Recruiting trip to MIT, Harvard, and Brown

October 26, 2005

schoollogosAt the beginning of November (11/7 – 11/10), Stuart (our HR guy) and I will be taking a trip to the Boston area to visit Harvard, MIT, and Brown. We’ll be doing a fun dinner event and then running interviews on campus.

Here’s the schedule:

  • 11/7 afternoon – Arrive in Boston
  • 11/7 at 7PM – Run a dinner and fun talk about interviewing and the new generation of internet startups. (The Kendall Hotel, 350 Main Street, Cambridge, MA)
  • 11/8 – Interview candidates from MIT and Harvard
  • 11/8 at 7PM – Drive to Brown and run another dinner and talk (The Tree House, Brown University, Career Center)
  • 11/9 – Interview candidates from Brown
  • 11/10 morning – Fly back to San Jose
  • 11/9 morning – Fly back to San Jose

I’m going to be talking about two things: How to beat the interview and thoughts about working at internet startups nowadays. The first part, how to beat the interview, is an interviewer’s worst nightmare. I’ve been both an interviewee and an interviewer for many different companies; I’ll share with you formulas to answer all the normal interview questions you’ll face over and over… you know the ones: “Tell me about a team situation where there was conflict and it was resolved.” “What is your proudest accomplishment?” “What is your greatest weakness?” and the ever popular “If I asked your colleagues about you, what would they tell me?”

I can also share my Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and Amazon interview experiences with you if there’s time 🙂

The second part is quite interesting too and it’s inspired by many of the e-mails I receive from people. Oftentimes, they’ll ask me about evaluating different job opportunities or people want to get my opinion on working for Google vs. Microsoft. I’ll be covering how I analyze different career opportunities and I’ll also do a quick run down of what I know about the workings of the internet startup world – stuff I wish I knew when I was graduating from college.

Anyways, after these talks, I’ll probably post my slide deck and notes online. If you’re a student at Harvard, MIT, or Brown, come out and join us (shoot me an e-mail so we can make sure to have enough food and drink). If you’re looking for a job bring your resume and if nothing else, we’ll have plenty of free food 😀

UPDATE: These events are actually open to all who want to come. Just let me know ahead of time so we can be sure to have enough food 🙂

UPDATE 2: We’ve gotten 0 interest from people at Brown so we’re cancelling that part of our trip 😦 If you’re a student at Brown and you’re interested still, drop me a line.


17 Responses to “Recruiting trip to MIT, Harvard, and Brown”

  1. Allen Says:

    Being formally in ibanking I’ve come across some of the worst. From the “it’s hot in here, you mind opening the window (meanwhile you’re in a 87th floor skyscraper and windows don’t open),” to the interviewer reading the Wall St. Journal and ignoring your presence.

    One of my favorite tips is goto the informal get together session. Not to schooze, because frankly they won’t remember you. Go for the free pizza, and after everyone’s done talking, go up to the team leader and ask “what sets your company apart from your competitors?”

    Remember that answer, and the next day when they ask you why you want to work for them, regurgitate. Works everytime and makes you look like you know them inside out.

  2. Harish Says:


    It would be good if you post your advice for the
    “normal interview questions”.

    Also it would be good if your interview experiences with some of the other comapanies which you mentioned.


  3. Adam Says:

    Hey Mark… interesting timing.

    I just posted a pretty comprehensive outline on my blog on “How to evaluate your current job & career… and thoughtfully consider future options” 🙂

  4. I look forward to your post on beating the interview. I’ve had real good experienced with them thus far in my life, however I am sure my luck will change as I am not as colorful as I was before coming over here. I suppose we shall see. Cheers.


  5. markjen Says:

    Harish – I’ve actually been thinking about starting up a category of posts on this blog about answering common interview questions… this might just be the jump start I need.

    Adam – Oh… I was just going to read your blog entry to the kids verbatim 😉 j/k

    Joe – I’ll try my best to make the post worth your wait 🙂

  6. John Says:

    Interesting that Plaxo is doing on-campus recruiting. My impression was that most “start-up’s” would be hiring for immediate need, not anticipated need due to the nature of a start-up (vs. a more established company) as well as more experienced talent than recent college graduates.

  7. John – We’re doing on-campus recruiting because we believe that new college graduates are a great talent source. Our company has several engineering Interns who converted to Full Time and several recent college graduates as well.

    Stuart Liroff
    Sr. Director of Human Resources

  8. markjen Says:

    Hi John – We’ve got immediate need right now 😀

  9. Adam Says:

    > Adam – Oh… I was just going to read your blog entry to
    > the kids verbatim 😉 j/k

    Awesome! And if they say anything or raise their hand during the ad part, does that count as a paid click? 😛

  10. markjen Says:

    How about we use CPM? For every thousand people who are there, you’ll get a certain commission… say about $0.05?

  11. rose Says:

    allow me to translate for all who plan to interview…

    college hires as “great talent” -> cheap. free ot. easily amused.

    interns: see above.

  12. Jason Says:

    What about a stop at Virginia Tech? 😉

  13. markjen Says:

    Sorry Jason, we can’t make it to VT this time. Feel free to send me your resume if you’re interested though 🙂

  14. […] As promised from my previous post and to get started on the new interviewing category, here are some general tips I’ve collected over the years while interviewing or conducting interviews at a broad cut of companies for a variety of positions. […]

  15. […] Just a reminder for students at Harvard and MIT and anyone in the Boston area looking for a job (or just anyone who’s bored), Stuart and I will be in town running a talk and dinner tonight 7PM at The Kendall Hotel (350 Main Street Cambridge, MA 02142). See you guys there! […]

  16. brandon Says:

    hey mark, Are you with a staffing agency? Can you let me know if you’ll be at UC Berkeley anytime soon?

  17. markjen Says:

    Hi Brandon, we were at Berkeley earlier this year for a career fair as well (I’ve got a photoset of pictures on Flickr). I’m not with a staffing agency; I help out with recruiting here at Plaxo. Are you looking for a job?

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