October always seems to be the busiest time of the autumn quarter. The confluence of midterms and the recruiting season – and don’t forget the pandemic – is a heavy load for students to carry. We wanted to create a resource that answers some of your questions about how to engage and connect during the virtual happy hours next week.
We were lucky enough to speak with Megan Barcevac, Senior Recruiter at Highspot and Liz Weber, Strategic Account Director at the NuWest Group about how to stand out in these events, and especially in the virtual environment.
Our conversations focused heavily on how to approach recruiters and make that conversation memorable, deciding what you want to share about yourself with recruiters, and how to respectfully follow-up with recruiters after events. Different recruiters will obviously have different preferences, but Megan and Liz did have definite commonalities in what they thought made students engaging and memorable.
What is the best way to approach recruiters and stand out in your conversations?
Approaching recruiters can be stressful, and recruiters are aware of that, but Megan emphasized the importance of staying focused. Try not to let stress distract you from what you are there to do. Megan highlighted that directly communicating why you are there and what you hope to gain from that conversation will help steer the conversation in the direction that will
“Make it seem like that recruiter is the only person you hope to talk to.”
– Megan Barcevac, Senior Recruiter at Highspot
How can you make an impression when you are having a conversation in a large group?
It’s also important be aware of everyone else “also in the room” when engaging with recruiters. Liz emphasized being conscientious of the group when speaking in larger group settings. Don’t fight to get a word in and don’t be afraid to make the conversation inclusive. She really appreciates when students demonstrate their active listening and collaboration skills in group settings, even in something as simple as a conversation.
“You do not need to boil the ocean in one conversation.”
– Liz Weber, Strategic Account Director at NuWest Group
How can you prepare questions and key points beforehand to have impactful conversations?
A common thread in all of our conversations was how much easier conversations are when students have done their research ahead of time. As Megan said, “make it seem like that recruiter is the only person you hope to talk to”. She notes how there are such great resources, like LinkedIn and company websites and taking the time ahead of these events to learn more about the company and the recruiter will really help the conversation flow. Despite the availability of information, don’t feel like you have to be an expert in the organization. Recruiters know you are a student and not an employee, or as Liz said, “you don’t need an A in company history”. Allow these resources to guide your discovery of what you are interested in and what you are curious about. Megan discussed how she was excited when students are curious and ask, “deep thought-provoking questions,” and one way to do so is to be honest about what you know and what you do not understand about the company.
You don’t need an A in company history.
How do you select what to share about yourself?
What you choose to share about yourself also impacts whether or not the conversation is memorable for recruiters. Megan emphasized the importance of addressing the similarities between the organization and yourself. If you have sales experience, or are part of Husky Sales Club, or have a connection to the product or company, make those the priorities that you share in your brief interactions. Liz also highlighted that although it’s great to share as much as possible, “you do not need to boil the ocean in one conversation”. With respectful and adequate follow-up, you will talk to these people again, so don’t fret about fitting everything into one conversation.
What is the difference between respectful and nagging follow-up with recruiters?
One common thread in our discussions about follow-up was finding the balance between respectful follow-up versus nagging follow-up. Megan reminded us that as much as she wishes filing a practicum was her only role, she has other job responsibilities. Recruiters are not intentionally ignoring you. We need to be thoughtful of their time and allow 3-5 days for recruiters to get back to us. Both Megan and Liz said they both really appreciate follow-up that is concise and ties the student back to a previous connection or discussion.
New game, same rules.
No one could have anticipated the importance of creating a strong virtual presence and brand a year ago—but the reality is the recruiting process is still very much the same. As one recruiter said, “new game, same rules”. With that being said, each sales student was hand-selected by our incredible leaders at the Sales Program, and therefore each of us belongs at these events and no doubt has something to showcase and bring to the table.
Best of luck next week to everyone!
Guest post by Ann Thompson, Ashley Tan, Kate Miller, and Kellen Foster.