Recruiting While Abroad
The following content was distilled from a Fireside Chat on the topic of Recruiting While Abroad (for consulting) in the Spring of 2020.
Panelists: Helen Hong, Stephen Kelly, Isabel Botero
Recruiting while studying abroad can be confusing, but have no fear! Helen, Stephen, and Isabel have all gone through the process and are here to weigh in on your most pressing questions.
What are the major challenges of recruiting while studying abroad?
1. Less face to face opportunities with employers (both alumni and recruiters) exist while abroad, so make sure to take advantage of the sophomore spring and following summer to meet and connect. For example, consider taking a trip to your desired firm’s nearest office. Summer office visits are great, but sometimes they are invite only. At the very least, don’t hesitate to reach out for a coffee when you are nearby and see if they’ll invite you to the office for convenience. Most importantly, lay the groundwork with employers that you will be recruiting with come fall.
2. Interviewing virtually can feel uncomfortable and unnatural. Most are 2-way interviews but some are 1-way (pre-recorded). Practice by recording yourself on video and make sure to retain eye contact with the camera to establish a comfort level with virtual early. And don’t forget to check your WiFi connections!
3. Some firms do not recruit students while abroad (mainly BCG and Huron for ND). These roadblocks could be considered a culture check to see who really values the abroad experience in candidates, but there is no reason to completely disconnect. Lay the foundation for full-time recruiting senior year if you are interested.
What strategies did you deploy while recruiting abroad?
- Connect with global offices. Many of the firms that recruit at ND are global!
- Remember time zones and plan ahead accordingly.
- Default to the ND schedule. Employers are not likely to adapt to your slightly different academic schedule abroad.
- Follow up via email after on campus events. This is a great way to start another conversation and to show engagement.
- Follow up via email following your application to further express interest and to remind recruiters that you are abroad.
- Find case buddies on campus (virtual) and abroad (in person)
What makes the virtual case different and potentially difficult?
Math is a bit more difficult because processes must be conveyed verbally rather than visually on a piece of paper. Eye contact is important so make sure to look directly into the camera. It looks a little odd when you look solely at the screen. It may also seem a bit odd to see yourself on the camera, so record yourself and practice speaking to get more comfortable. Technical difficulties can occur, but stay calm and exercise patience. Interviewers will understand and the way you deal with it can be a great example of how cool you stay under pressure. Live practice can be time consuming and difficult to coordinate virtually, but practice is one of the most important parts of preparation.
How do you balance the experience of studying abroad with the pressure of recruiting?
Enjoy your time abroad! (But also take advantage of employer opportunities) Pay attention to your time zones to relieve yourself of any unnecessary stress. Play up your abroad experiences during the behavioral interview: what have you learned and how have you grown? Overall, you’ll have more time because you don’t have the same commitment to events and your course load will be lighter. Friday interviews are likely, so consider this caveat when planning to travel on the weekends. Change your flights if it’s close - it’s not worth the risk!
Ultimately, you have to decide what sacrifices you are willing to make for yourself. Remember, it is possible to be tactful and transparent if you need to make changes to your interview schedule; choose these moments wisely.
Plan ahead of time and take some initiative. It is better to be proactive than behind. Cultivate your personal story while abroad; you will have some great stories to tell throughout the process. Research your interviewers. If they went to Notre Dame, it is likely they went abroad; ask about their experience. Bottom line, you won’t regret going abroad!