Nicolas Fernandez has interned or Co-Op’d at Texas Instruments, John Deere, Eaton, and ArcelorMittal. He shares his career fair and interview tactics. Nicolas is pursuing his M.S. in Electrical Engineering at The Ohio State University.
Pablo: [00:00:00] Today. I have Nick Fernandez here with us. He is in a house, a student currently interning at T I instruments Nick. Welcome to 500 firms. Tell me about yourself,
Nicolas: [00:00:11] everyone. I’m so on. Nicola’s Fernandez. I was born and raised in Columbia, South America. I recently graduated, uh, with a bachelor’s of science in electrical engineering from Ohio state, and I’m also currently pursuing a master’s in electrical engineering at Ohio state.
I’ve been heavily involved with many pseudo organizations, primarily with ship the society of Hispanic professional engineers. And as of today, I’ve had, um, competed five internships and I’m currently in my sixth internship with Texas instruments in Dallas, Texas as a manufacturing engineer.
Pablo: [00:00:43] That is a lot of internships.
So you are definitely a pro at the career fair. So, which begs the question, everyone’s wanting to know, what is your elevator
Nicolas: [00:00:53] pitch. So, so funny enough, I don’t believe in elevator pitches. Um, I think that sets, um, a lot of robotic type of personality that engineer’s already get. Um, if we put ourselves in the shoes of a recruiter, he or she is seeing over a hundred students and throughout the career fairs.
So you don’t want to be one more in the pile of, that’s just saying their name, their major. Um, you want to have it more of a conversation. Instead of Joe’s site preparing an elevator pitch, and sometimes you might get nervous, you might forget, and then you just start rambling on something else and you just don’t look prepared.
So instead of having something memorized, do you want to have it more of a conversation? I like to think about it like if you’re trying to get up someone’s number, trying to take them on a date instead of just like thinking, Oh, I’m need to get this interview.
Pablo: [00:01:42] Yeah. I like that. That’s interesting. So the philosophy, if I understand correctly, it’s, um, think about dating that that individual booter a strong report, strong relationship.
So when you meet the individual, what do you do with your resume?
Nicolas: [00:01:55] So compared to a lot of college students, um, I actually like to hold off on it. Um, I know in the career fair throughout my years, I’ve seen that the first thing someone does is. Here you go, here’s my resume. I like to keep it to myself. So instead of just giving it right away, I like to like have that conversation because what I’ve seen is that as soon as you give that recruiter your resume, you lose them.
So their attention is just start like reading your resume and even though you’re talking, they might even interrupt you in the middle of like your conversation and in your head you’re like, that’s literally just what I was saying. So it’s just like, again, going back to dating a girl or a guy’s not going to give her number right away.
They try to know you a little bit better, and then they’re like, okay, here’s my number. Yeah.
Pablo: [00:02:39] Just don’t give your ways resume away. Kind of like have them ask for it after you have like a report so that they kind of feel good with this conversation kind of moving forward.
Nicolas: [00:02:47] Yeah. Yeah, definitely. And it’s, and it’s not like, you don’t want to think like.
You don’t want to go into like, Oh, my resume is this elite resume type of mentality. No, you’re, you’re still a student and you have a goal in mind is just more like have that one on one conversation and have that resume on hand. Like when they asked for it. After you have that first conversation, you can give it to them, but don’t go in thinking like, okay, I hear this like amazing person that you only have one resume for the entire career.
Pablo: [00:03:16] Yeah. So tell me, what should all interviewees be prepared to answer? Uh, from any interviewer?
Nicolas: [00:03:26] My, my first one that I personally seen it throughout all my interviews and I’ve seen a lot of my friends is, why do you want to work for the company? Um, during college if you’re trying to get an internship.
That’s be honest. You just completed your sophomore, junior year. Even some first years. You don’t have that much technical knowledge, so they’re not going to be asking you like many like they are, but they’re not going to be asking like, Oh, how to solve this circuit or these like complex things. Or just want to get to know your personality and why you would be a good fit.
Because at the end of the day, they’re going to be teaching you everything you need to know, but they just need to see that you have a passion for their company and for what they’re doing. So always be ready to answer that. Why do you want to work for our company?
Pablo: [00:04:07] Perfect. So you’re working at Tia instruments.
How did you enter that question? Why do you want to work for, why’d you want to work for I instruments?
Nicolas: [00:04:14] So, so for me, um, and this is something that I’ve answered a lot of recently because it’s like the beginning of the internship and it’s my sixth internship and person with Tia. My response is I was just like fascinated with how they actually make integrated circuits.
So my previous internships, I’ve been working in manufacturing with a lot of big equipment. So for example, one of them was with John Deere, so working with their tractors and some other ones were with Eden. So big, um, high voltage, just gear. But I was just fascinated at how a company can manufacture something that is smaller than your fingerprint.
And that’s something that I like. Really try to focus that I had that passion of learning and that passion of diving in more in their industry.
Pablo: [00:04:57] So when you asked that question, it sounded like you usually exuded a lot of confidence and really had a passion of something that was particular of the company.
So therefore it just looked like you were a perfect fit for the position at that point.
Nicolas: [00:05:09] Yeah, definitely. So my buying recommendations, I’d won. Always try to like. I like allude to that personal side of the interviewer. So getting like what you’re passionate about and trying to align that with the company or something that they might do.
But another good one that I’ve seen this, people might not have like a straight connection to their company or to their product, but they just saw somebody really interested in school or product that might be working and they just want to see a different side of it in industry. Perfect.
Pablo: [00:05:38] Perfect. Um, what if they ask the question, are you willing to relocate?
What would you say? What’d you
Nicolas: [00:05:43] recommend? You’re the answer me. For me, I would recommend always, always say that you are willing to relocate personally. Um, so, so it’s because you don’t want to shut that door before it’s open. So at times. They might not even give you the offer if you said that you’re not willing to relocate.
So in my personal experience, I’ve worked in Indiana, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Georgia, and now in Texas. And that’s something that companies might have locations throughout the entire country or even the world. But then there’s some that just haven’t in particular places. And if you say, I’m only looking to, let’s say, let’s go to Florida to like the summer or something of that, and they’re in the Midwest.
They’re not going to give you an offer. But if you say, yes, I’m very interested, they’re still going to consider you. And once you have that offer, then you can decide whether or not you want to say yes or no.
Pablo: [00:06:35] So your recommendations say yes to relocation. And then once you get the offer, then negotiate or figure something out down the road.
It’s, it’s, it’s, it’s an easy answer
Nicolas: [00:06:45] because at the end of the day, an internship is more on the lines of you trying to interview the company. And get more experience in the industry of students college finish and not be going into, I’m looking for a place to have a great summer outside of work. You have to be looking at as an investment for yourself.
Where can I get the most knowledge on the industry, on the equipment that better prepares me when I’m actually applying to those full time jobs? Not, Oh, I’m trying to go to the beach after work every, every day. So it’s like an investment on yourself, these internships.
Pablo: [00:07:19] Yup. Yup. Yeah. Just sell. Sell yourself.
Um, and, and package yourself as as best as possible. So what if they asked the question, um, have you, have you applied, did you apply to this position before coming, for example, to have you already applied?
Nicolas: [00:07:36] So, so I’ll be, uh, so my recommendation is you always should definitely apply to the companies before you go to the career fair.
Cause that one. You got to know what the company is about. If they were to ask you, why do you want to work for us or do you know where we do? You’re able to answer. However, that’s another, like I would say like flag or a red flag. If you say you have in the uplight, there pretty much is going to oversee you right then and there.
I will say I have been guilty when ask, have you applied? I’ve said yes, even though I have not. Um, however, it’s just because I know it’s just a minor step that I might, let’s say I’m at a career fair and I didn’t know the company was going to come. I still want to talk to them. I don’t want to like stop myself from talking to them because I haven’t applied.
But the only thing is that if you say yes and you have not applied, you immediately immediately have to go do that right then and there because it’s just a minor thing that they will ask you. And have you said no. One is shows that you might not be as interested as the next person in line, but it’s just something as easy as filling your name, filling all these things, but definitely try to do it before you go to the career.
Pablo: [00:08:53] So the recommendation is if they ask you, just say yes, but immediately apply immediately thereafter. There could be a point where they have a computer in the background, so just make sure if they have a computer that you’re not
Nicolas: [00:09:04] saying this,
Pablo: [00:09:05] I think about it, they’re going to be so busy for the next two or three hours, so therefore you have two to three hour buffer and they’re not going to check the actual time whether you apply it or not.
Exactly. If you’re going to falsifying information, but it gives you a sense. Dad versus all other competition cause most likely no one else has applied. So that’s a big, that’s a big, credible,
Nicolas: [00:09:23] credible.
Pablo: [00:09:24] They’ll actually put you on the yes or no, yes or no, maybe table. Right. Um, how do you wrap up the conversation with the, uh, the actual recruiter.
Nicolas: [00:09:33] So, so for me, what I’ve seen in like career, first time interviews, um, it might be a little bit awkward after they’ve asked all the questions. Something that I like to do when I see like there’s nothing else that they’re asking me and I’ve already asked all my questions. My GoTo at the end is just have I answered all your questions?
That gives them a time to look through the paper and see if they have all the information so that either they can reach me after or they can, once they give the information to HR or to the next person. There’s no blank cause let’s be honest. They might be interviewing a lot of people and they see that there’s something missing.
The odds of them reaching out to you, unless you’re like a great candidate is very low compared to pay. This person has everything we need. So something that I go to at the end, have I answered all your questions? Um, a lot of times, most of the times I’ve been, Oh yes, I have everything I need. But at times, if all seen, Oh, actually, like, um, I don’t have like this piece of information or something like that, or Oh, I actually forgot to ask you this.
So it’s very important for you to actually ask that. And then after that, um, either ask for their, um, their information, so their business card or, um, an email, I can reach them out. Okay. This one, this one’s a little bit tricky, just goes, I’ve heard both sides were like, you should ask this, or you should not ask this unless they want to give it to you.
Most of the times, the role they like. The first thing that I do once I get to an interview or something, they hear, here you go. Like, my business card isn’t career fairs when sometimes they might just give you an automated HR one, but whatever email you have, you want to follow up with them 12 to 24 hours after you’ve had that conversation, and something that I recommend is putting some type of information that that person, once they read it, they’re like, okay, I remember who Nick is because we talked about this and he said it here.
You don’t want to have something like, Oh, it was nice talking to you in the career fair. The recruiter is going to be, I talked to over a hundred people. I, I really, but if you say, Hey, it was great talking to you, like I really liked learning about X, Y, and Z. And they’ll like, okay, I remember Nick now. Um, so definitely follow up with them.
And my other one is that they met a lot of people and after the career fair, um, they’re going to get a lot of emails just cause a lot of people have been catching up on this. Like you have to follow up. So my thing is you want to follow up with them either week or two weeks after that first one. If they have not answered back, if they have, you’re good.
But if not, it’s very easy during this career fair season for EMA to just pile on. But if you follow up with them saying, Hey, it was nice meeting with you, I just wanted to know what were the following steps. I’m on the application process. Do you guys have all my information? Um, so definitely always follow up with them.
Pablo: [00:12:12] So hit him up 24 to 48 hours after meeting with them. And then the idea is if they don’t respond within one to two weeks, email them again and then one or two weeks potentially email them again. Cause you may be in that maybe list a, and I’ve heard stories as well to where people have emailed them a few times.
With buffer in between, cause you don’t want to be that guy or that girl. Uh, and then, um, the idea is just show. It just shows persistence, uh, which is what some companies wants. Um, so yeah, that could be, that could be an interesting play. A final question. Um. You know, what is, what is it that you do? I mean, the, after the IEM.
So what’s Jack your recommendation once you do have the, um, interview date set up, um, what do you, what’s your strategy for the interview process?
Nicolas: [00:13:02] So, um, for me is a lot of times they, they either give you a time or if you’re one of those first people, they actually give a time that you have the availability to actually decide what time you want to interview at
I am a believer to getting either the first one or the second interview. Why does it matter if it’s like a six, 7:00 AM just because you set the tone. Every other person that goes after you, they will compare them to you. So if there’s somebody that goes, for example after me, there’ll be like, okay, he had this, but Nick had this.
So it’s always, you’re, I like to think about it like everybody has competition. Career for a season is it’s aggressive. You gotta be aggressive. So everybody’s competition. So you want to set that tone. You want to set that bar. So everybody that goes after you, they’re comparing it to you. So one, you want to, you want to set it up high.
You don’t want them to be like, okay, this one’s like way better than, like way better than they are. Um, so you want to set it high. So that’s why I always recommend get the first, the first interviews of the day.
Pablo: [00:14:04] So by them comparing you, not only they just comparing against your interview, but they’re also thinking about you versus everyone else every single time.
Yeah. And so that’s, that’s a huge win to begin with mine at that point.
Nicolas: [00:14:16] Yeah. And then it’s same as a career for, you don’t want to show up to the career for, at the end of the day, they’re tired. At the beginning, I was the type of person that I would schedule the last one, three, four o’clock or like right after lunch.
They’re regular human being. They’re tired after asking the same questions over and over and over early in the morning, they’re fresh. They haven’t seen anyone, and you’re right there and you’re the first person they’re going to be thinking about.
Pablo: [00:14:39] Nice. I like it. I like it. Nick, I want to thank you so much for your time.
This is extremely helpful and, uh, hope to see you back at school.
Nicolas: [00:14:46] No problem,
Pablo: [00:14:47] Talk to you soon, man. Thanks so much.
Nicolas: [00:14:49] All righty.