3 Hot Job Search Tips For Students From a Hiring Manager

Guest Post by Haley Gray ( Duke University – Executive MBA Class of 2012).

job search tipsOne of my responsibilities in my current role is to recruit engineering co-ops and interns for our company, and to my department.

The things that I am looking for in candidates are not necessarily what you would think, so let me explain.

Please understand that when we are at career fairs, we see literally hundreds of applicants, and make snap judgments about people, whether true or not.

In this post, I’ll talk about some tips of what it takes to make it to the initial phone screen interview.

Communication Skills

The first skill I look for is communication skills.  Specifically, I’m looking for someone who has a good elevator pitch, and who can answer my questions intelligently.

Please answer me in 30-60 second answers, not single sentences, if I ask you to describe your coursework.  But, PLEASE speak slowly.

I speak English perfectly well, but it’s not my first language, and if you speak in a strong accent very quickly, I may not be able to understand you at all.

Please don’t argue with me.

I understand how the process works, and if I’m taking the time to explain it to you- no matter how odd it sounds- I am telling you the truth.  Once again- please do not argue with me.  It doesn’t win you any bonus points, and gets your resume put into the “do not touch” pile.

Non-Verbal Skills

Being an American, I look for someone who can shake hands.

When you give me a weak hand, or what is known as “dead fish” in American terms, it sends a negative signal, however unintentionally.

Recruiting Process

For companies that use systems like brass ring, you need to follow a multi-step application process.

  • First, submit your resume to the general resume submission part of the site.
  • Then, take it a step further, and search for all applicable positions, and apply to each and every one of those.

Of the 3 positions I had open in April/May this year, I got exactly 0 responses online.

That is, no-one directly submitted their resumes to the positions I had open.  Not one person.

If you make it as far as being contacted by email, you can safely assume that every bit of your contact with me is part of the interview process.

Please think carefully when you respond, and respond with care, and consideration for the message that you are sending.


Haley Gray is Senior Software Quality Engineer at EMC  and Executive MBA candidate at Duke University. She blogs about leadership at Duke Executive MBA Student Blog.


Questions – Do you have any specific job interview and hiring process questions for Haley?


Next – 5 Things You Should Never Do in a Job Interview

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One Comment

  1. Do hiring managers look into the experience of interviewees? Even for part time jobs in the campus i was not called for the lack of experience. How can a fresher prove he is as good as the others? What certifications can a student take before he eyes for the job in software engineering field and cloud computing ?

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