Career Services

Lebanon Valley College

On-Line Video Interviewing

In this technology-rich era, it’s no surprise that many companies are incorporating it into their hiring practices through the use of on-line video interviewing.  On-line video interviewing may take the place of telephone screening, or could be used throughout the first round(s) of interviewing. Why?  Because it is convenient and can save the company time and money if initial interviews are conducted on-line versus bringing candidates on site.

On-line video interviews may be through SKYPE or other similar applications, in which candidates and interviewers are both “live,” or company’s may use technology that allows an interviewer to pre-record questions that candidates may respond to within a designated time period.  Either way, video interviewing requires preparation and practice if you want to present yourself as well as you would in person.

The CareerSpots video – On-Line Video Interviews – suggests the following tips:

  • Do a test call with friends or family.
  • Check for technical problems ahead of time
  • Dress as though you are conducting a face-to-face interview
  • Make sure your space is tidy and clutter free with nothing distracting in the background
  • Eliminate interruptions by informing others that you will be conducting an interview
  • Plug your computer in so your battery doesn’t die during the interview
  • Check lighting to ensure interviewers will see you clearly
  • Frame your shot – make sure the camera focuses on your face
  • Look directly into the camera lens – it’s the same as making eye contact
  • Be enthusiastic!

Most importantly, practice, practice, practice!

Juggling Job Offers

It’s so easy for students to become caught up in the job search/interviewing process that it can come as a surprise when it’s time to evaluate whether or not a job that has been offered is a good fit.  Trying to juggle multiple job offers to determine which is best can be even more of a stressor.

If you find yourself in this dilemma, first take a look at the CareerSpots video – Juggling Job Offers – for advice on how to make your decision and remain professional.

The National Association for Colleges and Employers also offers a great article with accompanying rating sheet for students to use when evaluating multiple job offers.  An excerpt from the article explains:

There is no perfect formula for making your decision, but one of the best ways to begin is by making a list of all of the features that are important to you in your first job. These may include such items as the type of work you’ll be doing, the organization’s reputation/prestige, training program, salary, specific benefits, location of job, opportunity for advancement, work environment, opportunity for free time (evenings and weekends), opportunity for travel, colleagues with whom you’ll be working, and so forth. Add every possible item you can think of to your list.”  Continue reading HERE.

The Salary Question

Are you, as the candidate, supposed to bring up the subject of compensation during the interview process?  If so, when?  Although things will certainly be different for each employer, the general rule is that salary shouldn’t be discussed during the first interview.  And, whenever possible, let the employer bring the subject up first.

More importantly than worrying about when you should discuss it should instead be how you plan to discuss it when the time comes.  You should always do your homework prior to any interview so that you are prepared.  According to the CareerSpots video – The Salary Question – there are two sets of numbers that candidates need to know: the minimum salary that you need to make for your own financial obligations, and the average salary range for the type of position that you’re interviewing for.

That first number needs to be something realistic and well thought out; the second can be determined by researching salary information on similar positions for individuals with your level of experience and knowledge.  Don’t forget that geographic location is also a huge factor!  Understanding both of these numbers will help you to plan out a thoughtful response to the salary question.

How do you determine a salary range? The CareerSpots video offers several websites that may be helpful, including www.salary.com, www.salaryexpert.com, and www.payscale.com.  It also suggests the Bureau of Labor Statistics at www.bls.gov for tons of information, as well as professional organizations, business magazines, and online job boards for general salary information.

Another great resource, accessible through Career Services’ Resources for Students webpage is the NACE Salary Calculator Center.   The Salary Calculator’s User Guide and FAQ page indicates that “the program will reference your input information against the average salary values in our databases, and provide you with your personalized job salary data. The salary data provided to you is derived from salary survey data and compensation surveys.”

There are plenty of resources out there to help – be sure to investigate this before you ever talk with the interviewer – you don’t want to be caught off guard and unable to answer the salary question!

Importance of Networking

Spring break is just days away and, for many students, it’s time to close the text books, sleep, and catch up with friends and family.  It can also be the perfect time to begin articulating your goals and summer plans/pursuits with the people you know.  Although I hesitate to use the word ‘networking’ (the word seems to strike fear into the hearts of students), spring break is a great opportunity to do just that!

We’ve all heard it, and it’s true: it’s not always what you know, but who you know.   Networking is about building and maintaining professional relationships and connections, which can often start with people you already know.  Take a look at the CareerSpots video on the Importance of Networking and read through these basic tips (as provided on the downloadable tip sheet):

  • Networking is a crucial first step in the job search process.
  • EVERYONE you know is included in your network – family, relatives, friends, professors, coaches, former bosses, friend’ parents, etc.  (Don’t forget about Career Connections – the alumni mentoring database through LVC! – see this TIP Sheet for information and advice on appropriate networking and informational interviewing)
  • Making connections can product a ripple effect.  For every person you build a relationship with, that person has relationships with 20 other potential job connections, and each of those another 20, and so on…
  • Professional organizations can offer tremendous connections.  Internships with these organizations, even if unpaid, may prove invaluable further down the road.
  • People who know you can give you an extra edge in landing a job since they can tout your positive characteristics and confirm them.
  • Be patient.  Networking does not always provide immediate gratification.

So…if the key to a more successful job search lies in networking, spend a portion of your spring break thinking about who YOU know.

How many employers actually screen using social media?

According to….

  • The CareerSpots video – Perils of Social Networking – 26% of employers regularly use social media sites to gain information about candidates.
  • The New York Times article – Social Media History Becomes a New Job Hurdle (July 20, 2011) – “75 percent of recruiters are required by their companies to do online research of candidates. And 70 percent of recruiters in the United States report that they have rejected candidates because of information online.”
  • Reppler.Com offers a report – Job Screening with Social Networking – that 91% of the employers who participated in their survey use social networking sites to screen prospective employers

So who is correct?  What’s the true percentage of employers who screen candidates through social media?

Who cares?!  The fact that there is any percentage of employers who look into a candidate’s online persona should be enough to convince people to use caution and common sense prior to posting information/pictures/quotes/videos/etc. on the internet.  Whether or not you agree with the practice of pre-screening in this manner does not prevent a potential employer from doing it anyway.  Although your online reputation may not be able to tell an employer if you can or cannot perform specific job responsibilities, it might give them concerns about your level of maturity and professionalism.  In the job search process, that concern may be enough to set your application aside and move on.

The typical advice is that you shouldn’t post anything that you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see –I suggest you up the stakes a bit on that saying and follow the rule of not posting anything you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see.

What to wear, what to wear…?

You know that your jeans and t-shirts aren’t going to cut it in the work place, but perhaps you don’t know if a 3-piece suit is the way to go.  You’ve heard of casual Fridays, but aren’t sure what that means either!  So what do you do?

First of all, think situationally.  Interviews should always be business attire; it’s best to wear business attire to career fairs, although business casual could be acceptable if you’re seeking an internship.  Networking events depend on the venue, your purpose for attending, and those who you are hoping to meet.  Basically, it always depends!

Take the guess work out of it by setting a few rules:

  • Wear business attire in any situation in which you hope to make a good impression on potential employers/clients/colleagues/etc.
  • Don’t assume that “Business Casual” is in any way casual.  Instead, think of it as “Business Smart.”  Take a look at the CareerSpots Video – Business Casual – for more information on this distinction.
  • When in doubt, opt for conservative business wear.
  • You don’t have to spend a fortune to find business attire that fits well and looks professional; shop around and find key items that will mix and match to create several looks.

It’s better to be overdressed on your first ‘Casual Friday’ so you can scope out what is considered acceptable prior to implementing your own wardrobe creativity.  Keep in mind, your boss has the final stamp of approval.  Dress for the job you want, not to impress your colleagues with your fashion sense.  Also remember that your internship or field experiences may allow a more laid back style; the expectation is still business attire when you prepare for your full-time job search.

When in doubt, ask professionals in the field or talk to faculty or Career Services’ staff members.  Take a look at the image below from the 2013 Job Choices Digital Magazine (accessible on our Resources for Students page) for additional tips:Post 19 Professional Dress image

Behavioral Based Interviewing

Generally speaking, you are not likely to have made it to the interviewing process of your job search if the organization meeting with you didn’t believe you could do their job.  They still want to hear you speak about your skills and job knowledge, but if they didn’t think you had the basics, you wouldn’t even be there.

Although this is reassuring in some ways, it also puts the pressure on you to perform well during that interview by articulating your strengths, offering examples of your past behaviors, and providing relevant information that reinforces your fit with that company.  Many employers utilize the Behavioral Based method of interviewing, meaning they ask questions that require you to tell stories (give examples) about how you responded in past experiences in order to gain an understanding about how you might behave in future work situations.  The CareerSpots video – Behavioral Interviewing – gives an excellent introduction to this interview technique as well as examples of questions, good responses, and attributes they’re listening for.

How prepared do you think you are for a behavioral interview situation?

Time and again, we hear that communication is one of the top skills that employers and graduate schools seek.  You may truly be the perfect fit, but if you can’t articulate your strengths and experiences well, you may be passed over.  Good communication takes reflection, practice, and an understanding of what employers/schools are seeking.

Why Be LinkedIn?

Students and recent graduates have a wealth of information at their fingertips through the many social media venues out there.  The common belief is that social media is for connecting and sharing with friends.  While that’s true, you can also use the ability to quickly (and relatively effortlessly) find and connect with others to your advantage in your job search.

LinkedIn is a social media forum built for this kind of professional networking.  According to the CareerSpots video, Why be LinkedIn, creating a profile allows you to talk with individuals about who you are and what you’re interested in.  You can also search for organizations and receive periodic emails from industry associations, alumni networking groups, or specific companies about news or job opportunities.  Conduct job searches using key words or connect with employers of companies with which you have an interest.  LinkedIn offers a six (6) video guide to students or recent graduates on how to Get Started, Build a Professional Brand, Find your Career Passion, Build a Professional Network, Turn Relationships into Opportunities, and Researching & Prepping for Interviews utilizing the capabilities of a personal LinkedIn account.  When used well, LinkedIn can allow you to harness the power of social media in a professional way for the benefit of your job or internship search.

While LinkedIn may be the professional social media outlet, don’t forget about the benefits of other sites.  You can search for companies or associations in Facebook, Twitter, blog sites, and any other forum.  You never know what information you can glean to learn more about an industry/company/culture/etc that will help with your job search and interview process!

Finding a Co-Op/Internship

Internships are a vital part of the collegiate experience. In today’s competitive culture students are wise to bring career-related experiences to the attention of potential employers and graduate schools. Hiring and admissions personnel are looking for candidates with maturity and confidence, good writing and speaking skills, honesty and integrity, leadership, interpersonal strengths, initiative, creativity, and flexibility. Many of these strengths are honed through the real world experience of an internship.

Internships will help you develop the work habits, attitudes, and skills to begin your career. They will enable you to build your network of professional contacts, explore career options, apply classroom theory and concepts, become acquainted with company culture, and make a contribution to the organization that mentors you. Experience counts. Get your career in motion today!

How do you go about conducting an internship search?  Start by watching the CareerSpots video – Finding a Co-Op/Internshipand begin browsing the Experience Counts website through Career Services.  Here you will be linked to great resources and helpful information on internships for academic credit or for experience only (non-credit).  Make yourself aware of opportunities available through JobCenter, both in the Jobs & Internships section and the Resource Library (available on the left hand navigation column).  You are encouraged to talk with faculty, your personal networking connections, and alumni through the Career Connections mentor database (also accessed through JobCenter) to discuss your interests and learn of leads.  Career Services is glad to work with you as well through the entire process of your internship – before, during, and following the experience.

There are many avenues in which to seek out internship opportunities; give yourself ample time to conduct a thorough search in hopes of landing an internship that will be most beneficial to your future career goals!

Top 10 Interview Mistakes

answering your phone during the interview…”
“having a tongue ring…”
“not knowing what job you’re applying for…”
“don’t come into the interview eating…”
“don’t show your tattoos…”
“don’t say ummm…”
“probably shouldn’t wear anything with cleavage”

These are first responses from students in the CareerSpots video – Top 10 Interview Mistakes.  Take a look at the video for the employer perspective on the Top 10 mistakes candidates can make!

Although it’s important to know what you shouldn’t do, it’s more important to identify and understand things you should do.  Granted, you could assume that it’s correct for you to do the opposite of what’s on the top 10 list of mistakes, but hopefully you would already know not to answer your phone or arrive finishing off your breakfast.

Instead, spend ample time preparing so that you are ready with relevant examples and illustrations of the skills and abilities you will contribute to the organization.  Know the job description inside and out and research the company and industry so that you can ‘talk the talk.’  Draw from your work experience, classroom projects, campus or community involvement, athletics, study abroad, or any other venue in which you’ve developed skills.

Remember, it is not so much the activity that matters to the employer, but what you gained from that activity.  Of equal importance is the ability to articulate those experiences and highlight your accomplishments in a way that is relevant to the employer!  Make use of all of the electronic and people resources available to you as you practice your interviewing techniques.  The last thing you want to do is provide examples for next year’s Top 10 List of Mistakes!