Dear college seniors,
I really sympathize with the senior year recruiting grind. It’s not easy, and I would argue for many of you this will be one of the most challenging points in your career.
Why? I’m going to painfully lay out your situation -- bear with me.
- You have no full-time occupation except college, which has a hard expiration date in May or June. Employers will fill the majority of their new-graduate positions prior to this deadline.
- Regardless of your internship experience, it’s unlikely that you can add significant value to an employer, yet. You probably need a baseline of training and experience to be a net positive contributor to a team. This typically takes 3 to 6 months.
- Students are frequently hired for their potential, not prior experience or domain-specific knowledge. Because the market is flooded with high potential students, it’s difficult to stand out.
- Negotiating compensation is already difficult, but it’s even more difficult for your first job. This is precisely because you are hired as a high potential commodity. Employers don’t need to make you happy with compensation when you have no unique value proposition.
And the worst part?
Employers know all of this.
You haven’t even officially started your career yet and are already forced to participate on an uneven playing field.
If you’ve ever found yourself praying before an interview for the universe to help you “just get this one offer”, you’re experiencing the symptoms of this fundamentally uneven playing field.
This is not my subjective interpretation of senior year recruiting. This is a non-sugar coated view of reality.
Unfortunately there’s no trick or hack that will get you through this. So what’s the solution?
It’s all about your attitude.
Too often, students feel the pressure from the situation described above and crack. After one or two rejections, their confidence free falls into a downward spiral. They no longer believe they are worthy for their dream job.
They show up to interviews as a shell of their former enthusiastic and confident selves. All of which results in them settling, taking whatever job they can find.
I’m writing this now --before recruiting kicks off -- as a reminder to stay strong. You are about to embark on a difficult journey for the next few months.
No matter how many rejections you get, or how many dream jobs are lost… it only takes 1 offer to make it all worth it.
So make these few months count. Brush up your resume and cover letter, practice your technical questions, and don’t forget the often overlooked behavioral questions.
When you’re walking into an interview on campus, don’t worry about the other 20 smart students (many of whom you may know and respect) interviewing for the same role. Focus on yourself.
And when you do get an offer, don’t let employers push you around. Be smart, do your research, and have an educated opinion. If you need more time to make a decision, be upfront and tell the hiring team. If you think you should be paid more, politely pushback and negotiate.
I’m confident that if you do this, you will land an amazing job offer. The skills and maturity you develop through this process will carry with you well into your future. And best of all, you will enjoy the rest of senior year, excited to graduate and join the company you chose.
This moment, is arguably one of the highest leverage moments of your career. Give it 100% and make it count.