interviewI have been asked this question quite a few times and it deserves a post of its own. The key to asking the right questions at a job fair is mix up two types of questions. First, there are the questions you need to ask and the recruiter has to answer. Second, you want to ask questions that allow you to make an impression and show that you are interesting. You are trying to make an impression and hopefully be remembered. Think of recruitment like peeling an onion. The recruiter is trying to peel away the weaker (in his/her perception) candidates to be left with clean and viable candidates. It is your job to be help in this process by applying for the right position as well as being memorable.  So, here is a good mix of questions that I hope you will use wisely, appropriately and as you deem fit. These questions are ones I have used myself. At the very least, you want to be asking questions that make you memorable. Don’t overstay your welcome, you want this meeting to be short, sweet and memorable. Start with a smile and end with “it was nice to meet you and I hope to hear from you again”. Good luck!

  • What specific group of skills or qualification do you like to see in your employees?
  • Can you tell me something about your most successful project till date?
  • Do I need a graduate degree to advance in your organization?
  • What is the hiring process like? How long does it take and what can I expect in the coming days?
  • I realize a lot of competition exists to simply get an interview with your company, what is the company retention rate like?
  • What is the corporate/office culture like?
  • Can you walk me through a day in your life at the organization?
  • What made you choose to work here?
  • How can I make myself more valuable to a firm like yours?
  • Can you tell me something (or one thing) that you wish your organization did better?

Finally, if you feel the interview went well, throw them a curve ball and ask this question.

  • What question can I answer to make your job easier?

 

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careerfair-image RIT hosts it’s Spring 2015 career fair on March 4th 2015 with a full complement of interested employers and enthusiastic students lining up to shape their future. Getting hired while still in college is one of the best feelings, one that I can recall. Whether it is a co-op/internship or a full time job you are after, making that first impression and maintaining the connection with the recruiter is important. As someone who has been a consultant for several years, I have been through more than a handful of these interviews myself. I also had a chance to meet four recruiters at a mixer who were nice enough to share some tips. What you see here is just what I have learnt from experience having been on both sides of that interview table and the wisdom of some willing recruiters.

5 things to do at a career fair

1) Make a list, an excel sheet will suffice.
This is the most fundamental thing you can do. On this sheet you need columns for who (him/her by name) of the recruiter, what positions they seek to fill, minimum requirements for the position and the preferred qualifications for the position. Refer to this before you talk to them, show them specifically how you can fit into the organization and where you can make the best contributions. Recruiters will even create jobs for you if you can impress them.

2) Apply for the right jobs, before you arrive. The smile shake and leave is so yesterday.
A common sight at many recruiting events is the simple smile first, shake hands next, ask to leave your resume and then walk away. Some companies do this just to get a bunch of resume and do the selection later. Most firms nowadays want you to apply online at their site before they even talk to you. Essentially, they are getting some facetime with you before deciding on who to pursue for the job. So, apply first online if the employer asks you to and then inform the recruiter that you already applied and would like to find out more about the job, the working environment and ask interesting questions about the company.

3) Take a card, leave a card and some collateral material
Business cards are still used here. A cool business card design could be a talking point, use it wisely. Always leave the recruiter with something of value that is specific to them. By this, I am not talking about a resume, something more. I myself give them a simple one page document that outlines where I fit in the organization and how I can use my expertise to add value to something the company is doing at this very time. This means you will need to do some research ahead of time, this will pay off. Sometimes a small portfolio of items like writing samples, particularly successful examples of school projects or work at previous employment (if you have permission to share) are great items to leave with the recruiter. Some recruiters mention that they get hounded by emails and hence do not hand out contact information so do not be offended if they are not willing to share their contact information. Rest assured that they will be in touch if they want you.

4) Ask the right questions
Every recruiter is bored of the questions they have to ask you and the standard list of items they have come to answer. Do not ever ask a recruiter, “what jobs do you have open”. Think of it like a first date, your want the recruiter to know that you have done the work in researching the company without being creepy. Here is a list of 10 questions to ask during an interview at a career fair or just about any interview.

5) Be there early and leave early
Get there early, in fact get there when the fair opens and you can walk in. Go in the previous day and get the layout and the locations of your chosen employers. When you get there, make a beeline for the jobs you want based on your priorities. Recruiters are tired and have mostly lost their voice by the evening. Like you at the end of the day, they may even find it difficult to talk after hours of smiling, standing and talking. If you have done your homework, you know who to talk to, where they are and what questions to ask. Spend the remaining time for schmoozing, networking and touching base with friends who may know of more opportunities after their initial rounds.

This is your moment to shine. Be confident without being arrogant and I wish you the very best. Remember Please and Thank You are your friends. May the odds be ever in your favor.

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How to Create a Twitter Card

On December 8, 2014, in Raj Murthy, by Raj Murthy

TwitterCardIt is surprising to see the number of companies and the Twitterati who for some reason do not always have a Twitter card setup on their blogs. Simply put, a Twitter card is just something that ensures that your tweet expands to a preview of the rich content with a title, summary and if you wish, an image or video. These three reasons alone will considerably increase the engagement that tweet receives whether it be the link being read thus driving traffic to your site, or being retweeted and thus spreading yourself into the social sphere.

If you’ve ever watched a Vine, viewed a YouTube video or clicked on a photo with your Twitter stream, you’ve already come into contact with a Twitter card. Twitter’s card infrastructure is what allows us to have these rich media experiences that go far beyond a 140-character written message right within Twitter.

By adding a few lines of HTML to your webpage that are described here, you can create this experience for your audience, too. Any users who Tweet links to your content will have a “card” added to the tweet that’s visible to all of their followers.

There are three types of Twitter Cards: summary, photo, and video. The summary Twitter card is for articles and text-based content, while photo and video cards are self-explanatory (YouTube uses the video card type, for example). There are a few META tags used for all card types, then a few more that are card-type-specific. All META tag name attributes are prefixed with twitter so you will have to follow them verbatim

Watch out – When you edit the code remember that HTML escape characters such as / ‘ ” < and > could really mess up your formatting and invalidate your card or in some cases really mess up your wordpress or CMS for that particular post. It is best to stay away from these characters unless you know how to make them HTML friendly. The template below is for a Twitter “Summary Card”

A text version of the Twitter Card Template for your own use and customization is also included here for your perusal.

All you need to do is to use the template and update the information to your own accounts, title, link to the story, and select the path to the image you want attached and insert it into the <head> </head> portion of the page.

 

Ten things you probably did not know about Raj Murthy

On October 22, 2014, in Raj Murthy, by Raj Murthy

Here are ten things that you probably did not know about me? These are in no particular order.
WhoRYou

  • I speak about 6 languages
  • I have lived and worked in three continents
  • My immediate family lives in three continents (yes, travel is a pain)
  • My blood type is one of the rarest in the world
  • I still feel strange when someone calls me ‘Sir’
  • I am a proficient woodworker
  • I enjoy making or modding things more than writing papers
  • I have driven vehicles at over 160mph (thats about 260kmph for metric folks)
  • I do my own maintenance on vehicles I own
  • I happen to be an excellent cook, both on and off the grill
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What is this International Women’s day?

On March 8, 2014, in Raj Murthy, by Raj Murthy

Happy-Women-s-Day-2014-cartoon

A very happy International women’s day to the women of the world. For those confused by these posts on your Facebook timeline (wait,you are still on FB), March 8th is a big day for women in most countries outside the US. The days festivities include men running to the florist to grab flowers first and then dash to the local department stores in search of perfumes, scarves, trinkets, jewelry and gift certificates. For the inspired, this could also extend to making food at home for breakfast and serving it but rarely includes the clean up. It also doubles as mothers day in some east European countries. Florists have been known to have a hard time choosing between this and valentines day as their favorite days of the year to raise prices for their last minute customers.

Jokes aside, celebrate the women you have in your life, be it mother, sister, spouse, or daughter. Because, if you don’t they will remember and then make sure that you will too.

The purpose of this day and what it stands for is explained here by Hilary Clinton, who says it all at the U.N. In all seriousness, the rights women and even their safety is still under threat in most of the world including here at home in the U.S. This issue could indeed use the support of everyone, and that includes you and I. So, support equality and celebrate women for all their contributions to your life and to the world. And…. call your mother.

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