Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

Interview Prep — How To Succeed Before, During and After the Interview

With a robust array of job and internship postings, a steady stream of employers visiting CCD to interview students, and my calendar full of appointments with students looking for ways to sharpen their interviewing skills, I wanted to bring your attention to a great opportunity to do just that.  Next Wednesday, March 11, at 7:30 am, Babson’s Alumni Office will be hosting Babson entrepreneur and author, Neil Berdiev M’09, who will share practical and actionable tips from his latest book — The Little Silver Book — Interviewing.  His tips will help job and internship seekers succeed before, during and after the interview.

interiewing the little silver book

For more information, and to register, click here.  Current students may apply the discount code LEARN10 to receive free admission to the event.  Books may be purchased for $13 at the event.  I asked Neil if he would kindly share his insights on interviewing, please see guest blog below.


In addition to this event, know that CCD has a variety of interviewing resources.  Career Beam (accessed through the HUB, your student portal) is an amazing on-line resource, available 24X7.  Career Beam provides insight into the employer’s perspective of interviews, sample interview questions, company research, and the opportunity to record and practice a virtual interview.  In addition, CCD’s Career Advisers are here to help you prepare for interviews and are happy to conduct practice mock interviews with you and provide feedback on your areas of strengths and challenges.  We are highly experience provessionals with a variety of professional backgrounds.  CCD has also recently launched a new AIA (Alumni Industry Adviser) program, which brings alums in industry into our office to meet with you to do the same.  You can sign up for an Advising Appointment or upcoming AIA on Babson Career Connections (also accessed through the HUB).  Take advantage of these resources right at your fingertips!

Guest Blog by Neil Berdiev, Founding Partner of DNB Advisory and Author of The Little Silver Book — Interviewing

Neil Berdiev

Just follow the instructions!

If you ask corporate recruiters what is one of the key causes that eliminates job applicants, the answer may surprise you with its simplicity – it is the candidates’ failure to follow instructions. There is nothing worse than wasting hours of your time applying and then being rejected for missing a minimum GPA, certain level of education, key required experience, or a professional certification to qualify. When you miss the basics so early in the application process, you will likely signal to the hiring team that you do not pay attention to details, are disorganized, or do not value people’s time (let alone yours). Neither is good, especially if an organization needs top talent. The process tends to be less forgiving of more junior candidates OR for jobs that are in higher demand, with many quality candidates in the running.

I led a career coaching panel a few weeks ago. A recruiter on the panel emphasized the following:

  • Follow application instructions
  • Ensure that you meet minimum qualification requirements
  • Understand what it is that you are applying for

Naturally, some of us do not take no for an answer. If your qualifications are close to what’s required or if you can demonstrate that your background still qualifies you for the opportunity, make sure you communicate this message clearly. You may want to communicate through a well-written cover letter. You may want to deliver this message through a member of your network. You should proactively address this issue when you speak to members of the hiring team. Just applying and hoping for the best will not work. As I have heard many times from my mentors – hope is a not a strategy!

Another great pet peeve of corporate recruiters is the lack of preparation. Many companies take search for employees seriously. They expect that you will do the same. Knowledge of the industry, at least on some essential level, is required. It is true that when you have limited work experience and may not know what you want to do long-term, applying to companies in different industries can mean quite a few industry reports to sift through. Besides the industry reports, you may be reading about the company, scrolling through annual reports, researching news, looking at employee and customer ratings, and, my favorite, developing your network within the company. Yes, it is time-consuming but that is the expectation and what successful people. We may not like the expectations but have to understand them and work to meet and exceed them. The more competition you have for a job or an internship, the more prepared you have to be.

A corporate recruiter friend of mine manages a recruiting function for a national corporation. She recently completed a recruiting season for their internship program. The program was so competitive that over 50 applicants applied for every spot in the program. After she narrowed down the list to a couple hundred prequalified candidates, her team eliminated over a third (!) during phone screens for not knowing exactly what the company did and what the industry was all about. Think of it this way – when it is highly competitive, as it is in a stronger economy, hiring teams have minutes or even seconds to size up a candidate, make a spot decision, and move to the next one. There is something to ponder about…

Lastly, hiring managers regularly encounter candidates who think that they are so good at adapting to circumstances that they can wing talking about a prospective employer’s business model and its industry. Alas, recruiting teams can see through this kind of behavior. Would you want to hire someone who does not prepare, especially for an important meeting? I rest my case.