PODCAST: How to Find a Job After Graduation, with Beth Hendler-Grunt

Today’s successful job applicants need to know how to ace the virtual interview and be prepared to do good old-fashioned research and networking. Also, gas prices are high, but try a little global perspective.

Beth Hendler-Grunt
(Image credit: Photo by Lee Seidenberg)

Subscribe FREE wherever you listen:

Apple Podcasts (opens in new tab) | Google Podcasts (opens in new tab) | Spotify (opens in new tab) | Overcast (opens in new tab) | RSS (opens in new tab)

Transcript

David Muhlbaum: Welcome to Your Moneys Worth. I’m kiplinger.com senior online editor David Muhlbaum, joined by my cohost, senior editor Sandy Block. How are you doing, Sandy?

Subscribe to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

Be a smarter, better informed investor.

Save up to 74%
https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/flexiimages/xrd7fjmf8g1657008683.png

Sign up for Kiplinger’s Free E-Newsletters

Profit and prosper with the best of Kiplinger’s expert advice on investing, taxes, retirement, personal finance and more - straight to your e-mail.

Profit and prosper with the best of Kiplinger’s expert advice - straight to your e-mail.

Sign up

Sandy Block: I’m good. How was your road trip last weekend? I think you went to Chicago.

David Muhlbaum: Yes, there and back in one weekend to pick up a kid from college. A lot of miles. There’s a lot of bug jerky still plastered on the front of my car.

Sandy Block: Well, in Michigan we get fish flies and that’s worse. But you used a lot of gas, right? I hope you got the most out of all of your fuel-saving tips (opens in new tab).

David Muhlbaum: Well, I can choose what metrics I want the car to show on the dash, and yeah, I had miles per gallon up there. The MPG I’m getting right now, the MPG, since I last filled up, the MPG for the whole trip. Yeah. I had my navigator, my daughter, next to me checking GasBuddy the whole time to find the lowest prices which, as you know, can vary by state.

Sandy Block: Mostly because of taxes.

David Muhlbaum: Yeah. Mostly. As we’ve heard here on the pod (opens in new tab), environmental regulations and infrastructure, that matters too.

Sandy Block: Right. I’ve been thinking about this a lot because of an article we posted that’s getting a lot of traffic and was actually very interesting to me. It’s a very straightforward title, Gas Prices Around the World (opens in new tab). Looking at that list as a reminder, well, and this was even true before, anyone who’s gone overseas knew this, things could be a lot worse. Americans are paying more for fuel these days, but they’re still paying a whole lot less than most other countries.

David Muhlbaum: Hah. I’m glad you saw that piece because I just updated the numbers in it. The simple answer is yeah, we’re in the bottom half for the data source that we used, which is a site called globalpetrolprices.com, petrol being British-speak for gasoline. We are the lowest of what that site calls economically advanced countries.

Sandy Block: Right. You can get gas pretty cheap some places, but they’re not necessarily places you want to go.

David Muhlbaum: Yeah. So Venezuela, Libya, Iran. Yeah. Those are the outliers, the places where gas is sold for — sometimes in limited amounts — for pennies, because of government subsidies. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that those places are oil-producing countries. That’s a significant factor as well. So even though oil is a global commodity, this can matter. But actually just because you have and produce oil doesn’t mean you’re going to make gas cheap. The biggest example of this is Norway, which has oodles of oil and gas, but they tax the heck out of it when it’s sold domestically.

Sandy Block: Right. The other example, and this is from personal experience, is Canada which has always had higher gas prices than we do I think basically because of taxes and other things. Years ago-

David Muhlbaum: Right. Another big oil producer.

Sandy Block: Another big oil producer. Years ago, we went there on vacation. We pulled into a gas station and I thought, "Well, that’s not so bad. Gas prices aren’t that bad here. It looks about the same." Then I realized, of course, Canada is on the metric system and what I was looking at is liters.

David Muhlbaum: Is a liter.

Sandy Block: Not gallons. Once you converted it to liters, you realize that we were paying about twice as much for gas as we would’ve paid in Detroit. The same thing happened with beer. What I thought was a pretty good price turned out to be for a six pack not a case.

David Muhlbaum: Canada, they produce oil, they produce beer. I think that there’s a significant flow of gasoline from the United States to Canada — in cars.

Sandy Block: Fill up.

David Muhlbaum: This is a real phenomenon. People in Windsor, Ontario, they buy their gas in Detroit. They might throw in a 5-gallon for the lawnmower in the back too.

Sandy Block: Oh yeah. We’ve got lots of stories about that from my husband’s family who used to actually have a vacation place in Canada across from Detroit and would fill it up with groceries and then throw a blanket over the top so people didn’t know. I don’t know if this qualifies quite as good news, but maybe sort of, is that the other thing that just happened is that the IRS announced that it’s increasing the amount that you can deduct for mileage. This mainly applies to self-employed people or people who may be reimbursed for business miles effective July 1st. This is pretty rare. Usually, the IRS sets the standard mileage rates at the beginning of the year and that’s it for the year. But as our colleague Rocky Mengle explained in a story on kiplinger.com today (opens in new tab), because gas prices have risen so much, the IRS raised the standard mileage rate from 58.5 cents per mile to 62.5 cents per mile, which means if you deduct mileage, you’ll get a bigger deduction this year.

David Muhlbaum: Percentagewise that doesn’t seem like a huge jump. Is there any chance they’re going to do it again, like within the year?

Sandy Block: I doubt it. Like I said, it’s pretty rare for the IRS even to do it midyear. Usually, they do it for the whole year. So it’s hard for me to imagine that they would do it again. I mean, it’s kind of a record-keeping administrative hassle for folks and businesses in particular. So I don’t see them doing it again. It’s not a huge increase, but it is an increase, and what I would tell people, if you work for yourself, keep track of your miles because you’re going to want to deduct them.

David Muhlbaum: Well, okay then. We’ll just have to keep an eye on what happens because it doesn’t look like gasoline prices are going to go down anytime soon, at least per the forecast from Jim Patterson, who we’ve heard a lot from here on the podcast (opens in new tab) of late. He mentioned today in a meeting, the only thing he saw lowering gas prices would be a recession.

Sandy Block: Ooof!

David Muhlbaum: So yeah. Careful what you wish for. All right. Well, safe travels to everyone going out this weekend and check your tire pressure. Coming up next. We’re going to talk with a career counselor about how those new college graduates can get gainful employment. Stick around.

Finding a Job After Graduation with Beth Hendler-Grunt

David Muhlbaum: Welcome back to Your Moneys Worth. We are speaking today with Beth Hendler-Grunt, the president of Next Great Step (opens in new tab), a career counseling service in Livingston, New Jersey. We asked her to join us because this is early June and a new crop of college graduates might be sitting down at the family dinner table back home eager to talk about the job they’ve already landed, or they might be up in their room talking to their old stuffed animals about how they have no idea what to do with their lives. So Beth’s business is trying to encourage and create the first situation, connecting new graduates with fulfilling careers. In fact, she’s got a book coming out about it, the title is the same as her firm’s name, The Next Great Step. Welcome Beth.

Beth Hendler-Grunt: Thank you for having me.

David Muhlbaum: Yeah. How many days until the book drops?

Beth Hendler-Grunt: I think it’s like three months and 11 days. So very excited. I just got yesterday kind of the final or the preliminary for me to read through. Just got into my hands. So I’ve not yet been able to actually read it with a hard binding. So I’m very excited.

Sandy Block: That’s exciting.

David Muhlbaum: Oh, like a printer’s proof kind of thing?

Beth Hendler-Grunt: Yeah. So it’s the proof. So I still have to do another final proof of it, but it’s like physically in my hands.

David Muhlbaum: Right. You can hold it. You can feel it. It’s tangible. That’s great.

Beth Hendler-Grunt: Yeah. Yeah. It’s very, very exciting.

Sandy Block: So Beth, David is going to be your target audience in a couple of years. So I think he’s going to want to get maybe an advance copy. What year is your older daughter, David?

David Muhlbaum: She’s what they call a rising junior. She has two years to go in college and then become a, well, I guess we’ll see.

Beth Hendler-Grunt: I think you’re actually in the target market right now. I wouldn’t wait for two years.

David Muhlbaum: Okay. Okay. Okay.

Sandy Block: So to the point, Beth, your book’s subtitle is The Parents’ Guide to Launching Your New Grad into a Career. So it sounds like you’re trying to reach parents who want to help their graduates succeed in the job market. The basic question is why the parents, why not write to the kids directly, because they’re the ones that are actually going to be looking for a job.

Beth Hendler-Grunt: Such a good question. So I speak with hundreds of parents who contact me who are concerned and worried about their young adult launching. I think they really, parents, understand the importance of taking this education that they’ve either contributed towards investing in or that their child has taken on debt for and how important it is to really leverage it into a career. I think they see that they know how hard it is or maybe they’re not sure how to guide their young adult into the job market because they themselves haven’t looked for a job in 20, 30 years. I think they’re understanding that this is maybe a little bit more complicated than they understood. It’s not the way it used to be.

I’ll speak for myself as a parent who has a son who graduated last year and I also have a college sophomore. I think they’re looking for some outside guidance, and candidly, kids at this stage don’t always want to listen to their parents’ advice, so sometimes it helps to have a third party.

David Muhlbaum: Yeah. That’s one of the things that struck me. I mean, I really want to get into the nuts and bolts of the job market today, both for new graduates and maybe old coots like me. But that dynamic, mom and dad, they want to help. But what if the kid doesn’t want their help? I mean, I assume in the book you provide some specifics and nuts and bolts on how to do this.

Beth Hendler-Grunt: Yeah, no question. No, that’s really common. That’s one of the things that I say to parents all the time. My first question when I call is, "Does your child know that you’re calling and are they open to coaching?" So those are the first two very important questions. Sometimes the answer is, "No, they don’t know. I think they’ll be open, but I’m going to convince them." My answer is that no matter what is they have to want it.

So sometimes young adults have to go through the process and they have to experience difficulty and some pain and a little bit of suffering or realizing how hard it is before they say, "You know what, I have tried what I thought was the way to do it. I have tried to either apply online or make connections with the network that I thought I had and nothing’s happening and I’m really struggling and now I’m ready for some outside help."

Beth Hendler-Grunt: So sometimes they’re not. Sometimes I talk to parents and then they come back six months, nine months, a year later, sometimes young adults have to go through the process themselves, because I will never take on a student who doesn’t want to be there. That’s not good for anybody. They have to really want it.

Sandy Block: I think one of the barriers to your point, Beth, though, is, I mean, and we talked about this in the interview I did with you for the August issue of Kiplinger’s (opens in new tab) is that these graduates are going into a really good job market (opens in new tab), certainly nothing like anything I ever experienced. I could see a young person saying, "Oh, come on mom. They’re practically dragging me into coffee shops to work there. There’s jobs all over the place. I got this. I don’t need any help."

Beth Hendler-Grunt: Well, let me just say a couple things. One, yes, it’s a good market. It’s funny. I just had a livestream last night for my community and it’s kind of like a boomerang market. So all the things that I told people a few months ago, even like, oh, streaming, logistics, retail, these are great areas. Then all of a sudden the last few days, you hear about Target and all these companies and Netflix that are pulling back. So you kind of are not sure where to focus.

I think what I have found after doing this over seven years, it doesn’t matter if the market is challenging or if the market is red hot, it is still what I’m finding, there’s this disconnect where so many young adults don’t fully understand what it takes to get into the job that they really want. They are not always taught networking. They don’t understand about the scope of all the jobs that are out there. So I think once they start getting into it, it’s a little bit more complex. As we always joke about, they’re just pressing the easy button on the easy apply and thinking that "Someone’s going to find me, they’re going to think my resume is amazing." I think they’re starting to realize you have to really differentiate yourself to really be noticed in this market.

David Muhlbaum: Well, I think you broached right there what seems sometimes like the black hole of online applications. It’s become very easy in some ways to say, "Well, I applied." But I think you’re also saying that’s only goes so far or maybe not very far at all.

Beth Hendler-Grunt: Yeah. I mean, my opinion is that if you are only applying online, that’s not really a great use of your time because you are competing against hundreds of other candidates, number one. Number two, usually it’s some kind of algorithm who’s looking for keywords, and candidly as a recent grad, you’re not going to have all those keywords. You’re not supposed to, by the way. Your job was to go to school and get an education and learn. You’re not going to have all those keywords and be magically found.

People say, "Oh, well, I’m on LinkedIn, I’m on LinkedIn and I’m going to be found." And I’m thinking, LinkedIn is great, I love it, but don’t wait around to be found. That’s not how you’re going to be identified. You really need to find the people first and you want to target them, who you want to have find you, but you have to reach out to them. I think that’s where there’s a lot of this fear of like, "Well, I don’t know what to say and I don’t want to talk on the phone. On the phone? You mean I have to actually call someone on the phone, not text them?" Yeah, it’s hard because they just don’t know. They just don’t know how to do it.

Sandy Block: Well, and I think one thing you mentioned in our interview, Beth, that is something that a lot of young people do by mistake is just, and this is something their parents probably couldn’t do, because back in the day you actually had to put your resume in the mail and put a stamp on it, but they can send out a hundred applications easily in an afternoon. But you say that’s not really a good idea.

Beth Hendler-Grunt: No, I don’t think it’s a good use of your time. Sometimes there’s this feeling, and even parents, because sometimes I’ll say collectively, don’t always understand the process and they’ll say, "Well. more is better. Don’t do 10. Do 20, do 50, do a hundred." But that’s actually not useful. Employers, if you really think about it, they don’t want someone who’s kind of like, "Oh, I just applied because it seemed good or it seemed interesting."

Sandy Block: It looked like fun!

Beth Hendler-Grunt: Right. This would be fun or....

Sandy Block: Close to my house!

Beth Hendler-Grunt: Or the ones who are studied sports management like, "Well, I love the Mets and I love sports." I’m like, "Okay, don’t ever say that as to why they should hire you because it’s a business. It’s 100% a business." You have to understand. Take a step back. They just have to have some better clarity about themselves and knowing what are the skills that they have that they can bring to an employer that would add value. And it’s not saying, "I’m hardworking." Everybody says, "I’m hardworking."

Beth Hendler-Grunt: It’s saying, "I’m analytical. I am great at research. I know how to problem solve." Then thinking about, okay, what are the types of companies that need those skills? Let me think about what I enjoy doing, what I’m competent at and how can I bring that to an organization. They may not have a job posted on the job board. That’s the whole thing. There’s this hidden job market. 80% of jobs are never, many times are never posted or they’re found by referral because someone wants to know someone who’s in that field. I have this 10 and 10 technique and we’ve talked about this. It’s pick 10 companies that are of interest to you. Then of each of those companies or just amongst those, pick 10 people who are doing the job that you would want to do.

Don’t pick the vice president. You can pick someone like yourself who graduated in the last three to five years, who’s doing something entry level, who can really give you some insight of what it is they do, what it took to get there, what are some of the skills that you need, and you’re going to have so much more insight about it. Maybe I like that job, maybe that’s not interesting to me, but at least you have better information, and the person knows you now and could potentially refer you internally which is how you get yourself into a job.

David Muhlbaum: That’s a lot of work.

Beth Hendler-Grunt: That’s a lot of work. Who said finding a job would be easy? Who told you that?

David Muhlbaum: No, no, no. I never really believed that. But you do have to step back and go, "Wow, that is a lot of work." That’s what it takes. It was a lot of work in my day. It is a lot of work now. What do you think these parents who haven’t been in the job market for 20 years, what has changed the most?

Beth Hendler-Grunt: What has changed the most? I’m also one of those parents, right? I’ll say we’re collectively in this together. I found my job out of college. I actually was very fortunate. I had an internship 25-plus years ago, but that is what launched my career. I think what’s changed is that there’s such a dominance of technology, and that there’s this thinking that, well, if I just understand that the algorithm or if I just understand the technology, then it will be easy. The truth is, I’ll say we collectively as parents know what it takes. We know that talking to someone and networking with them and understanding what they need and potentially how we could help them, those are the ways that relationships are formed and how people do it.

The part that gets confusing for parents is that they think, and their kids are telling them this too, that the technology will solve for that, that if I just go on Indeed who took my profile and I just apply to a hundred jobs, it will know me and it will then match me to someone else. Or I’ll just go on LinkedIn or I will be on a Slack channel, there’s still that human... As I say to everyone, people hire people, not a computer and not a tracking system, but it’s finding your way through the technology to get to the people who hire. I think that’s one of the biggest misnomers of how do you use technology in the search.

Sandy Block: Well, speaking of technology, Beth, one thing that I found absolutely fascinating in our conversation earlier is I asked you about some techniques for doing a Zoom interview, which is increasingly common and we definitely want to talk about that, but before we get there, you told me there’s something called a one-way interview and the way you described it I found absolutely terrifying. So can you tell us what that is and how someone can sort of nail that process?

Beth Hendler-Grunt: Sure, sure. The one-way interview has become the de facto screening method over phone calls to screen candidates. Basically, there’s a number of companies out there that are doing it, companies like HireVue and VidCruiter, Spark Hire, and it is software that a company, the recruiter or anyone in HR can go in and record a number of questions or they can just type out the questions. They don’t have to even give you a personal feel to it. They could just type the question, tell me about yourself or tell me what are your greatest weaknesses or tell me why do you want to work for us and there is no one on the other side. It is just-

Sandy Block: You’re just talking into a camera, in other-

Beth Hendler-Grunt: You are talking to a camera, which by the way is not natural.

Sandy Block: No.

Beth Hendler-Grunt: I mean, we’re on video, but most people, by the way, there’s so many nuances. We’re having a conversation. It’s over video. We’re looking at the screen. Well, you can’t look at the screen. You can’t look at yourself. You have to look at the camera because you want to create that eye contact and that connection with the person. You have to make sure that you have good lighting, that they can hear you, all the things that maybe wouldn’t happen, if you were just on the phone or just met somebody in person. Then the preparation, a lot of these are timed. Sometimes you’ll have multiple chances to record yourself. Sometimes you don’t.

Getting it right, and that practice, if you are not someone who’s comfortable let alone talking about yourself or talking to a computer or a camera, it has a very high level of stress for a lot of candidates. I mean, a lot of our students tell us how much they dislike it, but I say, "Hey, this is here to stay." So we’ve integrated it into our training. We’re going to help. Well, you practice with us so you can get comfortable. But yeah, this is really a massive technology that’s out there in the market of how you screen candidates for the initial call.

Sandy Block: Then going forward from that to the Zoom interview where you actually are talking to somebody, you had some good tips on how to make a good impression that way. My favorite one is that you need to dress from head to toe.

Beth Hendler-Grunt: Oh yes. So sometimes there’s this feeling of, obviously we’ve all been home for a couple of years and used to doing our Zoom calls a certain way or taking class. So we tell our students and grads that when you interview over Zoom or any video, that you want to be dressed as if you’re in person. You want to be dressed from head to toe because we have heard of circumstances where sometimes they’ll say, "Can you just stand up for me?" If you’re dressed from the waist up, but you have pajama bottoms on, I don’t know if that happens all the time, but-

David Muhlbaum: I think "Can you stand up?" is actionable. Like, "What are you looking at?!"

Sandy Block: Actionable.

Beth Hendler-Grunt: Yeah. I think it’s more of a mental state of mind. I think when you’re dressed from head to toe with the shoes on, even though you’re sitting in your bedroom or home office, it’s like a mental state of you’re going to hold your body differently, you’re going to speak differently because you know that you’ve got your act together and you’re ready to have that conversation.

David Muhlbaum: Do you find that the groups that or the graduates that you’re working with now are more comfortable because they’ve essentially... They’re almost native to that format?

Beth Hendler-Grunt: I think they are more comfortable with video. I mean, clearly we’ve had to embrace it. But I think sometimes they still forget this is not a class where you can have a messy bed behind you or you have the window right behind your head and then all of a sudden your face looks darkened, you can’t really see what you look like. So I think even though they’ve used it, they don’t always have to be the one facilitating or really being clear about making sure the other person is hearing what they have to say. One other thing we tell people that video tends to dull you down. So you really have to over-emote, you need to smile, even if this is not your disposition because people are trying to make that connection with you over a screen.

Sandy Block: Backing up a little bit on this Beth. The other thing we talked about is networking. Back in the day, and I’m thinking just two years ago, you’d meet people for coffee, you’d go to events. A lot of that still isn’t going on, or maybe you are trying to network with somebody who’s not nearby. What are some good networking tips if you really are not in a position to do a lot of person-to-person stuff?

Beth Hendler-Grunt: Sure. Networking in my belief is the number one way of how people get hired. Just because you aren’t able to maybe see them in person, maybe there’s not that networking event where 50 or a 100 people gather doesn’t mean that you can’t network. An interesting way, especially I felt in the beginning of the pandemic, is that people are almost more accessible because either they’re working remotely or they have more time or they just understand that this is how people will reach out.

Beth Hendler-Grunt: What I tell young adults is that I rarely meet someone, and I’m pretty confident that rarely will you meet someone, if you’re a recent grad and say, "I’m a recent grad and I’m really interested in what you do. Can you spend 10 minutes to talk with me and just tell me how you got there or I’d love to learn about your path?" Very rarely is someone going to say no to that. I mean, it’s different if you say, "I really need a job. I really, really need a job. Do you have anything for me?" You’re asking them to a yes or no question, which is not great, but that seems like desperate and cringey.

Beth Hendler-Grunt: So we just want you to be more consultative. You want to get to know somebody and what are they about and let them learn about you in a way that enables you to connect with people. People are very willing to help out recent grads. I think even my own clients are shocked at how many people actually reply to the request to connect on LinkedIn or the request to then follow up and have a 15-minute conversation like, "Wow, I can’t believe they actually said yes." I’m like, "Yes, because you did it in a way that was professional. It was thoughtful. You looked up their background ahead of time. So you made it easy for them."

Sandy Block: You also mentioned taking advantage of your alumni networks, I believe.

Beth Hendler-Grunt: Yeah. I think alumni, who doesn’t love to talk to someone who just graduated from the same school you went to, right? They’ll talk about what was on campus or the sports. So who doesn’t want to be brought back to those times when you were a student? Usually alumni is are our first go-to, and it’s very easy whether it’s through your own university portal, but again, LinkedIn has a tool. I don’t know if a lot of people know about it. It’s called the LinkedIn Alumni tool and every single university is on LinkedIn, pretty much.

Beth Hendler-Grunt: In their LinkedIn presence page, there are these tabs. One says people, jobs and there’s one that says alumni. You can filter by the year they graduated, the jobs they have, what they studied, what their skills are, where they work, who they’re connected to. It’s such a great way to see who’s at the companies that you want to be at or who has the same major as you and what are they doing, what are some other ideas that you maybe haven’t thought about that would give you some direction. So there’s some great tools, free, free resources inside of LinkedIn that I think a lot of grads don’t even realize it’s there.

David Muhlbaum: That’s interesting given how much time and money and effort many institutions have invested in their own essentially proprietary alumni networks. I wonder how those will integrate in the future. I have a kind of challenging question maybe. I’m wondering as you went about being someone coming from the situation as you did with your background and working with students or graduates, I should say, what was something that where the students pushed back and said, "Yeah, that’s not working," or, "Whatever this guidance was doesn’t work anymore?" What was something you had to adjust?

Beth Hendler-Grunt: I don’t think there’s a lot of pushback. Well, let’s just start with this. The students who come to us know that whatever they were doing wasn’t working for them. So they’re ready for a new approach. We say that and be like, "You might hear us teach you things and you’re going to question this. So I love a skeptic. Be skeptical." Sometimes they come to us like, "I’m going to do this. I’m not sure how you’re actually going to help me. I think I know what I’m doing, but okay. I’m in." I think what they don’t realize, I think it’s more of what they’re surprised about. Actually, I mean, we constantly tweak and make sure it’s relatable and they understand it.

Some of the concepts come from my previous actually work as a consultant when I’ve worked with CEOs and we’ve helped them with strategic planning and how do they differentiate themselves and articulating your value. A lot of that I bring into just helping grads in a really simple way. What I think they don’t understand, or maybe they think is hard is, that I’m asking them to sell themselves. I’m actually asking you to talk about yourself in a way without bragging, but you’re stating the facts of the skills and talents and the experiences that you had. That’s hard for our young adults. For some reason, they are very uncomfortable telling someone why they are the right person or why they have the right skills. I’m not saying that you’re the best or the most or the greatest, just the fact that you are competent, you have a skillset, you have an example, you have a story to tell, and they’re uncomfortable doing that.

I attribute that more, I don’t know if this generation just more struggles with mental health, self-confidence, believing that they are worthy. There’s an element where they feel like they had to do it by themselves and that now I’m getting some help and I didn’t really want help. Then there’s also this whole feeling of like, "I want to save the world. I want to be with the company that creates impact and how do I do that?" But I think the concept ultimately that they have to sell themselves in a way that adds value to the company. It’s not like hire me because I had the best GPA and I had the best resume, although they would like that to be the case, it’s really because you’re going to solve a problem for a company because you have a certain skillset and that’s how you have to... It’s like the rephrasing of how they’re able to be of value to an organization I think is probably the hardest part for them.

Sandy Block: So Beth, kind of following up on that, what are some of the biggest mistakes that new grads make when they are not just applying for job, but maybe going through... Let’s say you’ve gotten in for an interview, what are some of the biggest mistakes that grads make when they’ve made it that far?

Beth Hendler-Grunt: The biggest mistakes is just lack of preparation. I mean, Google is the easiest, most amazing resource that can give you so much information in literally 60 seconds. Make sure you know what the company is, what they do, who’s the CEO, what’s the stock price. I always tell them, "Type into Google XYZ company in the news." What is the latest press release or announcement? Did they merge? Did they acquire? Are their numbers up? Are they down? Whatever is the latest information.

Sometimes they’re so in the mode of "I just want to focus on my job and all I have to worry about is the role that I want to interview for." I’m always like, "Think bigger, because they want you to be interested and concerned about the company as a whole and how you can help them and solve their problems and achieve their goals." So I think really the preparation, and they assume that they’re like, "Oh, it’s just a conversation. I can be casual."

Beth Hendler-Grunt: I’m like, "It’s never casual. You’re assuming incorrectly. People are always looking at you. They’re always judging. They’re always deciding from the very first word that you utter, they’re going to make an assessment. So you want that entire persona to be professional, practiced, rehearsed, thoughtful and someone that they know can help their company be successful."

David Muhlbaum: You got to sound like you’re going to do on that three-minute video right off the bat.

Beth Hendler-Grunt: Oh yeah. You got to nail it.

David Muhlbaum: Thank you for hopefully reassuring some both students or graduates and their parents that it’s going to work out — if you do the work. Thank you for joining us today. We look forward to your book.

Beth Hendler-Grunt: Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it.

Sandy Block: Thank you, Beth.

David Muhlbaum: That will just about do it for this episode of Your Moneys Worth. If you like, what you heard, please sign up for more at Apple Podcasts (opens in new tab) or wherever you get your content. When you do, please give us a rating and a review. If you’ve already subscribed, thanks. Please go back and add a rating and review if you haven’t already. To see the links we’ve mentioned in our show along with other great Kiplinger content on the topics we’ve discussed, go to kiplinger.com/podcast. The episodes, transcripts and links are all in there by date. If you’re still here because you want to give us a piece of your mind, you can stay connected with us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. Thanks for listening.

Sandra Block
Senior Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Block joined Kiplinger in June 2012 from USA Today, where she was a reporter and personal finance columnist for more than 15 years. Prior to that, she worked for the Akron Beacon-Journal and Dow Jones Newswires. In 1993, she was a Knight-Bagehot fellow in economics and business journalism at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She has a BA in communications from Bethany College in Bethany, W.Va.