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Interview tips

Your ultimate guide to mastering employer one-on-ones

Check out these tips to mastering your next one-on-one with an employer!

Whether it’s your first time or you’re just looking to be better prepared, we’ve got everything you need to nail your one-on-ones with Handshake employers. Check out our top tips for successful virtual one-on-one sessions and how you can be your best self when you decide to meet with employers.

How do I find employer one-on-ones?

One-on-ones are a great way to get your face in front of recruiters, hiring managers, and employees who could impact your career path. Not sure where to start? We’ll help you get started.

  1. Search for roles you’re interested in on Handshake. When you find one that piques your interest, schedule a virtual info chat that is attached to the posting (if available). Simply pick a time slot that works for you and schedule it!
  2. Virtual career fairs (VCF) are a great way to meet top employers and get to know their cultures and more. Sign up for a VCF and find a time slot during the event to meet with the employer one-on-one.
  3. Follow the employers you love to stay up-to-date on their one-on-one sessions and any job postings. As you save and apply to jobs, we’ll send you recommendations. If any of our recommendations seem like a good fit, you can schedule one-on-ones with those employers too!

How do I get referrals?

Make connecting with top employers or finding your dream job easier by simply asking people you know to refer you. We get that this is easier said than done, but if you follow these tips, you’ll be getting referrals left and right.

  • Start with friends, family, university alumni, or people who know you from sports clubs, classes, and more.
  • Build professional connections by attending VCF and networking events where you can meet employers, fellow students or recent graduates, and more.
  • Stay connected with your professional contacts. Just because they don’t know of any job openings now, doesn’t mean they won’t in the future. Check in every so often and make sure that you’re not only saying hi when you need something.

Referrals can come from anyone, so don’t discount someone just because they don’t know anyone at your top company or can’t help you get a job immediately.

How do I prepare for my one-on-one?

When you meet with an employer, you have 10-15 minutes to make a great first impression, so you’ll want to prepare in advance. This includes completing your Handshake profile (yes, employers do look at these!), practicing answering questions with a friend, researching the employer, and more.

When you meet with an employer for your one-on-one, make sure to clean up your place or use a virtual background to keep the focus on you, not that dizzying painting in the background. Even though these virtual sessions aren’t formal, you still want to show the employer you’re taking them seriously.

You may also want to brush up on your elevator pitch. Talking about yourself doesn’t have to be awkward. Highlight your achievements and give a brief background of yourself. Oh, and practice, practice, practice!

Lastly, ask questions. As eager as the employers are to get to know you, you want to get to know them too. What’s their culture like? What does the day-to-day look like for a specific role? If you’re not sure what else to ask, check out our list of sample questions.

I had my one-on-one. Now what?

After your meeting, you should send a thank you message to the recruiter, hiring manager, or employee you spoke with. Here are a few ways you can stand out when sending your thank you notes.

  1. Send your note out in a timely manner, ideally within 24 hours of talking.
  2. Make it personal. Chances are that the employer you met with is likely meeting with other candidates, so you want to make sure they remember you. Add personal details from your meeting that will make this easy. For example, did you and the recruiter find out that you’re from the same hometown?
  3. Remind them why you’re the ideal candidate. You don’t want to spell out your experience again, but rather remind them why you’re such a great fit for the role.
  4. Keep it short. All our inboxes are overflowing, so don’t write a page-long email. They don’t have time to read all that. Say what you need to say, make your point quickly, and send!
  5. Don’t forget next steps. If you discussed next steps in the meeting, let them know you look forward to them — if not, you can tell them that you’re excited to hear back from them about next steps. Let them know that they can contact you with any additional questions too!
  6. Don’t forget to spell-check. Copy and paste your email in a word document to confirm your email is free from typos and grammatical errors. And make sure you spell the interviewer’s name correctly!

Ready? Let’s go!

You’ve got everything you need to prepare for your one-on-one, be confident during your meeting, and wow your interviewer after your session. All you have to do now is schedule your virtual meeting! Check back here if you need help preparing or want to review our tips. We’re confident you’ve got this.

Find the right jobs for you. Get hired.