Part of the CS Internship Guide
If you already know how to talk to a recruiter, stop right here. If you’ve never been to a career fair before, read on.
Today’s entry features a student, Michael, walking up to a recruiter for XYZ Co. at a career fair. Michael understands that recruiters are people, too, so he doesn’t feel nervous.
Michael: Hi, I’m Michael.
Recruiter: Nice to meet you, Michael.
[They firmly shake hands]
Michael: I’m a second-year CS major and I’m looking for an internship next summer. Is XYZ Co. looking for interns?
// Since Michael did his research, he already knows XYZ Co. is looking for interns. He asked the question to drive the conversation.
Recruiter: Yes, we are! Can I see your resume?
[Michael takes a resume out of his padfolio]
Recruiter: [Scans resume] So, tell me about yourself.
Michael: As you know, I’m a CS student at ABC University. I’ve taken a ton of programming classes here, including data structures, computer architecture, and operating systems. My favorite language is Java, but I consider myself a fast learner when I have to dive into a new language.
// Like Michael, you don’t need to talk about your non-technical hobbies. The exception is when you’re on the ultimate Frisbee team and the company makes sports-related software.
Recruiter: Cool. [Continues looking at resume] Tell me about this Java game you made.
Michael: That was a project I did just for fun. Two friends and I had this idea for a fun little 2D game, so we collaborated on the design and implementation.
[Michael says a few more sentences about the technical details.]
Recruiter: What was your biggest challenge coding the project?
// This is a very common question! Another common question is “Why do you want to work at XYZ Co.?”
Michael: So we had this one loop…
[Michael explains the problem and solution clearly and concisely.]
Recruiter: Sounds like an awesome project. Is the source code online?
Michael: Yes, you can see the code on GitHub. My GitHub URL is on my resume.
Recruiter: Great! Do you have any questions for me?
// Always ask at least one question, and make sure it’s relevant
Michael: What’s the company culture like?
Recruiter: Personally, I love it. We have a very flat organization. You can walk into the CEO’s office and ask him a question any time. For dress code, you can wear basically anything–I wear shorts and flip flops. And I’m sure you’ll be happy to know the office kitchen always has free snacks and coffee.
Michael: Sounds awesome. Do you have any more questions for me?
Recruiter: Nope. It was great talking with you, Michael. I’ll send you a follow-up email in a few days.
Michael: Thank you!
Do you think Michael has a good chance of getting an interview? Would you have done anything differently? Let us know in the comments.