A View from the Top: What’s Your Story?

banner The typical HR recruiter is responsible for managing between 20 and 25 positions at a time – and they will receive anywhere between 50 to 500 resumes or submissions for every open position.  It is rumored that Google receives several thousand applications and resumes for every open position. This may or may not be true, and only Google knows for sure, but it is certain that the click and submit application process has greatly increased the number of applicants – and the number of applicants from unqualified individuals. Therefore, if you receive a request for an interview, you should feel proud! It is likely that there are many other interested individuals who were not requested to interview.  Most companies attempt to phone screen and interview no more than 7 to 10 individuals in order to find approximately 3 to 5 fully qualified finalists to bring in for face to face full-time permanent positions. The first phone screen or interview typically serves as a mechanism to whittle down the 7 to 10 candidates to a smaller number.  Recruiters, who typically work for HR, or hiring managers often focus on establishing key facts in the first interview and obtaining a sense of who the candidate is as an individual.  Your role, as a candidate, is to help them to understand you as a person, as well as to understand you as an employee. All of us bring ourselves to work with us every day.  Your Doctor Who sleeping angels screen saver says something about you as a person, as does your secret addiction to Justin Bieber. The fact that you know when the next Game of Thrones season will be announced provides insight into you as a person as well. Regardless, this does not mean that you should waste valuable interview time talking about television, although some people might ask you what shows you watch. It does mean that you need to be able to help others to understand you as a person, or, in other words, be able to quickly share your personal story.  What might that look like?

  • I did not belong to many clubs because I worked my way through college and paid for more than half of my expenses each year.  My parents were not able to contribute to the cost of attending Bentley, and I did not want to graduate with extensive student loans.
  • My Dad runs a small business and my Mom is a school teacher.  My classes in International Business helped me to see that I really want to work for a larger, more global company.
  • I love science fiction and read it whenever I have a chance.  I like to decompress, but it also helps me to keep thinking about all of the interesting things that science can still achieve.
  • As an athlete, I had to balance my commitment to the team to my commitment to my studies.  I had to learn how to be very focused on prioritizing.
  • I have been a science geek all of my life. I hope to work for an organization where I can be excited about the technology that is in use every day.
  • I participated in a number of social events during my time at Bentley.  I like meeting people and the college is really set up to make that happen easily.

Each of these stories paints a quick picture, which a good recruiter will then use as an opportunity to get to know you.  A good recruiter is listening for your story in order to get to know you as a person.  Help them to open the door to a great conversation. What’s your story? You are encouraged to send questions directly to me at e.walker@bentley.edu or to visit me at 310 Adamian.  Or simply bookmark this blog which will occur on a regular basis.  Next blog we will discuss why interviews sometimes go wrong.

By Elaine Walker
Elaine Walker Lecturer