Part of the CS Internship Guide
Put Yourself in Their Shoes
One of the best pieces of advice for talking with recruiters was given to me by a friend: “Recruiters are people, too.” It sounds obvious, but these four words are insightful when deciding how to interact with potential employers.
Don’t feel intimidated
At a career fair, don’t feel intimidated. Another of my friends graduated with a computer science degree and started a job as a software developer. The next year, he returned to the college’s career fair–this time, as an engineering recruiter.
“It feels weird to see students act nervously around me,” he said. “I was in their place a year ago.” Sometimes, even my friend didn’t know exactly how he should act or what he should say as a recruiter. How do I greet students? What should we talk about?
Recruiters are people, too. If you’re wondering if what you should do, think, “If I were a recruiter, what would I want the candidate to do?”
I would want students to be warm and friendly, not exceedingly formal. I would enjoy talking about software and hearing about your accomplishments; it’s okay to emphasize your strong points. And I’d be more than happy to take questions, and answer them in an honest, insightful way.
The Interviewer Wants You to Succeed
In a programming interview, the interviewer wants you to succeed. Be friendly, act confidently and communicate clearly. Don’t take any bluntness personally; the interviewer may be recovering from a tiring overseas business trip.
After the interview, if you’re wondering whether you should write a thank-you note, consider how you would feel if you received one (or twenty, if the recruiter interviewed twenty candidates). Personally, I don’t think they have a significant effect on most engineers.
And when you’re rejected, don’t take it personally. Recruiters are people, too. Few people enjoy telling candidates they didn’t make the cut.
Recruiters are people, too
Did I mention that recruiters are people, too? Put yourself in their shoes. You’ll have an easier time in the internship interview process, whether you’re talking to an HR professional, a software engineer, or a company founder.
If you’re a recruiter, what advice would you give CS internship seekers?