One of my graduates asked if I would write a blog post about getting an entry-level job in a tight market. I corresponded with Jodi Moore from Waggener Edstrom to find out what she looks for in new hires. The advice below is from Jodi Moore and Heather Flynn, who are both senior staffing partners in the Portland office of Waggener Edstrom.
Most companies consider people their greatest asset. A high premium is placed on those who embrace and encourage curiosity. The most important thing you can convey to an interviewer is why you are interested in their company and their open opportunity. You need to express the value you bring and the value you will add. Ask yourself, what is my unique ability? Am I passionate about this business and this company? Am I conveying that passion in this interview?
Recruiters and HR professionals know that recent college graduates have limited work experience. Regardless, employers want to hire people who are passionate and have initiative. At Waggener Edstrom we value curiosity. We embrace and encourage curiosity at all levels of our organization. So how do you show passion and initiative in a job interview?
1. Do your research. Know the company, the interviewer and the practice area. The Internet will probably have information on all of this.
2. Be prepared. Dress appropriately, bring copies of your resume, work samples or portfolio, arrive just a few minutes early, and bring paper to take notes.
3. Know your strengths and your value. Think through your experiences: What was the business problem, how did you solve it, and what was the positive outcome?
4. Have appropriate questions. You need to ask questions; it shows you thought about the meeting beforehand.
5. Closing. Make sure you ask what the next steps are in the process and communicate your interest in the job.
6. Follow up. A handwritten note is preferred, but e-mail is still good.
Update: If you’re a member of PR Open Mic (free to join), you can read this interview with Fleishman-Hillard recruiter Brian Batchelder.