“There Are No Dumb Questions Here”

How many times have you sat in an interview and swallowed a question out of fear it may be the dreaded “stupid question”?   Wouldn’t it be nice to run a few of those by an employer knowing there’s nothing at stake?  Just once?  Well, you may be in luck!

step brothersCopyright: 2008 Columbia Pictures

Career Development has been offering the Employer in Residence program for several years, providing students the opportunity to meet with professionals in an informal setting. They are encouraged to share their apprehensions about interviewing, the job search process and posing those tricky questions they aren’t sure are appropriate to ask during a formal interview.   “It’s like a webinar in that students get information without getting tested on it afterwards,” shares Ezra Schattner ’93, New York Life agent and current Employer in Residence.  “It’s fun for me when students come in and have some good questions like, ‘I don’t know what to say when an employer asks me about a weakness.” (Tip: Repackage the question so references an area for development that complements a strength)

“When I’m interviewing a new candidate, I’m hiring for technical skills, but I”m also hiring someone who can be a fit within the culture of the group and company.  I want a student to ask themselves if they’re going to be in a position they’ll appreciate and grow in it.”

Thuy Le, recruiter for City Year, loves when students ask the “Day in the Life”  question, what motivates her every day and what challenges exist in her role or at her organization.  “I remember attending networking opportunities during my undergraduate years and feeling nervous about it.  ‘Networking’ is often associated with being aggressive and being out of people’s comfort zone.  I learned to understand that it’s simply having conversations and obtaining as much information as you can, and that employers want students to talk to them and ask questions. I always try to paint a realistic picture of what their experience will be like in City Year, because like all employers, we want to find the right people who will be the best fit.  I would also encourage students to relax and be themselves – we want to know the real you!”

Both Thuy and Ezra will be taking part in the Employer in Residence portion of the Senior Career Conference as well as also hosting hours throughout the semester.  If you’re looking for another voice to assuage your concerns and dispel some of the mysteries about the working world, head over to Stearns on Thursday, 1/23 or check out the programming calendar for upcoming dates.  Match Education, Peace Corps, Raytheon and Shawmut Design and Construction will also be on campus throughout the semester so be sure to come on by!

Derek Cameron is a member of the Career Development Employer Relations team and always looking for new ways to bring the employer’s voice to campus.

Rip van ‘Tastic: A Tasty Startup in San Francisco

photo

Rip van Wafels in action!

This post was written by Derek Cameron, an Associate Director in the Employer Relations Department of the Career Development office. He recently interviewed upperclassman Arun Basandani who is currently working in San Francisco at a “tasty” startup. 

The thought of moving to the West Coast and working for a startup is either a brave or crazy notion, depending on who you are, but that is exactly what Business major, Arun Basandani ’15, did when he embarked on his first co-op with Rip van Wafels, a San Francisco-based food company.

Founded in 2009 by Amsterdam native, Rip Pruisken, Rip van Wafels has sought to revolutionize how Americans enjoy their coffee time by bringing a piece European culture into the home and office with stroopwafels, a popular Dutch caramel-filled wafel.  The wafels are set atop a mug with the steam heating up the creamy filling. Because it takes a few minutes for the steam to warm the filling it creates a natural break, something that Pruisken hopes will provide everyone just enough time to slow down and enjoy their day.

As their Business Manager, Basandani helps execute their nationwide expansion strategy.  He has been involved in the planning and execution of an array of business verticals including:  sales, operations, finance, R&D and marketing.  “I made a deliberate decision to do my first co-op with a startup and I’m glad I did.  Every day is completely different from the day before, which makes this job interesting and exciting.  I have the ability to do work that actually has an impact and is relevant to the company.  It gives me the chance to be part of something that is fundamentally changing consumer behavior in the US and beyond.”

As far as choosing San Francisco as a potential co-op destination, Basandani fully endorses it, “San Francisco is one the most exciting, beautiful and vibrant cities in America. I love travelling, meeting new people and seeing new places so I loved the entire experience of moving to an unknown place. San Francisco has a lively art, music and sport scene with delicious cuisines from all over the world. Apart from the expensive real estate and chilly weather, there isn’t much wrong with this city.”

If you would like to learn about opportunities with Rip van Wafels or to hear more about their company, head over to the Curry Ballroom and meet them in person at the Startup and Entrepreneurship Fair on Wednesday, 11/20.  They will be on hand from 12:00-3:00 p.m. and eager to meet with Northeastern students!