Glenn N. Galler is a Product Manager for Rocket Software. He manages a large set of software development products. He joined Rocket Software in January, 2015, after working 32 years for IBM. Mr. Galler is actively involved in recruiting students from the University of Michigan. He has held this position since 1998. Mr. Galler joined IBM in 1982 having received his Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science from the University of Michigan. In 1989, he received a Master's Degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Santa Clara. Mr. Galler worked in many areas of IBM including quality assurance, development, marketing, recruiting and management. In December, 2014, he retired from IBM after 32 years of service. He joined Rocket Software as a Senior Manager in January, 2015, and continues to work there today. From 1992 to 1997, Mr. Galler held an IBM international assignment in England as the European Program Manager for a large-scale database beta test effort. He travelled extensively to over 17 countries during this assignment.

Glenn N. Galler is a Product Manager for Rocket Software. He manages a large set of software development products. He joined Rocket Software in January, 2015, after working 32 years for IBM. Mr. Galler is actively involved in recruiting students from the University of Michigan. He has held this position since 1998. Mr. Galler joined IBM in 1982 having received his Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science from the University of Michigan. In 1989, he received a Master's Degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Santa Clara. Mr. Galler worked in many areas of IBM including quality assurance, development, marketing, recruiting and management. In December, 2014, he retired from IBM after 32 years of service. He joined Rocket Software as a Senior Manager in January, 2015, and continues to work there today. From 1992 to 1997, Mr. Galler held an IBM international assignment in England as the European Program Manager for a large-scale database beta test effort. He travelled extensively to over 17 countries during this assignment.

How do you ensure your Work Experience is successful?

Work Experience: Ensuring Success in Internships, Coops, and Full Time Jobs

There are many similarities between internships and coops, and to some extent, permanent (full-time) positions. For example, the way you communicate your work to your manager is common between all types of positions. Generally, the short term nature of the internship or coops limits the number of career decisions you have to make as you would do in a permanent (full-time) position.

Here are some ideas to ensure success in your work assignments and in building your career:

  1. Internship or Coop work experience
  2. Permanent (full-time) work experience

To read more, see my Paperback/Kindle book on Amazon.com

“My Recruiting Secrets for Engineering Students” (Published Sept, 2013)

It all starts with the Resume. A great resume opens the “recruiting door” to Career Fairs and Interviews. This book has three chapters (80 pages) devoted to creating the best BS, MS and Ph.D. resumes. With a great resume, you will exhibit confidence with recruiters at the Career Fair, during a technical or Behavioral Interview, and during your Internship, Co-op, and Full-time job. This book contains over 40 illustrations for the major sections of a well-formatted resume.

What is important to know in the first year of work?

First Year of Work

There are several things to think about in your first year of work. It may take some time to fully develop each of the items below as they may involve an understanding of your company processes and environment. Some companies will have very formal policies for some of my recommendations while other companies are simply to small to warrant formalizing these items.

My 1st Recommendation: Create a “Status Report” for your Manager

Your manager needs to know what you are doing so they can appraise you at the end of the year. Typically, managers will have status update meetings weekly or bi-monthly with all of the employees in the group so they can be aware of the work going on in the group and can be sure the objectives of the department are being met. But, if they don’t have regular status update meetings with you, it is okay to schedule an update with your manager as it is in your best interest to keep your manager apprised of your work assignments. Here is an example of how you can create a Status Report.

My 2nd Recommendation: Create a “Development Plan”

A Development Plan contains your ideas of where you want to be in three to five years. The Development Plan is your document and it can change at any time, but you should revisit it at least once a year. Some companies will have formal Development Plans that also include a formal discussion with the manager. This can be a very good thing as it allows your manager to identify opportunities for you that are in line with your long-term career goals. For example, if you write that you would like to become a manager in two years, then your manager could have you “shadow” one of the executives in the company for a week. Whether your company has a formal Development Plan or not, it is in your best interest to create your own Development Plan so you can always be thinking about where you would like to go in your career.

My 3rd Recommendation: Understand how your “Appraisal” works

Your manager will probably explain how your appraisal works. However, if they don’t, this would be a good topic for one of your status update meetings. You want to understand how the manager weights various activities like teamwork, leadership, problem solving, finishing assignments to schedule, making recommendations, speaking up in meetings, and so on. Once you understand your manager’s expectations, you can tailor your status updates to address each of these criteria.

My 4th Recommendation: Let your manager know if you want to be “Promoted”

There are two assumptions that many new-hires make which are not correct. First, they assume that everyone wants to be promoted. And second, they assume that if they work hard and do a good job, the manager will automatically promote them. There are some managers who will watch out for their employees and follow these two assumptions. But, you shouldn’t make these assumptions for yourself. There are some employees who don’t want to get promoted because they are happy with the amount of work they have and the level of accountability in their assignment. If you want to get promoted, you have to let your manager know this so they can plan for your promotion.

When a manager knows you want to get promoted, they can look for opportunities for you to demonstrate that you can work at the next promotion level. The manager is going to need to “sell” your promotion to their bosses. At some level of the management hierarchy, they are going to have to “budget” for your new promotion level which usually includes a higher salary. There may be a limited number of promotions allowed per year and each manager under the boss may have to compete for their employees promotions.

A good way to “work” your promotion with your manager is to change the last bullet in my sample Status Report to say: “Is the scope of my job on track to get myself promoted? (i.e. am I doing what is needed to show that I deserve a promotion?)”. If you ask this question in every status update meeting, your manager will know you want to get promoted and you can ensure you are working on tasks that demonstrate that you should be promoted.

My 5th Recommendation: Don’t be surprised if your first appraisal is lower than you expected

You join a company, you work really hard, you meet regularly with your manager, you create weekly status reports, you have a lot of good ideas, and life is just good all around. Then you get your first appraisal and it is the lowest mark on the scale. What happened? This is a very common occurrence and it can be very deflating. But there is a reason for it and it isn’t as bad as it initially feels. In many companies, managers are expected to appraise on a curve meaning there will be a small number of high marks, a small number of low marks, and most of the employees will be in the middle. In a difficult economy, the employees getting the low marks might find themselves dismissed at the next employee layoff.

It is easy and common to give the newhire in the group the low mark because it is very unlikely the company will invest the money to bring on a college student and then immediately lay them off. With newhires joining the company mid-year (ex. June), it is very easy for the manager to explain the low appraisal by saying, “you just joined the company, how can you possibly expect to be working at the right level.” Since the first appraisal isn’t that important, I advise students to just understand why this happens and not dwell on it.

To read more, see my Paperback/Kindle book on Amazon.com

“My Recruiting Secrets for Engineering Students” (Published Sept, 2013)

The first year of work is very important in terms of setting your career on the right track. My book has several more recommendations on things to consider and do during your first year. For example, my book explains how you can create a Status Report for your manager that allows you to formally discuss your work and accomplishments. My book also shows you when and how to position yourself for your first promotion in your company, and how to use your Status Report to track your promotion.

How important are Internships or Coops during college?

Importance of Internship and Coop

I have seen a few students with excellent grades and no work experience because they went to school year-round without getting any real work experience for a company. This is okay if your goal is to get a Ph.D. and work for the university as a Professor. However, if the goal is to join industry after getting your BS, MS or Ph.D. degree, then having some work experience during school is very important.

As a recruiter, I am very interested to see which companies were willing to hire you and the type of work that you did during your internship or coop. There are a number of questions I will ask you about your summer jobs to give me information about your experience at the company. See the discussion at The Interview Day on “What could the interviewer ask about your Work Experience?” Your goal is to get a positive recommendation from the company or ideally an offer to return for another internship or coop or a permanent (full-time) job.

Who do you need to impress during your internship or coop?

In many internships or coops, you will have a manager and a team leader. The manager leads the department and there can be anywhere from 10 to 20 people in the department. There can be any number of team leaders within the department depending on the number of ongoing projects and the number of people in the group. The team leaders are usually more experienced individuals who have more knowledge of the project than the individuals on the team. As a student, you will get most of your direction for the project from the team leader. They will also help point you in the right direction to solve problems. The team leader is usually asked by the manager to report on your ability to do the assignment. Their input is very important and you need to create a very good working relationship with your team leader.

At the end of the day, it is the manager who will determine how successful you are in your internship or coop. The manager is responsible for appraising all of the employees in the department so while they will take input from the team leader, they will also have their own opinion of your abilities. It is crucial you develop your own relationship with the manager and not rely solely on the input from the team leader.

How do you keep your manager informed of your work?

Most managers are very busy and don’t have a lot of time to spend working with students. They appreciate having students in the group and know that they have a better opportunity to increase the size of their department if they have interns and coops in their department. Managers spend their time  in project and management meetings and in keeping their own managers up to date on their own work and the work of the employees in their department. Managers have a lot of responsibilities and very little free time. Managers appreciate students who are self-driven, show some signs of maturity, demonstrate a healthy level of curiosity, able to ask the team leader for help with difficult problems, and have the ability to receive feedback.

While your manager is very busy, it is still critical that you keep them up to date on your work. I suggest that you schedule a 30-minute meeting with your manager either once a week or twice a month. With a scheduled calendar meeting, your manager will set aside time to speak to you. This meeting is not “off the top of your head”. You need to come prepared with a Status Report so that you can use your 30 minute meeting to tell your manager exactly what you are doing in your job. I would recommend asking other employees in the department how often they meet with the manager for status updates.

What if your manager changes jobs during your internship or coop?

It is very common for managers to change management jobs every one to two years. They may move laterally to a different management position, or they may move vertically to a higher level position. There are some managers who stay in the same position for several years especially if they are older and have been in management for some time. If your manager leaves after you have been updating them on your work, then you have to start updating the new manager. You shouldn’t assume that your first manager will tell the new manager about everything that you have done or that they will remember to share your status reports with them. It is your job to transfer any important information from one manager to the next manager.

It is important to save the contact information for your manager and team leader.

When your internship or coop are over, you should store the contact information for your manager and team leader. It is really easy to forget their names and eMail addresses once the assignment is over. As a recruiter, if your internship or coop is in my company, I am going to ask you for the manager’s name so I can contact them and ask them about your work experience.

How and when can I ask to continue working during the school year?

In some cases, it is okay to ask to continue to work part-time after the internship or coop are finished. If your piece of the project is close to be completed or your expertise is needed, the manager may be able to extend your assignment into the school year. If you are interested in returning to this company, then this part-time work may put you in a better position to receive an offer to return for a subsequent position. Continuing assignments are almost always in the same department and on the same project. It is not very common for students to continue to work in the company for a different manager.
If you want to request working part-time after you return to school, it is best to wait until closer to the end of the assignment. For a 3-4 month internship, I would suggest waiting until 2-3 weeks before the end of the assignment. For a 6-8 month coop, I would suggest waiting until 4 weeks before the end of the assignment. This will give your manager plenty of time to decide and support your request.

To read more, see my Paperback/Kindle book on Amazon.com

“My Recruiting Secrets for Engineering Students” (Published Sept, 2013)

There are many important considerations when you have an Internship or Co-op. For example, there are good and bad ways to keep your manager informed of your work. My book shows you how to create a status report and how to discuss your work with your manager. It is common for managers to move to new positions during your Internship or Co-op assignment. My books shows you good strategies to deal with this difficult situation. My book also shows you how and when to discuss continuing your assignment during the school year.

How do you create a Status Report for your manager?

Status Reports

While I am a recruiter, I am also an employee. I have my own regularly scheduled 30-minute status update meetings with my manager once a month. I use the following formula to create my status report and I recommend students use a similar format for their status reports.

My status report is broken down into the following categories:

  1. Here is what I am working on now.
  2. Here are my current set of problems that I have not yet resolved.
  3. Here is what I am doing to resolve these problems.
  4. Here is what I am going to do next.
  5. Is the scope of my job correct (i.e. am I doing what you are expecting me to do in my assignment?)

I recommend bringing a hardcopy of this status report for your manager and sending the softcopy report to them at the end of the meeting. As you go through the information in each of these sections, there will be plenty of opportunity to receive feedback from your manager. Your ability to accept and act on your manager’s feedback is very important. At the end of your internship or coop, or at the end of the appraisal year, your manager will have a great record of your accomplishments. Managers usually appreciate having these records available to them when writing your appraisal.

How to take advantage of the Career Fair?

Career Fair

Career fairs are held on many Engineering campuses in the Fall and Winter terms. The career fair is a convenient way for companies to find students for interviews and for students to look for fulltime and summer employment. The career fair can improve your chance of getting a interview which may lead to a job with a specific company. There are several important things to know about career fairs including the following topics:

  1. Who are the recruiters at the Career Fair?
  2. How does the career fair help a student get an interview?
  3. What kinds of questions can you ask a recruiter?
  4. What should you do when there are multiple recruiters from the same company?
  5. What should students tell recruiters when they have multiple Majors or Minors?
  6. How can International Students take advantage of the Career Fair?

To read more, see my Paperback/Kindle book on Amazon.com

“My Recruiting Secrets for Engineering Students” (Published Sept, 2013)

It all starts with the Resume. A great resume opens the “recruiting door” to Career Fairs and Interviews. This book has three chapters (80 pages) devoted to creating the best BS, MS and Ph.D. resumes. With a great resume, you will exhibit confidence with recruiters at the Career Fair, during a technical or Behavioral Interview, and during your Internship, Co-op, and Full-time job. This book contains over 40 illustrations for the major sections of a well-formatted resume.

How to have a successful interview?

Interview Preparation

Once the resume is created, it is time to focus on interviewing. Many companies use pre-selection to fill their interview schedules. Company recruiters meet students at career fairs, company information sessions, and by reviewing resumes online. Once you are selected for an interview, you have the interview preparation and the actual interview.

  1. Prepare for the interview
  2. Actual interview day

Once the interview is over, it is nice to send a Thank You note to the interviewer providing some details of things you learned or liked during the interview. You can take this opportunity to provide additional materials or point to your own website.

To read more, see my Paperback/Kindle book on Amazon.com

“My Recruiting Secrets for Engineering Students” (Published Sept, 2013)

It all starts with the Resume. A great resume opens the “recruiting door” to Career Fairs and Interviews. This book has three chapters (80 pages) devoted to creating the best BS, MS and Ph.D. resumes. With a great resume, you will exhibit confidence with recruiters at the Career Fair, during a technical or Behavioral Interview, and during your Internship, Co-op, and Full-time job. This book contains over 40 illustrations for the major sections of a well-formatted resume.

The Interview Day

Interview Day

What should you wear to the interview?

It is always a good idea to dress up for an interview. The interviewer may or may not dress up for the interview. Often, they will simply wear casual clothes with the company shirt. The bottom line is that it doesn’t matter what the interviewer is wearing, you should dress up and look nice since dressing up shows you are taking the interview seriously.

 

How important is it to be on time for the interview?

The interviewer usually has between 9 and 13 interviews during the day (30 or 45 minutes per interview) with very few breaks. If you are late for the interview, it is unlikely the interviewer will be able to accommodate you because it will throw off the entire schedule for the day. If you know you have a conflict with the day or time of the interview, it is okay to contact the interviewer ahead of time to change the interview. It is not okay to miss the entire interview and later ask for a makeup time.

 

Who is giving the interview?

The recruiters for the Career Fair may be different than the person giving the interview on campus. Interviewers are often first-level managers at the company. They may be hiring managers looking for specific students who meet their own hiring needs or they may be managers recruiting for several openings in the company. First-level managers can be technical people or they can be business people. The interviewers can also be trained HR professionals who are usually non-technical people. The technical abilities of the interviewer may determine the type of interview that is used. Non-technical people will most likely give behavioral interviews while technical people may include some problem solving exercises.

 

How does the resume help in the interview?

The resume provides you with opportunities for talking points during the interview. The interviewer is going to study your resume during the interview and will ask you questions about items on your resume. You should be able to give at least one interesting example for every academic project, work experience, or course listed on your resume.

 

To read more, see my Paperback/Kindle book on Amazon.com

“My Recruiting Secrets for Engineering Students” (Published Sept, 2013)

The interviewer may ask a number of questions about your previous work experience. My book shows these questions and outlines why the recruiter is asking them. The book also shows you how to answer the recruiter’s questions correctly. My book also shows you how to end the interview and identify the next steps in the interview process.

 

How Do You Prepare for the Interview Day?

Interview Day Preparation

What are the best interview time slots?

If you are selected for an interview there are several things you can do to ensure your interview is a positive experience. On campus interviews are often either 30 minutes or 45 minutes. A 30-minute interview will consist of a 20-minute discussion and 10 minutes for the recruiter to complete the evaluation. A 45-minute interview will have a 30-minute discussion and 15-minute evaluation. A recruiter can do thirteen 30-minute interviews in a day or nine 45-minute interviews. The interview day is long and hard work for the recruiters. If you are given the opportunity to select your interview time, it is best to pick a morning slot when the interviewer is fresh. If you have to pick an afternoon slot, then it is best to pick a time just after a break. The worst time slot is the hour following lunch.

 

How do you research a company?

It is not difficult to research a small company, but larger companies have many products and different types of work assignments. It is a good idea to read the job description carefully to find clues about the type of products and work requirements. Sometimes, companies will use generic job descriptions and these are less helpful. If you are contacted directly by a recruiter for an interview, it is okay to ask specific questions about the position as this will allow you to do some research prior to the interview day. The job description may also show the amount of travel expected in the position.

 

To read more, see my Paperback/Kindle book on Amazon.com

“My Recruiting Secrets for Engineering Students” (Published Sept, 2013)

There are good questions to ask the interviewer and questions to avoid asking. My book has examples of both types of questions. It is very common for an interviewer to start the interview with “Tel me about yourself”. My book gives you ideas on how to prepare for this question prior to your interview. Behavioral Interviews are also very common on Engineering campuses. My book explains why these are used and how to prepare for them prior to your interview.

 

Interview: Behavioral Interview Questions

Behavioral Interview questions

Here are some sample behavioral interview questions for each competency:

Communications

  • What difficulties have you encountered in trying to communicate technical information?

Practical Learning

  • Describe a course in which you felt challenged.

Analysis/Problem Assessment

  • Describe the most difficult trouble-shooting challenge you have had.

Judgment/Problem Solving

  • Give an example of a time when you used logic to solve a very difficult problem.

Teamwork/Collaboration

  • What do you do when someone else takes credit for your idea?

Initiative

  • Give an example of doing more than is required in your current classes.

Planning and Organizing/Work Management

  • Tell me about a time when your course load was heaviest. How did you get all your work done?

Technical/Professional Knowledge

  • Describe how you’ve gone about learning a new technical skill.

Motivational Fit

  • Have you ever worked on a project you didn’t enjoy?

(source: http://engineering.dartmouth.edu/careers/students/interviewing/behavioral/)

Interview: “Tell Me About Yourself”

Tell Me About Yourself

First step: Create an outline for your 30-second response

To prepare the 30-second response, I would suggest creating an outline with the following sections:

  1. Year and Major in school
  2. Why you are interested in this company
  3. A project you liked that is related to this company
  4. Your strengths that would benefit this company
  5. How you could contribute to the success of this company.

Second step: Fill out the details in your outline

Then fill out the outline with the details:

  1. Year and Major in school
    1. Junior in Computer Science
  1. Why you are interested in this company
    1. Company has a lot of focus on database software
    1. Company leads in the area of XML databases
  1. A project you liked that is related to this company
    1. In your Advance Database Theory course, studied XML databases and new ideas on XML indices
  1. Your strengths that would benefit this company
    1. Problem solver
    1. Persistent
    1. Team player
    2. organized
  1. How you could contribute to the success of this company.
    1. Like to explore new ideas and solutions
    2. Dedicated to inventing new technologies and solving complex problems

 

Third step: Write out your 30-second response as a paragraph

From the detailed outline, you can create a paragraph with your 30-second response:

“I am a Junior majoring in Computer Science. I have read about how your company is a leader in database software. I am especially interested in your focus on XML databases. I took the Advanced Database Theory course and we did a project on creating indices for XML databases.  My strengths are in my problem solving skills and my persistence in working through complex issues.  I think your company’s focus on XML databases as the next generation of database technology is very exciting. I would like to contribute to your company’s success in this area.”

Fourth step: Practice your 30-second response out loud

After you write out the paragraph, it is good to practice it several times out loud. The 30-second response must sound smooth and natural to be believable by the interviewer. You can find many other examples by searching online for “tell me about yourself examples engineering”.