SU Alumni Association

SHIP Alumni Career Newsletter

February 2012 Edition

February 14, 2012 
In This Issue
Employer Perspective
Upcoming Fairs & Expos
Excellent Opportunities for SHIP Alumni
The "X Factor" cont.
Join Our Mailing List!
Quick Links

Like us on Facebook  View our profile on LinkedIn  Follow us on Twitter  View our photos on flickr

Welcome to the February edition of the Alumni Career Newsletter!

Employer Perspective

The "X Factors" in Interviewing

by Tim Smith '91, vice president, OnPoint Consulting and president-elect of the SU Alumni Association
SU Alumni Association


Our current financial environment has afforded at least one benefit to companies that continue to grow and expand their employee base; a large pool of talented and well qualified job applicants. Therefore, we are now faced with the "challenge" of interviewing recruits who all have the similar skill sets, background and success in their careers. The challenge becomes identifying the "X Factor" in recruiting! The X Factor looks at those traits, qualities and behaviors that more completely define a person and hopefully has us looking at not just hiring the best employee for the current position, but the employee who is our next leader. This article is designed to address those X Factors in the interview process. The article does make a few assumptions; in many cases it assumes face-to-face interviews; it assumes the candidate has all the skills and knowledge required to do the job; it assumes they have been successful in their career and has good references.

Read on for the 10 X Factor qualities. 

Upcoming Career Expos & Fairs

February 16: CPEC Job Fair

10:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Radisson Hotel, Camp Hill, PA

Visit for registered employers, directions & info on making the most of the event.


March 5: Career Day @ SU

1:00 - 4:00pm

ShipRec Center, SU Campus

This event is open for SU students and alumni. It is intended to showcase full-time, part-time, and internship/volunteer opportunities, as well as graduate schools. More information and a list of employers may be found at 


March 29: Teacher Recruitment Day
Millersville University, Millersville, PA



*Please register at

Excellent Opportunities for Alumni

Would you like an easy way to network with regional employers and get a free practice interview and resume critique? Attend the upcoming Resume Boot camp and the Mock Interview Day both for SU Alumni and Students. If you can't make it due to current employment, please let us know and we can possibly have the employers critique your resume via email.


Resume Boot Camp: Thursday, March 29
11:00 AM - 3: PM SU Campus in the Ceddia Union Building        
Brief Description: Employers will be on-site offering resume critiques to alumni and current students. Bring your resume and employers will offer suggestions for improvements. Employers include: Exel, PA House of Representatives, PA Dept. of Labor, Volvo, Daily Express, Noelker & Hull Associates, PA Parks & Forestry Services, Fastenal, PA and federal resumes. Graduate School resume reviews will also be available.    

"Mock" Interview Day:  Wednesday, April 11

10:00 AM - 3:00 PM SU Campus in the Ceddia Union Building       
Brief Description: Employers will be on-site offering practice interviews to alumni who register. Employers include Target, Abraxas Youth Services, Fastenal, PA Parks & Forestry Foundation, PA Dept. of Labor, Conway Freight, McKonly & Asbury, Deloitte, Waste Management and many more.  Graduate School interviewing will also be available.


Please contact the University Relations office at to register or for additional information.

Employer Perspective "X Factor" Qualities cont.

  1. ContWere they on time: My biggest pet peeve is someone who is late; if they're late for their interview then they'll probably be late for work and late for their deliverables; that or they don't care much about the interview. While not as bad, I don't like candidates that are incredibly early; shows a lack of respect for other people's time. The perfect candidate to me is the person that says "Traffic was a little easier than I thought, so I got here early and have been at Starbucks for the past half an hour."
  2. Did they dress nicely: Going to a job interview is like going to church; it doesn't matter if the
    person will be turning cogs down at the shipyard, when you go to a job interview, wear a suit and look nice. Dressing nicely does not mean dressing expensively; it doesn't matter where you bought your shoes, but take the time to shine them; iron your shirt; did they groom themselves and ultimately look presentable.
  3. Know the company...the whole company: The candidate needs to know job they came in for and should understand the division that is hiring. They should also understand the big picture and know all of the company. The perfect candidate tells me other lines of business within the organization that closely align to the work the open position is performing.
  4. Do they have a social life: I love talking to candidates about other things they do i.e. sports, hobbies, family activities, etc. We already know this person knows how to work hard and has been successful. If they also know how to manage their time and have a significant personal life, then they probably have great time management skills.
  5. Did they come prepared: I once had a candidate show up without their resume...seriously!  They assumed I had it, which I did, but I wanted another copy for a colleague I invited to the interview at the last minute. I also like to see individuals that bring additional "back-up" details.  This includes things like portfolios, the job description, white papers they have written.
  6. Are they a networker: I'm a believer that everyone is a sales person and sales come from networking. I want to know how the candidate networks themselves more professionally, but also socially. I once had a candidate who attended local meetings just so they could socialize and get to know others. A great story was an internal candidate that informed me that another business unit was going after a contract I was also chasing; they saw it on Yammer...I had no clue what Yammer was; I do now!
  7. Check Facebook, LinkedIn: The internet has afforded us the opportunity to present ourselves to people, virtually, throughout the world. We can choose to present ourselves to the world positively or negatively. I always check out social networking sites to see how this person has chosen to present themselves.
  8. Do they understand their work environment: Things such as commuting, physical work locations, work hours, etc. are all variables of any job. But, make sure they understand the variables and do not present the best case scenario. Being in the DC area I like to focus on commuting; if you're commute to work in the DC area is less than 45 minutes, you have a "short" commute.
  9. Do they have "standard" technology skills: if they are interviewing to be a C++ programmer, they obviously better know C++. But every candidate should know the basics of using technology i.e. the internet, email, MS Office, etc. These are expectations of our clients. But don't let technology gate in the way of productivity. I once asked a candidate for a copy of their r�sum� and they responded "it's on my PDS, I can just beam it to you". I responded, "Just hand me a printed copy."

Need Career Assistance?

Looking for advice on job searching or relocating? Contact the University Relations office at 717-477-1218 or e-mail


for free assistance.
University Relations
Shippensburg University Alumni Association
717-477-4071 (Fax)