Tag Archives: informational interview

How to “Wow” Your Interviewer

Claudia Enriquez is a second year student receiving her Masters in Public Administration from NYU Wagner. She currently works as a Graduate Program Assistant at NYU Wasserman. She is a New Yorker at heart, growing up in Long Island, then moving to upstate New York to attend college, and now she’s back downstate and enjoying her time at NYU.

You landed the interview, now it’s time to bring out your A game and really ‘wow’ your interviewer. Follow these simple steps below and prepare to land that dream job/internship!

Research, Research, Research

Did I mention research? Check out the company’s website. Review the company’s mission statement, values, culture, goals, achievements, recent events, and the company’s products/services.  If you know anyone who works there – ask him/her to give you the inside scoop!

Practice Makes Perfect…Or at least Preparation!

Be prepared to the job interview. Practice general and challenging interview questions with your peers.  Practice in front of a mirror – don’t be shy! The more prepared you are, the more confident you’ll feel, which will come off during the interview.  While you should practice, be authentic during the actual interview.

NYU Wasserman has plenty of great career resources.  Swing by during walk-in hours for a mini mock interview, or make an appointment with a career counselor. You can find other helpful resources on CareerNet, under the Career Resources tab. Check it out!

Get Ready and Be on Time

The night before do the following:

  • Have your outfit picked out (rule of thumb: dress one or two levels up)

  • Pack your bag

  • Print out extra copies of your resume

  • Get directions to your destination (Check alternative routes)

  • Relax and have a good night’s sleep

The day of the big interview give yourself enough time to arrive. Arrive between 5-7 minutes early. If you’re too early walk around, grab some water, etc. As soon as you walk through the door, all eyes are on you – that means, be polite to everyone, from the receptionist to the person interviewing you.  Remember to put on your best smile!

How to Answer Questions During the Interview?

During the interview make eye contact and answer questions with confidence.  Use the STAR method:

  • Situation – Describe the situation you were in (e.g., the name of the internship or course you were taking)

  • Task – Identify the specific project you were working on and briefly discuss what it entailed

  • Action – This is the most important element! Specifically identify what YOUR action was related to the question that was asked

  • Result – Close the question by stating an outcome to your situation

If you ever find yourself stuck on a question, that’s okay! Say to the interviewer ‘that’s a good question, let me think about it.’ Pause, breathe, think, and then give your answer.

Ask Meaningful Questions

At the close of the interview, the interviewer will always ask if you have any questions for them.  Have about 5-10 questions prepared, but of course, don’t ask questions already answered during the interview.

Below are good examples of what to ask the interviewer.

  1. What qualities do you think are most important for someone to excel in this position?

  2. What do you personally like most about working for this company?

  3. What would be one of the greatest challenges a person in this position would face?

  4. Can you tell me more about the team I’ll be working with?

  5. What are the next steps in the interview process?

Follow Up

Send a thank you email or a letter to your interviewer(s) 24-48 hours after the interview. If you interviewed with more than one person, send tailored individual thank you notes. Reiterate your strengths and your interest in the company. This is also an opportunity to add anything you did not discuss during the interview. As always, thank them for their time and the opportunity.

Good luck!

Hatstand Green Beret Program

Hatstand is a global financial technology consultancy with a specialist focus on electronic trading systems, connectivity, data management, risk, compliance and regulation. With offices in major trading centers in Europe, the Americas and Asia, we have launched the careers of hundreds of technology professionals, many of whom now hold senior level positions in leading financial institutions. 

Our Green Beret program focuses on talent development for technology professionals within financial services.  We select individuals with the right attitude, energy and enthusiasm, plus relevant technical experience, and combine this with bespoke training and mentoring.  Our junior consultants typically spend two years with one of our clients.

Gaurav is a Java Developer who recently completed his first year with the Hatstand Green Beret (HGB) program.  He is working with the Consolidated Alerts and Monitoring (CAM) team with one of our global investment banking clients.  Gaurav has shared a brief overview of his role, its challenges and his successes:

CAM is a global system requiring geographical distribution of resources.  It was conceived as part of Cash Equities in Investment Banking but its systems are responsible for trade monitoring activities for the entire investment banking group.  CAM systems receive client order flows from multiple systems and performs real time trade risk checks, monitoring and surveillance.  The main responsibilities in this role are application enhancement and development, testing and QA analysis.  There is no dedicated QA/testing team so it becomes the developer’s responsibility to ensure high quality of the software solution.  Developers also engage the business in requirements and testing and are sometimes required to provide L3 support. 

The team is distributed across US, Europe and APAC regions.  It is a growing team with many new people and senior developers with specific expertise in the design and implementation of high performance framework.  The team is faced with the complex and aging portfolio of software solutions.  As the number of applications has grown it has eroded the performance and stability of the system, so there is a need to review and refactor the existing system to improve performance.  Most of the development work is around application enhancements.  After every change in the application thorough regression testing needs to be performed, which is a time consuming and manual process.  I have built tools to automate certain parts of this process, which has improved overall productivity and turnaround time for regression testing.  

Before joining Hatstand I worked for two years in the software industry as a Java developer.  Through this role in the HGB program I have gained experience developing low latency high throughput financial applications, and knowledge of electronic trading in cash equity markets.  My technical skillset includes Java, databases, shell scripting and FIX protocol.  In the future I would like to continue to gain technical expertise in developing high throughput and low latency applications in the financial sector.

Want to learn more? Meet with Hatstand for a one-on-one informational interview through our Recruiter-in-Residence program on Tuesday 10/28 by RSVPing through NYU CareerNet > Events > Seminars today!

Professional Networking Tips from Treatings

Hayden Williams is Co-Founder and CEO of Treatings. Treatings is a professional networking platform that facilitates one-on-one meetups over coffee. Prior to Treatings, Hayden spent four years as an investment banker at BofA Merrill Lynch. He graduated from Vanderbilt in 2008 with a degree in Economics and Corporate Strategy.

My first job out of college was in investment banking. While Vanderbilt’s Career Center was a great resource in securing the job, it was the individual relationships I’d built the summer after my junior year that were most helpful in deciding what I wanted to do.

I was living in New York doing an internship in Consulting. I realized that I didn’t want to work in Consulting after graduating, so I had to figure out an alternative career path. I started reaching out to all of the Vanderbilt alumni I could find who were working in roles I was interested in, asking people out for coffee so I could learn about their job.

The most helpful conversations I had were with junior people working at the level I would be starting in. I wasn’t looking for a job offer, just access to information about what certain roles were like and what types of people succeeded in them. I found it more difficult to find junior people than senior people. Young professionals aren’t prominently displayed on company websites and often don’t think to open themselves up on alumni networks. But, by the end of the summer I’d met enough people in investment banking that I decided the transferable financial skills I’d pick up as an Analyst would make for a good place to start my career.

Fast forward three years later and I was promoted to Associate. I had learned a lot and worked with great people, but realized that I didn’t want to remain in investment banking forever. I wasn’t passionate about the work and my skill set was getting narrower. I wanted to leave the finance industry and potentially work at a start-up, but I didn’t know how viable that would be given my lack of technical expertise.

My best friend (and now co-founder), Paul, was in a similar situation. We both wanted to leave our finance jobs, but didn’t want to blindly transition to a job that wouldn’t be a great fit. We wanted to talk to peers who had made career transitions we were interested in. I found that existing professional networking tools were helpful in documenting and leveraging my professional network, but not reaching outside of it. This was a problem because no one in my network worked at a start-up.

Paul and I decided there should be a professional networking equivalent to online dating sites, where people could go when they wanted to meet people outside their network. So, we quit our jobs to build Treatings, a local professional network where everyone is open to meeting over coffee to share ideas and opportunities.

The core value that Treatings offers is access to knowledge. We believe that people’s insights and career experiences have as much latent value as any physical good they own, so we’re always looking to reduce the friction of knowledge transfer.

We’re a peer-to-peer networking site. We don’t differentiate between “consumers” of knowledge and “producers” of it. Most people sign up for Treatings as a consumer, not imagining that people would be interested in their insights. People are often surprised and flattered to hear they can be a producer of knowledge when they are asked by fellow members to talk about their work. People have been using Treatings to find collaborators, meet people with shared interests and learn about new skills.

We have incorporated a filter into Treatings that makes it easy for NYU alumni and students to connect with each other. You can sign up for the platform and follow companies and skills you’re interested in. You’re then matched with other members based on shared interests and can propose coffee meetings with whomever you’d like.

We think networking should be a routine part of people’s lives, but it doesn’t have to be boring or formal. Treatings is all about taking conversations about your work out of the office. We hope you get the opportunity to meet fellow members of the NYU community over coffee (or the beverage of your choice!).

Sign up today! treatings.co

Wasserman Center Meet Ups

Informational interviews can be a great way to develop your career path: allowing you a chance to gain insight into a job field and to make some new connections. However, if you don’t know what to expect or how to prepare, it can be a stressful situation. Here are some tips to make sure you get the most out of your informational interview.

Do:

  1. Research the company and the role. You want to keep informational interviews pretty short (about 30 minutes), so make sure that you’re using your time during the interview to learn some insider details about the job or the company. A good resource can be the Vault Career Insider, which can be accessed through your home page on CareerNet.
  2. Bring a resume. Even though you aren’t asking for a job (more on that later!), you want to let the interviewer get a good picture of your experience so they can give you information and advice that’s most relevant to you. This also can help them remember details about you if you maintain a relationship with the interviewer.
  3. Prepare questions that really interest you. Reflect on what matters to you in a job – hours, mobility, culture, etc. Some common questions are: What do you see as the potential for growth in this field? What can I do now to help me find employment in this field? What do you like about your career and what don’t you like about it?

Don’t:

  1. Ask for a job, internship, or interview. The interviewer granted you the informational interview as a chance for learning and networking, and if you turn it into a job hunt it will likely turn them off and hurt your reputation. After the interviewer gets to know you, it’s possible that they will keep you in mind for future hiring needs. But now is not the time.
  2. Show up without a goal in mind. If you don’t have a clear purpose for the interview, your questions and interactions might seem disjointed. Before the interview, think about what you really want to achieve: build professional contacts, learn how to break into a field, decide what role might be best for you, etc.
  3. Come too early. An informational interview usually benefits you more than it benefits the interviewer, so you don’t want to assume too much of their time. Stick to the schedule as much as possible.

Not sure that your informational interviewing skills are up to par? Schedule an appointment with a career counselor or come to a Wasserman Meet Up for a chance to chat with Wasserman staff and employers in a relaxed setting.

Meet Ups are coming up on Friday February 28, Tuesday March 11, and Thursday March 27. Click the links for more details and to RSVP.

WasserWord of the Week: Informational Interview

Informational Interview

Connecting with professionals in your field(s) of interest to get an insider perspective about their industry or company.  A great way to build contacts and learn about various career paths others have taken. Can be ineffective if contacts perceive you are simply asking for a job, and are not genuinely interested in their backgrounds.  Prepare for an informational interview like you would an actual interview by researching the individual, industry and company, and coming up with specific questions.  Ask for a specific amount of time and be mindful of their schedules  (“I would love an opportunity to meet for coffee for 30 minutes at a time and location convenient for you”); always follow up with a thank you.