Interview – Preparation

The interview process begins before the actual interview itself.  Competition is steep and you must be prepared.  This includes the following:

Know Yourself

Identify your key skills, transferable skills
Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses and how to communicate them
Know what you’re looking for in a job, identify your career goals and how they relate to the employer’s needs

Know the Employer (DO NOT RESEARCH THE COMPANY AT THE INTERVIEW)

Study the position description and know about the field/industry
Use written and people sources to research the company (company websites, company literature, directories, other non-bias employer research resources provided by the Office of Career Planning such as Glassdoor, information interviews, and employer information sessions): history, values, mission, goals, stability, strengths, & competitors

Anticipate and Plan

After completing company research and self-assessment you will have a better idea of the types of questions you may be asked. 

Think of ways to incorporate the knowledge you’ve gained from personal and employer research into the questions you may be asked by the recruiter.
Prepare questions to ask the recruiter in the interview that will showcase your skills, experience, motivation, interest, and knowledge of the organization.

Practice

Whether it is by yourself, in front of the mirror, or with a trusted friend, it is important to take time to verbally respond to questions you may be asked.  This helps you to become more comfortable with language you might use and points you may (or may not) want to make.  However, this by no means indicates that your answers during the interview should be robotic.   

2.  The interview day - Presentation

Before the Interview:

Students who participate in interviews on campus are required to check in at the front desk of the Office of Career Planning ten minutes prior to their interview time.  Students are to be professionally dressed which includes a dark suit (pants or skirt), closed toe shoes and hose, natural looking makeup and hair, minimal jewelry, and deodorant. 

Students are to bring extra copies of their resume nicely preserved in a binder/portfolio.  Once you have been called for the interview, it is your opportunity to make a positive impression.  More than likely the recruiter will try and establish rapport with you.  At times, however, you may experience a challenging recruiter situation (personality of those involved usually plays a part in the interviewing process).  Regardless of either situation it is your responsibility to greet the recruiter by name and with a smile, firm handshake and good eye contact.  Remember, in order to advance to the next stage of the company’s interview process you must pass this screening interview.

Information Exchange

This portion of the interview process allows the recruiter to evaluate your qualifications for the position.  It is also during this time that the recruiter will determine your communication and decision making skills, as well as your ability to analyze information, take initiative, and get along with others. 

During this screening process questions are typically more general in nature and oftentimes include behavioral style questions.  Sample questions might include:

General Questions (goals, expectations, getting to know you):

Tell me about yourself.
Name your strengths/weaknesses.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Traditional Questions (questions related to resume/letter, discussion/review of documents):

Why do you want to work here?
What do you know about us?
Why did you choose Meredith College? Your major?
Discuss the experience you’ve listed on your resume with XYZ organization.
In your cover letter you mention an interest in ________ within our organization.  Discuss this in more detail. 

Situational Questions (brief scenario…what would you do?):

How would you deal with deadlines?
If you were faced with a complaint from a client what would you do?  From a colleague?

Behavioral Questions (asks for examples of when you’ve displayed certain behaviors important to the organization – use the acronym STAR to respond – situation/task, action, result – what did you learn?):

Sample behaviors tested upon may include: initiative, judgment, motivational fit, presentation skills, teamwork, and negotiation.  View the organization's mission/values to gauge what is important to them, hence giving you a better idea of questions you could be asked. 

Discuss a time where you faced a challenge. 
Describe a situation in which you were under pressure and how you handled it.
Give me an example of a situation where you demonstrated initiative and commitment.
Discuss an ethical dilemma you faced. 

Generally, answers to questions should be:

  • clear and concise
  • specific and include examples
  • reflective of your strengths and accomplishments.

For assistance in understanding and responding to any of the above questions or other questions you may be asked during the interview, please reference the Career Guide and contact the Office of Career Planning to speak to a staff member.

Closing

During the final stage of the interview typically you are given an opportunity to ask questions of the employer.  Come prepared to ask questions of the recruiter that were generated during your company research.  This portion of the interview can be just as important as the questions you are asked by the recruiter.  Reflective questions show your interest and understanding of the position/organization, etc.  Do not ask questions that could have been found doing research on their website or on other company information.

Sample questions you may want to ask:

What is the environment like at your organization?
What is your training philosophy?
Tell me about the supervisory style/philosophy of the supervisor of this position.
What are some of the obstacles that a person in this position would have to overcome?
What would it take to exceed your expectations for this position?
Will you discuss the hiring timeline for this position?  The organization’s next steps?
If I don’t hear from you in ______ weeks as you mentioned, may I give you a call to follow up?

This stage of the interview also allows you to reiterate your interest in the position/company and to briefly summarize why you are qualified for the job.  You may even want to take the opportunity to “close” the interview, which involves asking the recruiter if s/he sees any concerns with your candidacy at this point and whether or not you are a good fit at this point with the company and position.  Before the end of the interview always ask about next steps and appropriate follow up.  Ask the recruiter for a business card (so follow up can be completed) and thank him/her for the time you’ve been given.

3.  After the Interview – Follow Up

Appropriate follow up after your on campus interview includes sending a letter to thank the recruiter which reiterates your interest in the company/position based upon your strongest qualifications.  You will also want to complete any follow up task that the employer has requested (complete an assessment, provide transcripts, etc).  Even if you are not interested in working with the employer you will still want to write a letter to the recruiter to thank him/her for his/her time.  You never know when you will again come in contact with the recruiter. 

Part of the follow up process also includes reviewing your experience, reflecting on the company and position, and considering the interviewing skills you used.  It also involves completing any follow up instructions the recruiter has requested and maintaining appropriate contact with the employer.  Each interview prepares you for the next.  Interviewing is a learned skill and practice will enhance your performance.

Job Offers

Students may receive job offers from employers who recruit on campus.  Students are encouraged to discuss offers with the counselors in the Office of Career Planning before acceptance in order to examine negotiation strategies or expedite any other offers that may be pending.

Job Acceptance

Accepting a permanent job is considered a serious commitment.  Students should communicate acceptance or rejection of a job offer on or before the date agreed upon with an employer.  If it is necessary to request additional time to consider an employer’s offer, the employer should be notified as soon as possible.  Once an offer is accepted verbally and in writing, a student has a professional and ethical obligation to notify all other employers that a position has been accepted. Upon accepting a job offer, students are expected to withdraw from the interviewing process (both on-campus and off-campus) immediately and to promptly notify all employers who are actively considering them for jobs that they are no longer available for consideration.  When you accept a job offer, it is also important that you report it to the Office of Career Planning.  You may do so easily by logging into Handshake and updating your First Destination Survey, "Got My Wings."  Offer and acceptance information is vital to tracking your success. It also helps us identify students who might need additional support. All information about an offer is kept strictly confidential.

Reneging on Job Offers

The Office of Career Planning does not condone the reneging of job offers by candidates or employers. Reneging is unprofessional and jeopardizes Meredith’s reputation in the employment community as well as your own. Should you renege on an offer, the Office of Career Planning may block you from participating in any additional on-campus interviews and other services.

Employer Offers

The Office of Career Planning allows students adequate time to carefully consider their employment opportunities and to make informed decisions.  We educate students on evaluating and negotiating job offers and discourage them from hasty decisions that may lead to reneging.

The Office of Career Planning also supports the following principles, as stated in “Exploding Offers: Principles for Professional Conduct Committee Position Paper” published by NACE:

If offers are extended early in the campus recruiting cycle, the Committee recommends that employers (1) provide students a minimum of three weeks to decide and not require decisions earlier than six months prior to the candidates graduation; and (2) provide students the opportunity to request deadline extensions to allow a reasonable period for investigation of other recruiting opportunities for comparison.  However, we recognize that the definitions of “sufficient time” and “reasonable period” will vary, given industry standards, a student’s prior experience with the employer, offer timing, and proximity to the graduation date/start time.

Providing sufficient time for students to evaluate the employment opportunities offered to them allows them to make the wisest decisions for all concerned, creating a positive experience for candidates and employers, and ultimately reducing renege and attrition rates.

**Please remember that you represent not only yourself, but also the Office of Career Planning and the entire Meredith community, when interacting and communicating with recruiters, company representatives and alumnae.



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