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Company Open House: What to expect

  1. Jan 23, 2006 #1

    enigma

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    On Saturday, I'm going to an open house for a local aerospace company. I've been telling myself that - come-hell-or-high-water - I'm not leaving there without a job.

    The classifieds are just not working (coming up on a month without a single response), so I'm hoping this will be my chance. If it doesn't work, I'm going to need to figure something else out, because I'm going stir-crazy. I'm qualified for a good deal of the positions that have been advertised, I'm just not getting any call-backs. At all.

    I've never been to an open house for anything except renting or buying houses. What should I expect when I go there? It's supposed to be 4 hours long, and again, it's on a Saturday. They are saying that hiring managers for many of their departments will be present.

    What should I bring? Resumes obviously... I went out and bought some of the heavy duty resume paper. I'm thinking that I will build a 10 to 15 minute presentation about a design project which I led senior year, and the subsequent graduate projects I did based on it (optimization, etc.). Although I'm not hoping to be hired as a drafter, I have several impressive drawings and designs I have either done myself or contributed to. Is there anything else I should consider bringing?

    Oh... and I'm going out now to buy a nice suit. I haven't bought a new complete one since my high school graduation a decade ago... only pieces.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 23, 2006 #2

    Astronuc

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    Take along resumes.

    Look professional.

    And, do some homework on the company. Know about there technology, and if they have had some papers at a recent AIAA conference/symposium, read up on that stuff so you have some idea of what the company is doing.

    This is also a good reason to belong to AIAA or other engineering society, so that one can make contacts with industry professionals well before one leaves school.

    Companies look favorably upon students who show initiative.
     
  4. Jan 23, 2006 #3

    russ_watters

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    Make personal business cards and paperclip them to the resume. Put a little phrase under your name that you think sum's up your professional persona (I had something like "creative problem solver" on mine) and list single or two-word skills at the bottom. It is a good way to get - and more importantly stay - inside the head of the person looking at the resumes.

    On the resume, in interviews, on the business cards, etc., emphasize skills and experience (a senior design project is experience) over education - every engineer has the same education. Unless, that is, you were a real superstar in school - top 5 or 10%. Then advertise that.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2006
  5. Jan 23, 2006 #4
    enigma

    Russ and Astronuc have given some very good advice. Below is a link to a more or less typical open house from an employers point of view.

    http://www.inc.com/magazine/19960801/1776.html

    Definitly research the company and their products, even their production and programs not necessarily taking place in your geographical area.

    These guys are looking for team players, circulate around if there is an opportunity, and talk briefly with others while at the same time looking like a "stand on your own" type of guy.

    It has been my experience that there are usually one or more higher level management types circulating among the applicants, or observing in some way.

    Be cool. You are the man. They need you. They need your abilities. Modestly convince them.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2006
  6. Jan 24, 2006 #5

    enigma

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    Good grief, I spent a lot. Bought a whole wardrobe... I will need it though.

    Two suits - one tan with 2 pants, and one dark grey with one.
    An extra pair of pants.
    2 suit bags
    6 shirts
    1 pair of cufflinks
    5 ties
    A tie chain
    2 pair of shoes
    2 nice casual sweaters
    2 bundles of socks
    a belt. A pair of suspenders

    I am going to look hawt. :cool:
     
  7. Jan 24, 2006 #6

    Evo

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    Smile a lot. Make eye contact. Don't be afraid to ask them questions about the company, what you would be doing in the job and even ask the interviewer about what they do, if there is time.

    POSTURE! Don't slouch. If there are refreshments, go lightly, don't load up on food and drink, they'll make note of that.

    Remember a firm grip on a handshake is important. That doesn't mean crush their hand. Look them in the smile and relax when you shake their hand. Try to keep your palms dry. Don't fidgit. Get a good night's sleep the night before and maybe no alcohol, you don't want blood shot eyes. Breath mints, but don't be chewing on anything while you are talking.

    Be prompt. Don't argue. In one interview a candidate was asked to explain something on his resume. The guy started with "well, you have to understand". He was talking to our VP, our VP stopped the interview and walked the guy out. He said "no, "I" don't have to understand anything". :bugeye:
     
  8. Jan 24, 2006 #7

    Moonbear

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    Yes, that's important...it shows confidence AND that you have taken the time to know the company you're applying to work for so they know you're making an educated decision about working there, not just trying to get any job you can get (even if that is your real goal).

    Hee hee...yeah, it's kind of hard to talk to people if your mouth is constantly full or to shake hands if you're juggling a plate overloaded with appetizers along with a big glass of punch. Stick to the single bite here and there between talking to people if you must eat (depending on how long the thing goes, you might need a little sustenance). Even if they for some reason serve alcoholic beverages at this thing, don't drink them. Leave them for the VPs and such, and stick to water. Stay away from stuff like punch too...only because if you do get nervous or bumped and wind up spilling it, it's bad enough to be wet on an interview, even worse to have a big red stain in the middle of your brand new shirt.

    If they have refreshments, wrap a napkin around your cup and hold it with your right hand...when it's time to shake hands, switch the cup to your left hand, and voila, a sweat-free hand to shake with. :biggrin:

    You probably knew all that stuff already. Same deal as those grad school interviews, etc.

    To add to that, answer directly. A clear, "yes" or "no" followed by your elaboration gets the point across much better than if you ramble around with your answer. If they ask you something you really don't know the answer to, don't BS it, they'll see right through that. Give an answer such as, "I'm not sure what you mean by that," or whatever is appropriate (in other words, don't stand there with a deer-caught-in-headlights look, just tell them you don't know and move on). If it's something you could find out, tell them that too. I think that at an open house type thing, they won't be getting into too much detail, but more trying to do an initial screen for good candidates to ask back for the more detailed interviews, but be prepared just in case they are asking the details.

    Some things they may be quickly screening that you should be prepared to answer are:
    What have you done that distinguishes you from the other however many applicants wandering around the room that day?
    What skills do you have that fit with the company goals?
    Do you still envision yourself at the company in 10 years time, and if so, what role do you see yourself in? (This can be asked many different ways, but they'll want to find out if you're really thinking about a career with them or just a short-term job, and they'll want to know if you're looking to advance into higher levels of leadership in the company, etc.)
    Are you willing to travel or relocate? (Travel isn't usually too bad unless they're talking about every week, but sometimes companies interview applicants in one location, but realize they might best fit an opening at another location, so think about whether you really want a local job or are willing to relocate so when they ask you that question, you can give them a clear answer...you might want to look up their other locations in advance too...there might be some you'd move to and others you wouldn't, and so you could even bring that up if they ask, letting them know that you wouldn't mind relocating along their east coast offices, as an example, but can't really picture yourself moving to the midwest...or maybe you would consider it, but only if they cover relocation expenses).

    Other than that, the main thing is this is giving you face-time with them. It helps put a face to the resume and gives you a chance to show them who you are beyond the facts on a resume.

    Good luck!
     
  9. Jan 24, 2006 #8
    Ask yourself what would tribdog do, then don't.
     
  10. Jan 24, 2006 #9

    FredGarvin

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    I think the only thing I would add to the list of do-nots is to not try to BS anyone to show how brilliant you are. I would imagine that you will meet people out of your realm of expertise and they'll throw some stuff at you. Some of them will be fishing. Chances are they'll all talk to each other when this is all over. You don't want to be tagged as a know-it-all who really doesn't know jack.

    Personally, I think the home run hitters are the folks that, when they get past the formal questions every interview has, can hold an intelligent conversation, make points and ask questions without coming off as a jerk. That shows just how interested they are in what that that company does. I think the ability to do that shows a maturity that a lot of college students don't have. I think Harley Davidson was a company I was reading about that said they didn't want to hire anyone who wasn't passionate about motorcycles. Same diff.
     
  11. Jan 24, 2006 #10
    mention PF, we carry quite a bit of pull you know.
     
  12. Jan 24, 2006 #11

    Evo

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    Do you have a nice leather (or leatherette) folio? That is very professional looking, you can keep your resume copies in it and allow your self a copy to refer to when they go over your resume. If they ask you a question you can glance at it to refresh your memory of what you wrote, pretend to be taking notes as an excuse to have your portfolio open, you may really even want to take notes during the interview.

    NO HEAVY COLOGNE!!!! None may be the best, you don't want whatever you're wearing to bring back bad memories of someone else that wore the same thing, or be something they just don't like. I will not hire anyone that wears anything with musk in it. :devil:

    If you wear jewelry, you might want to skip it. You're entering unknown shark infested waters, better to be safe.
     
  13. Jan 24, 2006 #12
    free hand jobs
     
  14. Jan 24, 2006 #13

    Moonbear

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    Actually, one should avoid having any strong odors emanating from the general direction of one's body during the interview. :biggrin: Shower, wear your deodorant, brush your teeth, don't have beans for dinner the night before...:bugeye:

    (Okay, I think everyone covered everything important by a few posts ago...you'll do great! And get someone to take some pics of you in those spiffy new outfits to post for us! :!!))
     
  15. Feb 6, 2006 #14

    enigma

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    Yay! *HAPPY DANCE*

    I just got a call back setting up a phone interview for tomorrow!

    *CARTWHEEL*

    Over a month of nothing, and all it takes to get a phone call is going to an open house. This applying online thing is for the birds.

    *BACK HANDFLIP*

    Ouch. Someone call an ambulance. I think I pulled something.
     
  16. Feb 6, 2006 #15

    Astronuc

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    Cool!!! :cool: FAR OUT!!!! :tongue2: Exxxcellent!!!!! :biggrin:

    Good news. Make us proud! :approve:

    And don't hurt yourself! :rolleyes:

    Best wishes for much success!!!!
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2006
  17. Feb 6, 2006 #16

    Evo

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    Yay!!!!!!

    I had no doubts. Once you're employed, little enigmo will be expecting his e-child support checks. :devil: :biggrin:
     
  18. Feb 6, 2006 #17

    Moonbear

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    Woo hoo!!!! Now stop with the cartwheels before you break something! :biggrin: Yes, meeting people in person is always better than trying to convey who you are through a letter or email or even just a phone conversation. That's why companies hold these, because they can get a better sense of who you are when choosing people to interview.

    Congrats and good luck!!! The nice thing about a phone interview is you don't have to worry about what you wear, or having them see you referring to notes, etc. However, since it's a phone, you have to be very careful to speak clearly so they can understand you. Make sure all other distractions are removed...no TV or radio in the background, chase your roommates or officemates off (not sure if they're calling you at home or your office), if you have call waiting, temporarily deactivate it if you can, silence the cell phone so it isn't ringing in the background...all that sort of thing so you can focus on the interview and only the interview. :biggrin: :smile: :biggrin: :smile: :biggrin: :smile: :approve:
     
  19. Feb 6, 2006 #18
    ENIGMA

    CONGRATULATIONS MAN

    Follow Moonbears excellent advice. Also speak a just little slower than you would in a face to face conversation.
    You should try to be as relaxed as you can on the phone because an experienced interviewer may notice tension in your voice. There is a way to help do that if your think it might apply to you.

    Many years ago I asked my brother-in-law how he dealt with the stress and pressure of being an air traffic controller. And how could he stay calm knowing how many lives he was responsible for. His answer was:

    "I think of my job as if it were a very difficult game and I play that game to win.
    It would be of no help to the airline passengers I am responsible for if I were sitting here stressed out and chewing on my fingernails."

    This approach is not for everyone, but if you think it might help, play it like a game and play to WIN!
     
  20. Feb 7, 2006 #19

    enigma

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    And now for your regularly scheduled installment of "Find enigma a job"

    Interview went fairly well, I think. Now I have to wait for them to finish their screening processes and see if I get a call back for a full interview.
     
  21. Feb 7, 2006 #20

    Moonbear

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    I can't stand the suspense!!!!! :surprised
     
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