GE recruiter mixes interview formula

Steve Rushin

Students looking for jobs were given a view last Thursday from behind the desk of an interviewer, when a corporate recruiter explained what he and others like him look for in job candidates.

Ken Dahlstrom, who spoke on “What Recruiters Look for in Job Candidates,” is an engineer with General Electric who interviews Marquette students twice each year.

Dahlstrom told students what he, as an employer, expects from a 30-minute interview.

An employer spends more than half of an interview “gathering information” from the candidate, he said, and it is then that the candidate can make a case for himself.

“A good interview is one in which the interviewer talks very little. I don’t think we’ve ever had someone who talked too much,” Dahlstrom said.

Dahlstrom emphasized eight qualities he looks for in a prospective employee – intelligence, maturity, assertiveness, decisiveness, sensitivity, openness, enthusiasm and tough-mindedness.

Candidates can best showcase their qualities “by coming to the interview prepared,” Dahlstrom said.

He suggested the job-seekers get some information about the company interviewing them in advance. Most of the information needed is available at the library, and Dahlstrom said employers are impressed by candidates who come into the interview with some knowledge of the company.

When being interviewed, Dahlstrom said the candidate should also talk about his “school, curriculum, activities and aspirations.” Other then that, he said the person should just relax and try to create a comfortable atmosphere.

“We’re looking for behavior more than facts. We already have the facts (on the resume),” he said.

Another quality most employers look for is mobility. “At this stage of your career, I’d be pretty flexible about where I’d work,” Dahlstrom said.