Before attending the Grace Hopper Convention, I received emails from employers attending the Convention and participating in the career fair. I connected with someone from EMC, which is a technology company specializing in Cloud computing and handling large quantities of data. I was very excited when an interview was scheduled during the convention for Thursday at 3 PM. Needless to say I rushed from the Faculty Lightning Talks, just after making sure I was able to be there for Dr. Weigle's talk, to my interview. I was so nervous but very excited, as I realized that this would add to my interviewing experience with reputable companies and would ultimately help me with my interviewing skills.
As I arrived to my interview with EMC, I took a deep breath praying that there would be no questions asked that I would not at least have an intelligent answer for. I then walked into the interview area and met my interviewer, shook his hand using plenty of eye contact and proceeded to sit down. Initially I was very nervous wondering what he would expect of a senior in a Computer Science program. He then began to state a little of what his company did. I listened very closely and when asked if I know anything about his company I remembered the research I conducted Wednesday night about EMC and their practices of providing companies solutions to their data storage issues. I spoke of the importance of having an alternative to local storage for large companies and he seemed genuinely impressed.
I was asked for my resume and he began to peruse through it. He looked and saw hat I was a student at Old Dominion University and smiled and stated it was a good school. I was very proud of this statement and felt I was representing a great school. He began to ask questions about my experience working at OCCS at ODU. I told him that I was exposed to front line technical support and that the experience has enhanced my customer service skills. He stated that was very important to any technological career path I may take in the future. He took resume and wrote my graduation date and preferences as far as where I would like to work on the East coast if I were to chose to work for EMC. So he also asked if there were any groups or societies I was affiliated with. I was sure let him know I am a member of The Society of Women Engineers, ACM, and that I am the Secretary and Telecommunication Chair for the National Society of Black Engineers at ODU. He stated that their company would also be at the Annual convention for NSBE in Indianapolis in March 2013 and that he would like to have me come interview again for a position in March at the NSBE convention. I was very excited about that and told him I would definitely like to do that. he stated that he would like to keep in contact so that before the NSBE Convention he could pass my information to the recruiter attending the convention if it is not himself.
The end of the interview and I was wondering if it would be as awkward as most are. I then hear my interviewer ask the one question I have always been so weary of, "Are there any questions you may have that I can address?" Now every time I hear this question I normally answer "No, I believe you have addressed them all during the interview." This time I remembered the conversation between Mrs. Brunelle, Erinn, and I the nigh before at Bubba Gump's Shrimp. Mrs. Brunelle said that the worst thing you can do is not ask anything and say no I have nothing I need to know. She said my best bet would be to ask about higher education opportunities with the company and asking about the atmosphere. So this is exactly what I did, I asked my interviewer about the opportunities to go back to school while working for EMC and if there were any perks of doing so. He answered that there was a tuition reimbursement program and that after gaining more education I could also apply for promotions and that many have taken advantage of the program. He also assured that while EMC is actively recruiting women for positions that there is not a very large population, but that this was a reason they were there at the convention to recruit smart women to technological positions. Needless to say he said he was impressed with me and my wanting to further my education and hoped that I would be asset to their company. I really look forward to the NSBE Convention now to see if I may secure a position.
After my interview I decided to go through the Career Fair seeing that I was appropriately dressed to do so. I went to Amazon, Google, Intel, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, Dropbox, and many more companies to market myself and get my resume out there to be considered. I was able to get a lot of what Mrs. Brunelle calls "swag" which are items from the companies, This included a USB speaker, headset from Northrop Grumman, sunglasses, plenty of pens and pencils, t-shirts and even a hoodie from Amazon!
I loved speaking with the women representing some of the companies. For instance the women representing Northrop Grumman were very nice and answered all my question about higher education and even told me of their experiences at the company and how their Master Degrees were paid in full. They also told me how they were promoted after its completion. They spoke about how they were not thrown to the wolves straight out of college and spoke of their mentoring program that helped them a lot and allowed them to shadow a veteran engineer. This Career Fair was simply one of the greatest I've attended.