Editor’s note: Derek Glenzinski is a Director of Sales – Store Brands for ConAgra Foods. He is a 1991 Bradley graduate, who now recruits students for ConAgra and came to campus this week for the spring job fair. The Scout interviewed him to gain perspective on what recruiters look for when hiring new employees.
Scout: What is the best thing students can do to stand out in today’s job market?
Glenzinski: The best thing they can do to stand out is show energy and be aggressive. The ones who have separated themselves not only have we hired, but some of them have excelled really quickly.
I’m a sales director, so I’m looking for sales people. People walk up to me and say, ‘You know I’ve already researched your company,’ it shows they’re not just wandering around aimlessly. It’s verbal, but there’s the nonverbal side of it where I’ve also seen good people that don’t know much about [the company], but you can tell they would be good sales people.
S: What are the top things recruiters look for on resumes?
G: There are three things I look for. I look for a good GPA. In general, we look for a 3.0 or higher. Second, I look for experience, so I like it when people have got some sort of experience in sales or an applicable field. It’s not that I don’t hire people who aren’t in there, but it’s a bonus. The third is what I call extras. I want to see people that are involved – being a part of the Scout, of a fraternity or working full-time. I want to know that they didn’t just do their classroom work and that’s it.
S: How much does GPA matter?
G: To me, it’s all dependent on what your major is. There used to be a professor who said something, and it’s always stuck with me. If I want to hire someone to do my taxes or my accounting, I want someone who’s a 4.0 student because I want someone who is right 99 to 100 percent of the time. If I want to hire a sales person, I’m OK with someone who’s got a 3 to 4.0.
S: How much does a student’s major matter, specifically if he or she is applying for a job that does not typically call for his or her major?
G: It depends on what kind of job you’re looking at. But if you’re within the right college and the general proximity, I think it’s OK in most cases. But I also have had a number of instances where we’ve hired people that are advertising or PR major, but they work well from a sales or marketing perspective because they know how to sell themselves.
S: What are the top mistakes you see students make in job interviews?
G: One is lack of preparation – so not going in knowing more than what the company is about or what brands they represent.
The second one is not being prepared with questions to ask. Often students have one question, or maybe two, which is OK for first rounds. But when you get into second interviews, you’re often being interviewed in multiple rounds and I see people say ‘I’ve had all my questions answered by the previous person.’
You always want to ask a question. Even if you’ve asked a question of one interviewer, ask another because oftentimes they’ll be in one part of the company and you’ll get another answer. The third is that students are not prepared for behavioral questions.
S: What is your reaction when you receive answers that seem scripted?
G: If it was my choice between the two, I’d rather have them have it scripted than not have the answers. But a good interviewer will take that scripted answer and take it deeper. I usually ask two or three follow-up questions. It’s best to try to be natural in your delivery of it.
S: What else do recruiters look for that students should know?
G: The one last thing I ask for is sale. I want you to ask me for the job. I think it’s important to ask for any position you’re in, because if you ask for the job it shows your commitment and passion.
S: Should this be done subtly or directly?
G: I try to leave that up to the person. It’s got to be a natural style for them. Some can come across naturally and blatantly ask for it.