Working With Organizations That Recruit at HBS: An Interview with Mary-Kate Johnson
What is your favorite part about working with employers?
I get asked a lot of the same questions throughout the day but what I love most about my job is that, in many cases, the answers will be different. There is not one right answer for every recruiter and how they connect with students on campus depends so much on the specific company needs and culture. My job is less about sharing information on what we offer on campus and more about gathering information to better help companies achieve their goals.
What have you learned in your first 6 months here?
Students and recruiters have the same agenda but many don’t realize it. Students want to: 1) perform well in class 2) conduct endless research and create several excel sheets to determine what the next best step is for their career, and 3) work with people that they are motivated and inspired by. Recruiters want to: 1) perform well at work 2) conduct endless research and create several excel sheets to determine what the next best step is for their company, and 3) work with people that they are motivated and inspired by. My job is to help connect the two.
What advice would you share with recruiters?
Not only do I work at Harvard Business School but my partner is a first year student at HBS. I can tell you from firsthand experience that students have a lot on their plate. They speak with a lot of organizations and meet many recruiters. It's often difficult for students to decide what offer to accept when every option is equally appealing and prestigious. When an organization takes the time to connect with the student one-on-one, have a contact call them to answer their questions, learn more about where they came from, send a hand written note thanking them for attending an event or participating in an interview, this is what sets them apart. I understand not every organization has the capacity to be this involved, but even just one follow up call will go a long way. Remember, students are deciding which next step will bring them towards the future that they’ve always dreamed of. When they can make that decision with a live person on the other end of the line, it makes that next step a lot more inviting.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself.
I spent four months living and studying in Amman, Jordan my junior year of college. Reflecting back on my time in Jordan, I think that my experience there has prepared me for my professional life better than any class could have. When you are standing in a room full of people who don’t speak English and want so desperately to connect with them, you notice how you communicate without speaking, how to be present without actually verbally contributing. To be able to really listen to someone, both verbally and non-verbally, to really hear what they are saying and what they need in return will always be a work in progress, but my time in Jordan has helped me to begin that process and, as a result, forge deeper connections than I ever though imaginable.