Q&A with Casey Cullen: How to Turn Your Internship into a Job Offer
In today’s competitive job market, it’s essential to start building your network and experience as early as possible ー take it from our latest former intern-tuned-hire, Casey Cullen! Today we’re sitting down with her to talk about how she was able to position herself for full-time employment after college graduation before she even received her Diploma! With some careful planning, dedication, and follow-through, Casey joined our team full time this past Summer. We’ll leave it to Casey to speak to what attracted her to the field of recruiting, and how she leveraged her internship into an opportunity to kick off a meaningful career.
Communications Team: Thanks for chatting with us, Casey! Let’s hear more about how you landed your internship with Clarity ー what drew you to the opportunity, even though it was outside your field of study?
Casey: While I was abroad in London during my Junior year of college, I interned for a career services agency. I identified many parallels and similarities to the recruiting industry there, which fueled my interest in the world of recruitment as a career. For example, I really enjoyed my time working with the young individuals and teaching them about skills and experiences that could further them in their careers and prepare them for professional life. Being a resource for these people made me realize that coaching, mentoring, and strategizing to help people stay organized were elements I was interested in pursuing further. Upon my arrival back into the US from London, I began to explore the HR field and landed an internship as a Recruiting Assistant here at Clarity, and I couldn’t have had a better experience! I majored in Public Health, and while I remain passionate about the field, I realized through this work that a career in business where I can work across a variety of industries, and help people, was a better fit after all!
Communications Team: We had a great time showing you the ropes last summer as our intern ー at what point did you know you wanted to put yourself up for a full-time opportunity with Clarity after graduation?
Casey: I remember the exact moment I realized I wanted to work in recruiting! I was sitting at my desk listening to my colleague call his candidate and extending him his job offer. Hearing the excitement and appreciation from the candidate made me realize I would love this job ー it was palpable! I love working with people and being their champion during difficult times like job searching. In addition, from the day I set foot into Clarity’s office last summer, I have felt very supported and welcomed. I also knew that I always wanted to land a job where I could work with a team that encourages collaboration rather than being in a silo plowing through individual work. Here at Clarity, we definitely work as a team to make things happen, and depend on each other in a positive way!
Communications Team: We know follow through is super important, especially if you want your internship to turn into a job offer in the future. How did you stay in touch with the Clarity team while you were back in school?
Casey: Great question! Two things really stand out that really helped me personally. First, be sure to connect with your colleagues on LinkedIn! You should really connect with them as soon as you begin a new internship. It’s a quick and easy way to stay in touch and aware of what’s happening in their professional lives. This is also a great way to stay on top of company news and happenings if the company is posting updates such as blog posts and announcements. Secondly, as you’re wrapping up, send thank you notes to your colleagues, bosses, and managers who you worked with throughout your time with the company, and make sure they know the easiest way to reach you by providing your contact info. This shows your genuine appreciation of the help and guidance they provided you with and can help keep the relationship strong. If you’re local, invite your manager out for coffee when you’re near the office!
Communications Team: How did your personal follow-through result in a job offer?
Casey: As I was wrapping up my internship at Clarity last summer, I knew recruiting had become part of a career path I envisioned for myself. I really wanted to be sure I was taking the right steps to appropriately express my interest in both the field and the company. Since I had the opportunity to work with colleagues on different teams, I knew it was important to thank the entire Clarity team. I sent our CEO, Moira, a thank you note as well as a note to the entire team expressing my appreciation for all their help, guidance, and insight to the recruiting world I was introduced to during my 6 weeks spent at Clarity. As winter break was approaching, I reconnected with Moira letting her know I was very interested in returning to Clarity for a full-time position. We connected after the New Year and during that conversation, Moira presented me a Recruiting Coordinator role and invited me to join the team after I graduated! We spoke about the responsibilities and it sounded like the perfect way to being my career in recruiting. Maintaining relationships and following up ー even after months have passed since your internship ー is by far the best way to stay top of mind and take your internship to the next level!
Communications Team: What has been the biggest change from being at Clarity as an intern to now being here as a full-time member of the team?
Casey: A lot has changed since becoming a full-time member of the team at Clarity! For starters, I have a lot more responsibilities than I had as an intern. After joining the team full-time, I have learned SO much! Having the opportunity to shadow both the Direct Hire team, Temporary team, and our Office Coordinator, my training has helped me develop a well-rounded understanding of the full life cycle of the recruiting process. Now, after training (which is ongoing around here!) I have candidates of my own and I am continuously learning. It turns out I’ve found what I was hoping I’d find at Clarity ー I feel really great about my choice to join this amazing team. Team Clarity is growing too, and with our expansion into legal and finance this year (so far!), it’s a very exciting time to be here.
Communications Team: That is great advice! While we’ve got youー what are your top 3 interview tips for internship and/or job seekers?
Casey: I have plenty to discuss here! Here are my top three tips to turn that interview into your next internship, or, into your next full-time job:
Be Present: Beyond sitting up straight and making eye contact during a conversation, your level of engagement and participation never go unnoticed during an interview! Active listening will also make your interviewer feel like you’re intently focused and that you’re there to maximize your time ー being present is more than just your physical presence. The way you carry yourself mentally can set you up to absorb as much information as possible, so find ways to show you’re following along, acknowledging information, and really digesting questions before you answer them.
Interview Preparation: Nothing is worse than the unsettled feeling of not bringing your A-Game to an interview. My best advice to avoid this feeling is to PREPARE. Do your research! Look into the companyー visit their website, check out their LinkedIn, google them, search news about their CEO, check out their Instagram! Arm yourself with questions about both the position you’re interviewing for, as well as about the company in general. The interview is a two-way street and you should ask questions to make the most of it!
Post-Interview Follow-Up: Follow up with an email right away thanking your interviewer(s) for their time and to reiterate your desire to join the team. Including information specific to your conversation is also a must! It’s simply not enough to send a note that seems generic. Your thank-you note is a reflection of your personality, your engagement in the process, and your genuine interest in the role based on the takeaways you pulled from your meetings. I’m learning first hand that often, a hire really does come down to who wrote the strongest follow-up/thank-you note more often than you might realize!
Communications Team: Thank you so much for this great advice, Casey!