Interview Tips: Part 1
Every college's career center will want to say that it is attracting the best companies to campus. This is simply not possible, as companies have limited recruiting resources, and they will pick and choose only the schools they feel would produce the most number of qualified candidates.
What should you do if the companies you are interested in are not coming to a career fair in their school? In this case, in addition to attending your school's career fairs, consider going to another school's career fair if you feel your school's career fair does not attract enough good companies. Typically career fairs are open to everyone, so do not worry about that you do not attend that particular school. Chances are good that nobody will check ID at the door, and the recruiters will always be happy to talk to you. I have attended several career fairs as a recruiter, and I have spoken to a number of qualified candidates from outside of that particular school, and some of them have been hired as a result.
Companies who do on-campus interviews fall into two categories: Those who have specific positions open and are looking to fill them, or those who are merely collecting more resumes. Unfortunately, it is often impossible to find out before the interview which category the company you are interviewing with falls into.
Therefore, you need to find out which category the company you are talking to falls in. This can be accomplished easily by asking the interviewer whether there are specific positions the company is trying to fill. After all, if all the company want out of the recruiting trip is some nice resumes, there is no need for the interviewee to sweat too much during the interview. The general rule of thumb is that the bigger the company is, the more likely the company is simply looking for resumes to put into its database.
Spend time to learn about the company - but not too much time. I would suggest spending 30 minutes on their web site. If the company is a publicly-traded company, find out its recent news. During the interview, the interviewer would not expect the interviewee to know everything about the company, but the interviewer would expect the interviewee to know the basics of the company, such as the industry the company is in. In fact, there is nothing that turns off the interviewer more than having someone walking into an interview with no idea of what the company does, especially if the company is a big one. For example, if you are interviewing with Ford Motors, you should know that the company is in the car manufacturing business.
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