Good Idea, Bad Idea (for interviewing)

November 5, 2012

As part of the recruiting team here at SEP, I’ve seen quite a few candidates over the past few years. I figured I’d share some of the good and bad ideas people have had in hopes that maybe some of our future candidates will get some benefit out of those who have gone before. As I’m currently responsible for intern recruiting, a lot of this is targeted at college students, but most should be easily translatable to other candidates as well.

Good idea: know about the company you are interviewing with. Don’t just know that they are hiring your major, but know what sorts of things they do, and why you’d want to work there.

Bad idea: don’t show up for the interview, and don’t bother to let anyone know that you aren’t coming.

Good idea: be prepared to ask questions. Even if you’ve done your research, and even if you’ve talked extensively with someone that already works at the company, make sure to be ready to ask additional questions. Even if you just want to get confirmation about what you’ve heard from other sources.

Bad idea: wait to start looking for jobs until you get into your senior year of college. In the world of software development, there are a lot of companies (like us!) looking for interns. And even if you can’t get an internship in your early years at college, still look for opportunities to connect with companies at career fairs and info sessions.

Good idea: do programming outside what is required for class. This can take whatever form you like, the point is that it isn’t just something you’re doing to get a degree, it is something you are actually interested in. Some great examples: contributing to an existing open source project, working on your own little side project on Github, or being involved with a robotics group at school.