Communicating effectively with employers
Whether you are meeting with recruiters at a career fair, networking with MIT alums or negotiating a job offer, feel confident and communicate effectively during these interactions by reviewing these tips.
Make a great first impression
The first 30 seconds of an interaction, whether in-person or virtual, can make or break one person’s impression of another. While many judgments are implicit (i.e. we have no control over them), there are several ways to ensure that you are putting your best foot forward.
Be on time.
Employers expect you to arrive on time (or 5-10 minutes early) and be ready to engage. If you are going to be late for a recruiting and employer event or an interview, contact the facilitator to let them know.
Be present and engaged.
Preparing questions to engage the listener will demonstrate your genuine interest in their company or career path.
If you are attending a virtual event, turn on your camera and engage through chat functions when possible. If you are not able to have your camera on, let them know at the beginning of the conversation. Review our tips for engaging virtually with employers to learn more.
Communicate in a timely manner.
After meeting with a professional contact, following up within 24-hours is a surefire way to help them remember you and maintain the connection. Otherwise, when corresponding via email we recommend you respond within 24-48 hours to any employer communications.
Waiting too long to respond can read as disinterest or rudeness. Review CAPD’s professional correspondence samples to get started.
Assess your fit with the company
When meeting an employer or other professional contact for the first time, keep in mind your impression of them is also valuable.
Reflect on your interests and work values to make an informed decision about your next career move, and to ensure it is an opportunity for personal and professional growth.
Start by reviewing the resources below for assessing employers, as well as your own needs.
- Clarify your interests, skills, and values through self-assessment.
- Network and conduct informational interviews to gain firsthand information about a company from current employees including MIT alums.
- Learn how to use affinity/identity-specific labels for finding inclusive employers on Handshake, review CAPD’s pay equity resources, or read our guidelines for assessing employers for disability inclusion.
Advocate for yourself during the interview process
Be a proactive and timely communicator when advocating for yourself during the internship or job search. For example, you might need to request a new interview date, clarify aspects of an offer package, or request more time to make a decision about an offer.
Clear and direct communication can help you build rapport with the employer, set the tone for mutual respect, and will allow you to feel more confident in your next career decision.
The resources below can help you advocate for yourself during the interview process.
- Understand behavior norms and recruiting guidelines for students.
- Review CAPD’s recruiting guidelines for employers, including information on recruiting timelines.
- Ask questions during the interview to gain insight on the position, company, opportunity for growth, and more.
- Carefully evaluate the job offer, make note of anything that you are unsure of, and ask your recruiter any clarifying questions before accepting the position.
Having trouble making a decision about an offer? Book an appointment with a CAPD advisor to discuss further.