The mention of the word ‘recruiting’ evokes a wide range of emotions for the prospective intern or job seeker. It is an exciting time- you are on the brink of the beginning of your career and the possibilities seem endless. However, it is also a time of vulnerability, which is something I quickly found out during my recent recruiting experience.
At the beginning of the fall recruiting season of my junior year at Indiana University (Go Hoosiers!), I felt like I was very on top of things. I had submitted my applications, dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s on my resume, and was beginning to see interview invites slowly trickle into my inbox. I left every interview feeling like I had smashed it and truly left everything I had to offer on the table.
But then the waiting game began. Recruiters usually need time to get their ducks in a row to extend offers (interviewing at other campuses, reviewing budgets, etc.). For the candidate, however, this made for a long couple of weeks of refreshing my inbox looking for some good news… unfortunately, I was kept waiting for quite some time.
Dealing with Rejection
I wasn’t expecting the first few. Rejection emails are always short and to the point. They begin with some type of remark about how competitive the process was and end with how they are unable to continue recruiting with you. The automated ones were even worse; they usually sounded something like
DEAR CANDIDATE #346: WE REGRET TO INFORM YOU…
I slowly found my confidence eroding which made the backstretch of the season that much harder. I ended the fall recruiting season with no offers of employment for the summer. Yep…I was freaking out. Very few of my colleagues were in the same boat, so it was tough to see others relaxing and having fun with their summer plans already lined up. After all, they had all applied to the same positions I had (and gotten them!). It was tough to not draw comparisons. I felt as if I needed to secure an internship ASAP.
Going into the spring recruiting season I had to do a lot of soul-searching. Despite the panic, I knew I couldn’t just jump at the first opportunity that presented itself. I needed to establish my “must-haves”. These qualities of an internship were what I knew I would need to kickstart my career in consulting. I was looking first-and-foremost for lots of responsibility, exposure to client services, and a healthy dose of ambiguity. Even in the face of uncertainty, I knew that I needed to keep these dimensions front-of-mind. My targeted search led me to the SCM Connections internship posting which checked all the boxes. I applied and, before I knew it, I had an interview!
Locking it Down
This is the part of the story where the sky opens and SCM Connections benevolently bestows an offer upon me, right? Not quite- SCMC is, at the end of the day, a consulting firm so they are looking for bright, competent people. However, the self-evaluation I performed before the Spring enabled me to come to the interview table with renewed confidence. I articulated what I was looking for out of the internship and how I stacked up to the qualifications. The company was receptive and extended the offer within a couple of weeks.
I decided very quickly that SCM Connections was the place I needed to be this summer. The thought of working with smart people on complex supply chain problems using a lot of buzzword technology excited me. And I am happy to say my excitement hasn’t stopped.
The Intern Experience
So far in my internship, I have played an increasingly important role in the company. I have found that my responsibility scales with my confidence in this environment. As I learn new things every day, I am trusted with more important functions. At times it can be a little overwhelming, but my senior consultants are great at fostering a culture of sharing and support which has eased the learning curve. The job’s not all work though- I’ve also enjoyed weekly happy hours, candid coffee chats, and even a workout class with the SCMC team. The culture is very much people-first which I did not expect as someone just starting in the consulting industry. Now that I’m here, it is tough to imagine myself being in a less supportive environment. I truly enjoy it here.
Looking back, if I had to give a few pieces of advice to someone on the brink of the Fall recruiting season I’d tell myself the following things:
- Know what you are looking for
- Cast a wide net
- Don’t compare
- Don’t take it personally
Recruiting is tough. Even more so if you work against yourself. Before you get into the thick of it, it is best to do a bit of reflecting. After all, if you don’t understand yourself, how can you expect to convey that same understanding to recruiters? And when you finally get that much-anticipated offer letter, go celebrate yourself. Then, go crush that job.