Alumni Spotlight: Rick Uskert

Richard Uskert 2x3_6367Rick Uskert graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Daytona Beach in 1996 with a degree in Aircraft Engineering Technology.  He is currently a Senior Engineer at Textron Systems Unmanned Systems.

What has been your career path since graduating from Embry-Riddle?

My career started during one of the slumps in the aerospace industry and I took a job with a company in NW Indiana designing industrial equipment. After a few months, I interviewed with a consulting engineering firm in the Chicago suburbs which providing structural and fatigue fracture analysis to the aviation industry, both commercial and military. The guys I worked for and with were brilliant, having written fatigue analysis and damage tolerance of structures content for several publications; however, I as a more creative person at heart – and still am – so post-damage analysis wasn’t a path I wished to pursue.

The next five years were spent working in the medical industry, designing instruments for minimally invasive open heart surgery, stents, airway management and many other products. As the company manufactured product for many of the big companies, such as Abbott, CTI and Stryker, I touched many products which were mainstays of the operating room and in-home care products during the 1990’s and 2000’s.

From there I turned back to aviation and, while working at Pratt & Whitney, furthered my education and career through a Master’s degree in Management and New Product Development at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Hartford, CT. During my time at P&W, I worked with a great team in the Compression Systems Module Center (CSMC) designing and analyzing composite components for the F119 and F135 engines which power the F-22 and F-35 aircraft.

My next hop was to Rolls-Royce in Indianapolis to design Ceramic Matrix Composites (CMC) components for the hot section of advanced technology gas turbine engines. The composite technologies used between the front end of the P&W and the back end of the RR engines couldn’t be more dissimilar and each had their quirks and limitations which needed to be accounted for in the product designs, which made each task challenging. Working at the leading edge of ceramic matrix composite technology application has led to a number of patent applications for our team.

Currently, I work for Textron Systems Unmanned Systems, formerly AAI, in Maryland as a Sr. Aero/Mech Engineer, responsible for managing project tasking and the associated resources to integrate new product onto the legacy Shadow UAVs, increase capabilities through airframe upgrades and provide product designs to future systems.

You have worked in a variety of fields, what lessons have you gained from varied experiences?

The first lesson I learned was engineering is engineering and the fundamentals are the same. Designing a product to save someone’s life in the operating room is not much different than designing one to protect a soldier’s life on the battlefield. Each project starts with requirements, progresses through material selection, design analysis and manufacturing. I’m simplifying here, but the fundamentals are the same; one only needs a willingness to learn the differences in materials and how best use them in each application.

With each employment change, I have been able to draw upon knowledge I gained from past experiences, all the way back to the beginning of my career, even though it has been based upon dissimilar products and/or industries.

I have also learned what I enjoyed the most, and personally that is working in a small company environment. Those companies are the most dynamic and they offer opportunities to act in multiple roles and to get one’s hands dirty building product. That has been most enjoyable for me.

I have worked with a number of great, experienced teams; resulting in products which have helped many people continue their own lives and professions. Because of this, I do not look for a greatest accomplishment in my career, as I associate that with an object and I tend to be more of an experience type of person. That being said, I have considered meeting soldiers who have stated that our products have been responsible for their safe return from the field as well as people which have used the medical products I helped develop as highlights to my career. Those instances act as reminders as to why I choose to work on these products.

What advice do you have for graduating students to be successful in the job search?

Everyone is encouraged to research the company and the job they are considering applying for as best as they can. Many times a job posting is very general, especially for entry level positions, so one should understand the type of products that company and/or division develops. Make sure that is what you want to work on and tailor your experiences to that company. It takes time and effort; however, it allows you to stand out as a candidate.

All companies are interested in understanding what you have accomplished individually and as a team member. Include two or three examples of this information on your resume in a concise manner. If you are invited for an interview, be excited about being there and confident in presenting your product: yourself. During the interview process, we are judging your personality and how well you may fit with those already established on the team in addition to your technical ability.

Finally, look for opportunities that may not be the vision of your dream job, as one does not fall into that position upon walking off campus. These other experiences open doors in the future, allowing you to set a path towards that end goal, as it changes over your career.



Alumni Spotlight: Deric S. Dymerski

Deric S. Dymerski is a December 1990 graduate from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Daytona Beach.  His Deric Dymeskydegree was in Aeronautical Science and he is currently President of Atlas Aviation.

Can you please discuss your career path since graduating from Embry-Riddle?

I started at the customer service desk for Butler Aviation at Palm Beach International Airport (PBI), and went through the merger that formed Signature Flight Support.  After a couple months, I was promoted to Operations Supervisor, and eventually Airlines Supervisor (mostly for a UPS freight and cargo operation).  After a few years, I took a job as General Manager for Hawthorne Aviation (which became Piedmont-Hawthorne and is now Landmark Aviation) at Lakeland-Linder Regional Airport (KLAL).  There, I was promoted to Regional Manager and covered four FBOs in Florida, two in Georgia and two in North Carolina.  After several years in the position, I left to form my own company and find an airport suitable for my own FBO plan.

After a year of doing some FBO consulting, my new company (Atlas Aviation) won the RFP for FBO services at Peter O. Knight Airport (KTPF) in Tampa, Florida.  We’ve now been here just over 10 years, and have a busy Part 61 and Part 141 flight school (Cessna Pilot Center), a full aircraft maintenance shop (Cessna Single Engine Service Center) and the full ground services of tiedown, hangar storage and aviation fuels.  We have hosted AOPA Expo and AOPA Summit at our airport, and continue to host several, large special events each year.  We have recently expanded into aircraft painting, and plan on a full avionics shop next.

Why is involvement in organizations outside the workplace important? 

I have been a member and attended the Annual Meeting of the Florida Aviation Trades Association for nearly 20 years. A few years into it, I was nominated to the Board of Directors, and learned a TON from the people I met and still call friends.  When it came time to start my own company, each service or vendor I needed came from my contacts within the organization; what an incredible support network for an independent company!  Once settled into Atlas, I rejoined the Board and am currently serving as President (we’ve changed our name to the Florida Aviation Business Association www.FABA.Aero).  Meeting and communicating regularly with other industry professionals (ERAU has a seat on the Board) is an incredible resource for running a business.

What has been your greatest achievement in your career?

Having come from a background of larger, “chain” type FBOs, I was warned by many that you couldn’t make a living selling Avgas, and certainly not with a flight school or even maintenance.  Many had the “gas and grass” mentality, and subbed out all the other services and just collected rent.  We now have a proven business model of teaching people to fly, then supporting our other departments by servicing the airplanes the new pilots ultimately buy (some simply continue to rent from our fleet, of course).  We have several tenants on their second or third aircraft upgrade since we taught them to fly.  We have made the “against the odds” business model work by hiring exceptional people and cultivating a professional yet fun atmosphere at the airport.

What advice do you have for current and/or graduating students to make them competitive in today’s workplace?

We’ve always appreciated ERAU grads and have several working for us.  More than education or experience (though both are factors), we look for a great ATTITUDE in an employee.  You should be willing to learn as you go, have a smile on your face and have an honest desire to help customers.  That will make both your career and the company for whom you work successful; I love what I do!


Employer Feedback from the Industry/Career Expo

Expo pic

The Daytona Beach Industry/Career Expo was another success this year.  There were 87 companies in attendance with 16 companies conducting interviews the day after the Expo.

Below is some of the feedback from the employers:

What qualities did those candidates that you favored most possess?

-“Communications, encourage candidates to relax and be confident”

-“Many presented themselves in a confident manner with great speaking skills.  The ability to speak to questions of technical nature set apart from others.  For those who have some work experience a great attribute (campus work is considered in this)”

-“Direct communication, willing to share/talk about themselves, calm/collected, comprehensive/thorough”

-“Excellent technical skills, understand job responsibilities and objectives, analytic skills, resume”

-“Strong analytical skills, good communication skills, knowledge of industry and company”

-“Honesty.  Our company values honesty and a strong worth ethic.  When candidates were talking about resumes you could quickly tell if they were honest.  This is because we are all ERAU graduate recruiters”

-“Maturity, preparedness/knowledge of company”

-“Practical experience, well-rounded, multitask”

Do you have any advice for our students to help make them stronger candidates?

-“Obtain more co-ops and internships and get involved in on-campus groups and program”

-“Projects, leadership, organized resume, list GPA if impressive”

-“Research company and know history.  Read job responsibilities and functions”

-“Be honest about your background.  Do not be afraid to say ‘no, I do not know.”

-“Research website and understand company, prepare specific questions and always be positive when asked about future education opportunities”

-“Students should be encouraged to look at local businesses. It was our impression that many students did not realize the opportunities that presented themselves locally. Also, we found that many of the engineering students liked the area and enjoyed water activities in their spare time, but had not thought of using their degrees with regards to boat-building.

-“Be sure to do homework before interviews; Check out company website understand their services and initiatives

-“It is great for Freshmen to come to this event, I would highly encourage it. They gain a lot of experience in the environment and from absorbing the whole process. They should meet with companies they want to work for and at least make introductions to themselves, and each year afterward.”

-“I followed the 3 rules stated by all recruiters:
1. Take on a leadership role within an organization
2. Keep GPA above 3.0
3. Complete one internship before graduation


Alumni Spotlight: Leland C Shanle

Leland C Shanle is a graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Shanle is a pilot, award winning author, and military/aviation technical adviser for the movie industry. His consulting projects include Pearl Harbor, Behind Enemy Lines, xXx, The Day After Tomorrow and Stealth. His production company–Broken Wing Productions–has worked on several aviation-based movies and series including the Discovery Curiosity Series; Plane Crash.

Shanle is the author of three books; Project Seven Alpha, Vengeance at Midway and Guadalcanal, and ENDGAME in the Pacific–with the fourth slated for release in 2014. He has also written for Aerospace Testing International Magazine and is a Contributing Editor to Airways Magazine. Shanle has adapted his book, Project 7 Alpha as a screenplay for a major motion picture studio.

Shanle’s lifelong interest in Aviation is a family legacy. His Grandfather was in the airline industry in the 1920s and two uncles (Bob USAF, Larry USN) were combat military aviators. Shanle flew naval aircraft in 10 squadrons; including the F-4 Phantom II, EA-6B Prowler and TA-4 Skyhawk. Attached to CAG 5, 11 and 1 cruising on the USS Midway, America and Lincoln; Leland flew 80 missions over the war torn skies of Bosnia, Somalia, and Iraq.

He got into the flight test world when transferred to VX-30, Naval Weapons Test Center Point Mugu. He flew as a Project Officer on various test programs and was the Squadron Operations Officer. Shanle also attended the Project Officer/Engineers and the Out of Control Flight courses at National Test Pilot School. He was inducted as a Full Member in the Society of Experimental Test Pilots (SETP) in 1998.

Closing out his Naval Aviation career with 600 carrier landings (200 night) on 11 different carriers; he continues his Aviation career as a Boeing 777 pilot with American Airlines.

Can you please discuss your experience working with UAVs?

I was attached to VX-30 and was the head of the QF-4 program. I had the unique perspective of actually riding in drones. Yes; I was a drone pilot…or Spam, as we called it. We would have to test the system, a UHF data link system, fairly archaic technology by today’s standards; by flying the pattern and doing touch and goes on San Nicholas Island off the coast of LA. Being in an F-4 Phantom while someone flew it from 75 miles away could be quite a ride. The runway on San Nic was on a 500 foot cliff; more than once I looked up to see it before crying uncle and taking control. We also had to test new software loads for controls/self protect modes; which also was quite a ride at times: stalls, straight up departures from controlled flight, etc. Being a UCC controller was a very perishable skill; it is the only thing I’ve done in my career as hard or harder than a night carrier landing. We used what looked like a simulator with a 5X5 TV screen; we landed on San Nic with just that little picture. At the time San Nic was a 5,000 foot runway due to construction, so we dropped the hook and took the wire like on the ship.

The drone was controlled from Naval Test Center Point Mugu with a range of 300 miles. It was an all aspect, fully functional aerial target. We could launch weapons or other drones and dog fight from the NOLO (No On-board Live Operator) QF-4. Our mission was to test new weapons systems and provide Fleet readiness. We normally used telemetry heads instead of war heads to save the assets.

We also launched and remotely or pre-programmed controlled other drones pictured here:

AS 16 launch

A QF-4N launching an MA-31. The MA-31 was a converted Soviet AS-17 Krypton missile. After failing to duplicate the performance of the Soviet system, when the Wall came down we bought a few.

aqm 37

An AQM-37 Super Sonic drone. We would launch the AQM-37 from a QF-4 Phantom at 1.5 Mach and 50,000 feet and then turn 90 degrees out and run like hell. Because the Fleet ships would then start shooting Surface to Air Missiles at it (had an old bud shot down by a CIWS once, he didn’t like it much).

c 130 with drones

A BQM-74 Chukar on a LC-130 wing station with another LC-130 in background. With this drone system we could launch raids against the Fleet.


QF-4N NOLO; (look close no pilot) over San Nic Island.


QB-727 and a chase C-337.

My most recent experience was as the CEO of Broken Wing LLC and droning a Boeing-727 for the Discovery Channel Documentary on aircraft survivability. We put together the old Point Mugu Team for that.

In your opinion, what do you think the future of UAVs will be in the United States?

So where is the Drone Industry going? There is one little problem with drones…they crash, a lot. Broken Wing is working on a project that shows some of the vulnerabilities of mixing manned/un-manned flight. Putting aside loose cannons who are flying drones illegally there is still massive vulnerabilities. Companies that are jumping into delivering products via drones will have a serious decision to ponder when the law suits start flying. Imagine a drone with a pizza and 6 pack dropping over LA like a stone; or one that has gone rogue getting sucked up an intake of an airliner on short final. Real threats.

That having been said; in low density or military applications I think the future is bright for UAVs. They will continue to be in great demand for border protection, observation for police/FBI applications and as a Strike/INTEL platform for all of the military services. From hand held airborne cameras for the Infantry to carrier launched Strike aircraft they will continue to multiply. The up side of unmanned flight in those arenas cannot be overstated.

Now for the 500 pound gorilla in the room: passenger aircraft applications. Personally, I would never get in one. From my perspective, having been one of the few people on earth to have actually ridden in one, no way! In the QF-4 I could take control when things got bad. Has your computer and/or IPhone ever just frozen up or done things you didn’t want it to? You see my point. Redundant systems? Google QF-72 (Qantas Flight 72) a bad system locked out two good systems and almost killed everyone on board.

Practically? Hugely expensive, drones have a very long tech-tail. Operationally? It would reduce the air traffic like a bad weather day. Airports like San Diego, Washington DC and LaGuardia could not be used due to the visual requirements on a normal day. Pilots make the air traffic flow in spite of how over loaded the system is. And on windy days? Simply they would have to shut down the airport. Even the most modern auto-land systems have wind restrictions that are half what the aircraft is capable of landing in (with a pilot).

In summary: imagine a QB-777 dropping on downtown USA some night? The company operating it would be out of business and Congress would out-law the systems immediately. Risk vs. Reward.

For more discussion about the developing unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) industry, tune-in online at 7 p.m. on Sept. 18 for the inaugural Lift, Off the Page roundtable event, featuring Embry-Riddle faculty experts and alumni working in the UAS field. Register to attend: And, read the fall edition of Lift

First Impressions

By: Stephanie Rozboril

When meeting a recruiter or interviewer for the first time, your intial impression can really make an impact. First ImpressionSometimes before you even have an opportunity to speak, they are already beginning to assess you. There are several things to keep in mind to avoid sending the wrong message before your interview or opportunity even begins!

Appearance: Dress to impress! Make sure that your attire is professional, clean and wrinkle free, and appropriate in fit (nothing low cut or too small/big). They will notice more than what you’re wearing so ensure you look well groomed (hair and fingernails especially) and your breath is fresh. A smile and a poised approach will also help to show confidence.

Handshake: Nothing is worse than a limp lifeless handshake. Make sure you perfect yours ahead of time and have it be one that is strong and accompanied by direct eye contact and a smile.

Communication Style: If you are not excited about an opportunity with a company, the company won’t be excited about you. Make sure that you show interest in the discussion, ask questions, and remain confident and enthusiastic. Speak clearly and professionally, make eye contact, and try to mirror the body language and communication style of the recruiter or interviewer.

Resume: When applying online for a position, your resume and application are the only impression you are able to give. To ensure your success make sure that your resume has been tailored to the specific position you are applying for. You should also consider the value of having someone else look over the document to provide feedback and catch any grammatical errors. When filling out an online application be thorough, ensure you answer questions completely, and use your resume as a guide to help you.

The Career Services office at Embry-Riddle is here to help you perfect all of your first impression skills. Take advantage of the services we offer to help you prepare for success!  To learn more about making a first impression, please visit our website:

Stephanie Rozboril is new to the career services office and serves as the engineering program manager and also supports our homeland security, space physics, computer science, and computational mathematics students. She has been with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University since 2012, where she worked in the Alumni Relations Office supporting future and current graduates. Stephanie enjoys working with students to help them achieve their professional goals and become successful in today’s competitive job market.

Employer Advice Spotlight: Better to be Overdressed than Underdressed

By Joshua Pringle

Joshua Pringle is the Director of Marketing at CO2Meter, a leader in Carbon Dioxide metering, sensing, and detection. CO2Meter designs, manufactures and distributes industry leading devices to consumers and companies in diverse business segments. Mr. Pringle has put together a series of articles providing advice, from a company’s perspective, on interviewing. This post is the last one for the spring term.

InterviewDiversityThe reason something becomes a cliché is because it actually has truth to it. So when I say, “First impressions are everything,” I really do mean it. Especially when interviewing for an internship or job. When the interviewer opens the door to greet you for the first time, how you are dressed SCREAMS at them and sets the tone for the conversation you are about to have.

A few notes about dress requirements: Business Attire means a suit and tie (sport coat minimum), Business Casual means dressed nicely but no tie (sorry ladies), and in business circles, Casual means a polo or button shirt or blouse and nice dress pants and dress shoes (not flip flops and Hawaiian shirts).

Here are some important keys to your dress for the future.

1) Everyone, buy a business suit. A suit says “professional” unlike anything else. Men’s Warehouse, Jos. A. Bank, and Brooks Brothers all offer great suits at great prices for the gentlemen.
2) When wearing a tie, keep it tied. Do not wear a tie or your shirt undone. You are interviewing for a job/internship not modeling for GQ.
3) Leave excess jewelry/accessories at home. Think minimal. The cleaner your look, the better. Don’t wear a watch, so you aren’t tempted to check the time. While you are in the interview, there is not a single thing on the planet more important for that time period. Stay focused!
4) Don’t make the interview day the first time you are wearing your new suit. Try it on a few days ahead of time. The idea here is to get comfortable in it because nothing says “I’m nervous” more than someone who is clearly uncomfortable in their clothes.
5) Don’t ruin your outfit with dirty or poorly matched socks and shoes.
6) NO perfume or cologne. What if your interviewer had an ex-husband who wore Polo? Subconsciously she is going to be predisposed to not liking you.

But the best tip I can give you is this: it is far better to be overdressed than underdressed! You can always take off your tie to meet a situation, but unless you keep a spare tie in your car, it’s difficult to add a tie to your outfit. Be the best dressed person in the room. You will be noticed and thought of highly.

Unfortunately part of the interview process, and even the business process overall, is selling yourself. Most people are uncomfortable talking about themselves, what they’ve accomplished, or even what they want to do. Dressing professionally helps ease that “sales” process because, when you are dressed professionally, you are already viewed as a quality candidate.

Employer Advice Spotlight: Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

By Joshua Pringle

Joshua Pringle is the Director of Marketing at CO2Meter, a leader in Carbon Dioxide metering, sensing, and detection. CO2Meter designs, manufactures and distributes industry leading devices to consumers and companies in diverse business segments. Mr. Pringle has put together a series of articles providing advice, from a company’s perspective, on interviewing. The series will be added throughout the spring semester.

Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?

Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?

Do you remember the old computer game and TV show that taught geography through a fun, traveling secret agent persona? The agents would travel the globe learning about their destinations and travel routes in order to capture Carmen. The problem was that this series was produced in the late 1980s and early 1990s before MapQuest and Google Maps. The agents would have no problem catching Carmen today. And think of playing this game if you had Google glasses!

So let me put this gently – in today’s world with iPhones, Google Maps, Wi-Fi access all over and a million apps to help you get to where you are going…DON’T BE LATE FOR AN INTERVIEW!

Nothing says “throw my resume in the wastebasket” to an interviewer quicker than you being late. Being late to the interview for any reason demonstrates what you are going to be like as an employee: late, irresponsible, demanding, and generally a terrible employee. Showing up late for your interview or anything else is just disrespectful. I don’t know about you, but I’d be sure I was actually early for an interview.

Here are a few tips for being on time to your interview.

1) Don’t just map the location out on Google Maps or another app. That is not enough. What if the GPS is wrong? What if the company recently moved? What if there is an accident and the road you want to take is closed? If the company is local, drive the route the day before to know exactly where to be.
2) Leave 30 minutes earlier than you think you should. It is far better to sit in the parking lot reviewing your notes and qualifications than it is to be rushed because you’re late.
3) When you are late, you rush and make mistakes making the situation worse. Imagine being 15 minutes late for your interview and running into the building to save time? Now you are late and sweaty. Not a good start.
4) “Early IS on time”. Think about it for a second. It also means that, “on time = late and late = forgotten”.
5) No matter how early you are, do not go into the building/office more than 10 minutes early. You seem too eager.
6) Bring some cold water for your trip and turn on the AC. When most people are nervous, they perspire. Use at least these two tricks to help reduce your anxiety.
7) Get gas the day before. Having to get gas will put you behind schedule. And nobody wants to smell like gas when they walk into a room.

If something happens and even with all your pre-planning you are going to be late, call well before your interview time to give the interviewer notice. Leave a clear, concise message.

Part of the world outside the university setting is timeliness. You are expected to be places and do things on time, if not in advance. Show that you are prepared for that leap by being at your scheduled location prior to the time you were given. I promise you the interviewer will be putting a “bonus point” in your column while others are getting dinged.

And by the way…I don’t think the agents ever found Carmen. Maybe you will see her on your way to your interview if you aren’t running too late!

Employer Advice Spotlight: Don’t Bother Showing Up If…

By Joshua Pringle

Joshua Pringle is the Director of Marketing at CO2Meter, a leader in Carbon Dioxide metering, sensing, and detection.  CO2Meter designs, manufactures and distributes industry leading devices to consumers and companies in diverse business segments.  Mr. Pringle has put together a series of articles providing advice, from a company’s perspective, on interviewing.  The series will be added throughout the spring semester. 

questions-to-ask-during-an-interview-40You spent time researching and finding the company with which you want to interview.  You emailed and called and asked for the interview.  You met with a career counselor and prepared a great cover letter and resume.  You bought a new shirt/blouse, and your outfit looks great.  But you shouldn’t bother even walking in the office door if you haven’t prepared well thought out questions in advance.  I can almost guarantee your failure if you don’t have questions prepared or if the questions are too rudimentary.

Start by thinking about the Seven P’s.  Prepare in advance by reviewing any materials you were sent, the company’s web site, their company financial filings from the last few quarters,, etc.  This preparation will not only help you learn about the company but give you plenty of ideas about questions to ask.  Here are some ideas to start your brain thinking about questions you should ask.

1)      If you read conflicting information from/about the company, you should ask a question about it.  For example, if one quarterly statement says they invested in something (another company, technology, etc.) and in a subsequent quarter the company takes a write down on that investment, you should ask about it.  Bad investments and write downs are like a questioner’s field day.

2)      If you are interviewing for a new/expanding part of the business, ask about the company’s expectations for that area.  What does management expect?  What are the goals?  How quickly do they expect a return on their investment?

3)      Sites like Glassdoor will tell you how current and former employees view their jobs and the company.  For example, if several former employees comment about the lack of flexibility with time off, you should ask questions about the company’s commitment to employee health and well-being.

4)      Figure out who their competitors are and research them thoroughly.  The competitions’ positioning will tell you a lot about how your interviewer is positioned in the marketplace.  Are they a leader in their field or a follower?  “I saw that XYZ has this new technology in the marketplace.  How are you planning to counter that and retain market share?”  This tells your interviewer that you have immersed yourself in their business and want to know how you will help them be successful in the future.

Now here is the kicker – you MUST ask these three questions at the end of your interview.  No matter what.  No matter how uncomfortable you are asking these, you must do it.  I also include a note about why you are asking these questions too.

1)      Are there any red flags from our interview today that give you concern about my candidacy for the position?  The answer to this one questions tells you everything you need to know walking out the door.  If they say “No,” then you can pat yourself on the back and feel satisfied.  You also have made your interviewer cement in their minds that you are a great candidate for the job because the last thing they will remember saying is that, “I see no issues with you getting this job”.  If they say “Yes,” then you have a list of the issues they see with your candidacy.  This gives you items to follow up on after the interview to provide tangible proof the perceived issues are no longer viable.  You also have a list of things you need to improve on before your next interview.

2)      After our conversation today, I am more excited than ever about this opportunity.  When will you and your team be making a decision about candidates?  This question tells you when you can expect an answer.  This will help you lower your anxiety level about hearing back, and it also puts the interviewer on notice that they have to deliver you a response by a certain date.  If you don’t hear back from them by that date, you are green lighted to call and ask about the results.

3)      Are you the only person making this decision, or is there a group consensus?  Will I have the opportunity to meet with the others?  If it is a solo decision, you now know who the decision maker is.  And you just aced your interview with that person.  If it is a group decision, you now know who else at the company is involved, and you have asked to meet them too.  One of the rules in business is, “find a way to meet the person at the top because they ARE the decision maker.”

While the answers to these questions are critically important to you, the fact that you asked the questions in the first place is a huge “plus” for your candidacy.  To ask these questions, you must be prepared, and you must have confidence.  The interviewer is going to recognize those qualities in you immediately.

Please do not leave your interview without asking these three questions.  Asking these questions will move you to the top of the heap immediately.

Employer Advice Spotlight: Sometimes Overlooked Interview Items

By Joshua Pringle

Joshua Pringle is the Director of Marketing at CO2Meter, a leader in Carbon Dioxide metering, sensing, and detection.  CO2Meter designs, manufactures and distributes industry leading devices to consumers and companies in diverse business segments.  Mr. Pringle has put together a series of articles providing advice, from a company’s perspective, on interviewing.  The series will be added throughout the spring semester. 

78dc1fd7-7a8f-4b20-b084-8789c91af08dMost of what you read or hear about interviewing is about preparation, questions and speaking to your skills.  These items are 80-90% of the interviews success.  But the other 10-20% is often overlooked mostly because they are considered “soft skills” that most people are either not aware of or that make them uncomfortable.  Think of “cold calling”.  Most people think “telemarketer” and are repulsed by the idea of cold calling.  But those in business know it is a skill that is essential to the success of almost every organization.

Here are a few of the overlooked items that are important to your interviewing success.

1)      Take a look on the internet and study your interviewer(s).  LinkedIn is a great tool for this.  Best case scenario – you have a common connection that can recommend you.  Worst case scenario – you know the interviewers work history and where they went to college.  Knowing that they went to ERAU or MIT will make for an easier icebreaker than “wow, it’s hot out there.”

2)      Call or email the day before to confirm your appointment, the time, and location.  Confirming says to the interviewer that you are thorough and interested.  It also ensures that you are at the correct location on time.

3)      Be on time.

4)      Think about getting business cards for yourself.  Check out Vista Print.  Good cards will cost you $25-$30 and your University may have printing services too.  A card says you have planned and are serious.  It also ensures that you can exchange contact information with your interviewer.

5)      Get your interviewer’s card so you have all their contact information.  There is actually business etiquette to exchanging business cards.  Review it.

6)      Make eye contact.  Interviewers are turned off by people who don’t make eye contact.

7)      Bring a copy of your resume and any relevant work examples (see the Seven P’s).

8)      Ask the great questions you’ve prepared in advance.

9)      Please take a few minutes and ensure that you have a great business handshake.  Practice on friends and family.  “The Cold Fish” or “Grandmotherly” handshake is a kiss of death for your interview.

10)   Smile.  Research done in 2012 by professors at the University of Kansas has proven that smiling releases your AND others’ tension.

Most importantly you must write either a hand-written thank you note or an email within 24 hours of the interview.  This is an absolute.  No questions asked.  I can guarantee you that a spectacular interview gets knocked down several notches if the interviewer doesn’t receive a thank you note.

Your thank you is your opportunity to show gratitude for the interview opportunity, for you to rectify any issues the interviewer saw in your candidacy, and for you to reinforce your qualifications.  Not sending the thank you note screams unprofessional, rude, and a bad fit.

I actually suggest two thank you’s.  The first is electronic sent within 12 hours of your interview, a quick thank you that informs your interviewer you are sending a hand-written note.  The second is the hand-written note that is your main follow up tool.

Conventional wisdom is that hand-written notes are out of date and old news.  Business professionals know that hand-written notes leave lasting impressions of professionalism, class, and respect.  I have cemented dozens of business relationships simply by sending a hand-written thank you note.

Be prepared.  Have great questions to ask.  Be ready to address your skills.  Also, consider some of these areas that are often overlooked.  As a reminder, be classy and respected, not old news.

Employer Advice Spotlight: The Seven P’s

By Joshua Pringle

Joshua Pringle is the Director of Marketing at CO2Meter, a leader in Carbon Dioxide metering, sensing, and detection.  CO2Meter designs, manufactures and distributes industry leading devices to consumers and companies in diverse business segments.  Mr. Pringle has put together a series of articles providing advice, from a company’s perspective, on interviewing.  The series will be added throughout the spring semester. 

Like most of the other suggestions I will make about interviewing, these little tidbits also apply to life and your career too.  This little hint is probably at the top of the list and again comes from my grandfather.  While I regret the mild expletive in the phrase, I was taught later on in life that it is used to create a little humor and make the phrase memorable.  Trust me…you will remember this one.

Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance

If you can learn and act on the Seven P’s, you will not only be successful but well ahead of your peers.  Whether it’s a class project, homework, reading, Christmas shopping, project management, car payments…anything you do can have the Seven P’s applied to it.

When thinking about preparing for an interview or business meeting, I always review the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg for financial statements, press releases and financial filings from the last year, LinkedIn and Glassdoor, and any critical articles I trolled for online.  These tidbits will help frame your approach to preparing.

imagesAs it pertains to your interviewing though, the Seven P’s are essential to your interview success because the better and earlier you prepare the more successful your interview will be.

1)      Follow the instructions the interviewer gives you in the pre-interview email/letter to a tee.  They are likely to give you all the clues you need to properly prepare for your interview.  For example, if the interviewer suggests that you review their website, don’t just look at the site – study it, learn it, Google things you don’t know about, and become an expert on their business.

2)      If the interviewer does not give you any hints beforehand, I suggest you ask.  Be straightforward with the interviewer and ask them, “Is there anything you’d like me to prepare in advance for our conversation?”  This says to them that you want to prepare and are eager to ensure you meet if not exceed qualifications and expectations.  If they say “yes,” you now know what to prepare for and expect.  If they say “no,” one of two things is occurring: the interviewer is not prepared for you, or they are testing you to see how well you can prepare without direction.

3)      Be prepared to ask questions (another article coming soon).  I don’t mean, what will my daily responsibilities be?-type questions; I mean ask in-depth questions about the website or their business.  Crafting well thought-out questions in advance is somewhat of an art, but it is imperative to a successful interview.

4)      Plan your day, trip to the interview, etc. in advance.  Don’t leave things to chance.

5)      Plan your outfit in advance.  Don’t wait until the morning of the interview to choose a shirt.  What if it has a spot on it?  What if your shoes have a scuff?

Preparing in advance allows you time to recover if you have prepared incorrectly or if other issues arise.  Do not put off preparation.  It is virtually impossible to over-prepare.

But here is the ultimate key to the Seven P’s – it allows you to relax leading up to and in the interview.  The military and professional sports teams stress the Seven P’s because a well-planned and trained team does not worry in combat/competition about what they should do…they just act on instinct because they have prepared for all possibilities.  If you wait until the last minute, you will be stressed and tense throughout the process.  Your stress will be very visible to the interviewer.  If you prepare well in advance, it gives your brain time to process the information you’ve taken in, prepare great questions, and then relax.  When you are in the moment, the interviewer will sense your calm and your preparation telling them you are a capable, responsible potential employee.

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