Interview Tips for College Students on How to Land a Job at Merkle

Merkle has just wrapped up its fall campus recruiting season, leaving our team knee-deep in applicants and ready to embark on the difficult job of making candidate selections. If you are a college student interested in an internship or full-time entry level opportunity with Merkle, get out your No. 2 pencils, because we’ve got a never-before-shared secret for you on how to set yourself apart from the rest of the class!

If you are interested in joining the Merkle team, it is important to know that the most successful Merkle employees are defined by our seven attributes. Below, our campus recruiting team explains how they identity these attributes in candidates and each recommends an eighth attribute addition ... extra credit for displaying this one!

#1: Smart

Amber: GPA is important. I use this as a quick baseline for how much someone can apply themselves academically and master the material. However, I also look for how a candidate walks me through a difficult problem and describes how they applied critical thought.

Amanda: Smart candidates are able to synthesize information, learn from mistakes, and adapt their approach. I also look for signs that you plan and execute projects in ways that make sense, utilizing your strengths and developing in other areas.

Kristen: You can show you’re smart in a number of ways (major, difficult classes, etc.). But to join Merkle’s team you need to show you’re able to explain a complex problem in simplistic terms. We want to know how you strategize and execute your plans in your schoolwork and internship experience.

#2: Curious

Amber: To me, this is someone who continues to seek answers beyond what is needed. I will be looking for things like, “What did this person do that was outside of her responsibilities?” “What unique questions did she ask or problems did she solve?”

Amanda: Liberal arts majors with coding skills fall into the curious category! I like to ask how and why you’ve developed the skills that you possess. Curious candidates are often self-taught and resourceful.

Kristen: If you want to show you’re curious first, ask good questions. (Asking a question just to ask a question is usually pretty obvious.) Second, show on your resume or in your interview how you have a desire to learn more. How do you challenge the status quo? Curiosity may have killed the cat, but at Merkle we welcome it.

#3: Committed to Vision

Amber: When it comes to having an internship, I like to see a candidate immerse themselves in the company’s culture and be proud of the work they did with the company. I also like when a candidate has been part of a student organization or nonprofit organization for two or more years, and not just one semester. This shows loyalty and commitment.

Amanda: Be sure to explain your interest in Merkle and the kind of work we do, whether it’s digital media, tech, analytics, or creative. As we talk through the resume, I’ll look for the ability to commit to team or global goals in projects and internships and for candidates who continue to work on projects after the semester or internship is over.

Kristen: Being committed to vision is really about understanding the role you play in Merkle’s success. Talking about the importance of doing a great job and the impact you have made during your college experience is a great starting point for showing your potential to be committed to Merkle’s vision.

#4: Sense of Urgency

Amber: In other words, seize the day! How does this candidate keep busy? How does he or she perform in organized chaos? What does he or she accomplish with little resources or time? In an agency like Merkle, you will get pulled in all sorts of directions. I look for candidates who not only cope in that type of unpredictable environment, but thrive in it.

Amanda: Show us how you are proactive and don’t wait to be given direction. On the job, you have to use your judgment and often don’t have a lot of time to prepare for challenging questions. Show us when you’ve had to start something from scratch with a short timeline, and how you interact with a team when the pressure is on.

Kristen: Having a sense of urgency means you are proactively seeking out what you need to know to get the job done. I want to see how you have been successful in a fast-paced, high-energy environment, either in your classwork or in the workforce. Show me your “go getter” attitude and prove you will go above and beyond to exceed client expectations.

#5: Achiever

Amber: This type of candidate goes above and beyond what is asked. She created something from scratch, proposed a new solution that was implemented, or gladly took on extra responsibilities. She is seen as a leader and takes matters into her own hands!

Amanda: When a candidate is a high achiever, there are hints of it in every part of the resume. If a candidate takes on more responsibility than their peers, gets hand-picked for special class or internship assignments, or provides visionary leadership to a campus club, those are all signs that they’re an achiever. The achiever actively seeks opportunities to make their mark and contribute something unique to every project.

Kristen: Achievement is your success story. Look at your resume and identify areas of achievement in your class work, internships, and extra-curricular activities. Then, make sure that story is being told in your resume. As you build your resume and prepare for your interview ask yourself this question: “How am I proving my track record of success?”

#6: Passionate

Amber: I believe that candidates who have clear goals and defined career paths are the most passionate. They aren’t concerned with giving a broad answer to impress all interviewers; they have a vision for what they want out of their career, and aren’t afraid to be specific about it, even if it limits their options.

Amanda: Passionate candidates are driven by something intrinsic, and pour themselves into projects, campus groups, and internships. This kind of candidate is driven to add lasting value, leaving organizations or projects better than when they found them, rather than doing their part and moving on to the next thing.

Kristen: Merkle values people who have a desire to serve, desire to learn, and a desire to achieve. Don’t be afraid to tell us about your passion. What makes you get out of bed every morning? How will you use that passion in your work?

#7: Fun and Pleasant

Amber: I understand that interviews can be stressful, but I look for candidates who are natural conversationalists and make it a fun exchange, rather than a calculated test. When students open up and make the process fun, I know they will be someone the team will enjoy working with.

Amanda: It’s natural to be nervous on an interview, but try to relax — we want to get a glimpse at your personality! Show me how you’ve gone out of your way to create a positive team experience in the past.

Kristen: This is an important one for me. We all want fun and pleasant co-workers because in reality who wants to work with a jerk? (Not me!) Interviews (on the phone and in person) can be stressful. Most of the time that stress and anxiety can be felt by your interviewer. Sometimes the most fun and pleasant people come across as uptight because they let their nerves get the best of them. As you begin the interview process, try your best to relax and be yourself and we will do our best in making you feel comfortable.

Extra Credit! Show these extra attributes to impress our team.

Amber: Flexibility

Amanda: Resilience

Kristen: Service-Oriented

We hope this helps you ace your interview and land your dream job at Merkle!

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