The first question of my most recent interview was not the typical “walk me through your resume,” but rather an unexpected “why Maryland?” Without hesitation, I jumped at the opportunity to differentiate Smith.
The answer is simply, the community.
A week ago, after the resume drop on our HireSmith job posting site, the employer requested interviews from myself and a number of my colleagues. Within hours of the notification, we began an email chain connecting all the students who had been invited to the interview. The thread quickly grew as we coordinated practice case and behavioral questions in the spare moments of the week and even set up a conference call with alumni over the weekend to ask about their experiences and gain some first hand insight.
The nature of all these exchanges was truly unique. There was an incredible competitive fire, not between each other, but to prove that, as a group, we were better candidates than those from any other school they might be recruiting from and, dare I say it, than last year’s class. We circulated notes and insights on the company and debated on their methodology at moments in between classes and late into the night. With each crossing of paths, we exchanged words of support, reminding one another why we are unique, discussing how we would conquer the interview questions, and displaying a show of confidence for each other that could accompany a Roman gladiator.
After walking up to the interview suite with two of my colleagues by my side, even with all the preparation and practice, that first unexpected question would be the easiest to answer.