What to do when talking to employers

Samantha Pearsall

It’s just one employer, so what? Wrong.

Most likely if you are at the point of talking to an employer, you are looking for a connection that will help you down the road. Whether it is an internship for the upcoming summer, a job for after graduation or a relationship that will help you in five years, it is important to make yourself memorable in the eyes of an employer.

Know your stuff

Walk in with purpose. There is no way of knowing what this employer can do for your future so take advantage of every second. Research the company, take notes and walk in with three questions you can ask that demonstrate your interest in the company. If there is not a genuine interest shown in the company, the employer is left with no desire to hire you onto their team.

“It takes 16 seconds to make an impression,” said Laurie McKinney, training specialist for Ethan Allen.

One point Bethany Olsen, senior in agriculture, made was to come prepared. Be ready to give an “elevator speech” — a clear, concise, 30-second introduction to yourself. It might take 16 seconds to make an impression but you need roughly 30 to grab their attention and practice makes perfect. This will be done repeatedly to multiple employers but its importance does not diminish, so hit all your points every time.

Stop looking at your feet

Energy matters. You may not be paying attention to their enthusiasm, but they’re noting yours. Don’t be afraid of eye contact, it’s what grown-ups do. Listen to what they are saying, if you do not know the answer to a question, McKinney says to paraphrase to buy time. Most importantly, with short encounters, be ready to talk about yourself. They will likely steer toward behavioral questions or questions that will put you on your feet rather than definitions from a textbook.

Stay in their radar

Whether you received a job offer or a firm handshake goodbye, do not let them forget about you. Send a thank-you card. Don’t have a follow-up question? Think of one and send an email. Put in the effort to make a connection and make sure you still have that connection when you need it.