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Making Connections with Employers

February 14, 2020

So, you see someone across the room you're interested in. Attractive, good benefits and everything you ever wanted. What’s your first move, should you talk to them? Walking up and talking to someone you have never met before can be tough, what if they don’t like you? What if you’re coming on too strong? 

There are so many different things to consider when seeking a date or even when you’re on a date, and actually approaching a potential employer at a career fair can be pretty similar. It is important to present yourself in a way that will show your respect for others and gain respect for yourself. Before you walk up to that person, make sure you have a good “pick-up line” ready, one that will put you in a good light and gain you some respect right off the bat. John Ney, Director of the Professional Development program at the Idaho State University College of Business suggests having a, “Thirty-second sales pitch about  yourself ready.” This sales pitch should include your name, major, clubs you are involved in and all your best highlights.

 However, when it comes to introductions, you probably don’t want to walk up and just spill out your life story… “my name is Joe, I love long walks on the beach, holding hands in the park and I have a history of committed relationships.” Rather, try to have a conversation with the person- introduce yourself, then ask about him or her and the company they represent, show your interest in them and their company.  They want to see you have an interest and want to be a part of their company, you’re not just out to get a date with the first person you see. 

Once you get the conversation flowing, the next step is to get those digits without seeming too forward or desperate. The best way to ease your way into the conversation of contact information is saying something like this, “I’m interested in applying for a position, what would be the best way to get in touch with you?” Follow up your question with something like, “When would be the best time to contact you.” That way you have a set time on when to contact them. If they don’t give you a set time on when to make contact, Ney says give them at least a day and up to a couple of weeks before you make the next move. If you contact them a couple times in two weeks and still get no response, then they aren’t all that interested and you may want to look elsewhere. 

Now, if everything goes great before you know it you’ll be on your “first date” at an interview. However, there is a lot of stress that comes with an interview. What are you going to wear, what if they don’t like you, what if you don’t get a second interview? A little tip to use- do your research, talk to current employees, check out their website or social media pages and gather what the personality of their company is and tailor your answers, your questions and how you dress to what you learn about the company and the position available. But, remember to also be yourself. 

Schedule the date for 8:00? Be there a few minutes early and be clearly prepared. Future employers like to see you are forward and want to make a great first impression. Greet them with a firm handshake and start the conversation with confidence and a professional excitement. Once they get started they are most likely to ask, “Tell me about yourself...” This is probably the absolute most dreaded question of all time, although it doesn’t have to be! Remember that 30 second sales pitch about yourself? That is perfect for this situation. They don’t wanna hear about how many kids you have or what your favorite color is, they want to hear about your accomplishments with your career or education and what you have done to get where you are.   

Another thing that is always important to remember is to just be yourself and be honest. The question, “What is your biggest weakness” makes people want to lie and try to turn their negatives into positives, but the truth is we are all human and we all have flaws. Employers know this and laugh at the answers such as, “I work too hard.” or “I’m a perfectionist.” Ney says when someone asks you this question, just be honest. Pick a weakness and explain what you are doing to fix it (it also helps to picture your interview beforehand so you have an idea of what you are going to say in this situation.) For example, if you aren’t so organized, state that you are working toward a more organized lifestyle getting planners or binders to organize your work. 

When the interview or evening has come to an end and it’s time for you to leave, it’s important to leave a mark. Make them want to hire you. Now, on a normal date I would say give them a kiss if you felt up to it, but in an interview setting I highly recommend not doing that. Leave with strong words such as, “You will not regret hiring me”, or “I’m very passionate about this job and the work I will be doing.” After this lasting impression, of course, shake their hand and thank them for their time. 

After the fact, if you want to stand out more than the other candidates in line, it’s time to send the flowers! Not literally though, that might be a little much for an interview situation… but, something like a handwritten thank you note really leaves a good and sincere impression. Thank your interviewee again for his or her time and let them know you are excited to hear back from them. people in business especially appreciate these because it shows the employer that you really are invested in the job and can also give them more insight into your character. If you are stumped on what to write there are some great examples online. If a handwritten note won’t work for your situation, send a nice email right after the interview to really leave that lasting impression. 

Now that you have all the tips to create a lasting impression on your future employer or future girlfriend/boyfriend go out and meet some people and start building that relationship! ISU has just the place to start where there are plenty of “available” employers looking for a long, or short-term commitment and the right employee to take on the job! Wednesday, February 19 is the ISU Career Center’s Spring Career Fair where nearly 70 businesses will be in attendance, ready to schedule interviews or snag resumes from prepared students. Life is about making connections and creating a network for future opportunities! A Career Fair is the perfect place to start.