Keene State College students got the ‘Inside Scoop’ on working during a pandemic.
On October 26, students gathered on Zoom to connect with New Hampshire employers. The event, titled “Inside Scoop: Hear from those who Hire,” was hosted by the New Hampshire College and University Council and allowed students to hear from prominent employers from a range of industries who introduced their organization and shared hiring practices and tips amid the current pandemic. The event also allowed for students to ask questions via the chat feature in Zoom.
The event welcomed students from colleges and universities across the state and hosted organizations like Easterseals, MilliporeSigma, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and Bottomline Technologies.
The employers from each organization took time to discuss how they handled working in a pandemic. MilliporeSigma Consulting Engineer Joe Salvaneschi said he goes to work in-person one or two days per week and he feels very safe.
“They have taken it so seriously and they are very cautious,” Salvaneschi said. “We just had our first confirmed case a week or two ago and they handled it very well with contact tracing and quarantining.”
Easterseals Community Relations Recruiter Jess Carluccio said she has been working at Easterseals for five years and has never experienced anything like the current pandemic, however she said Easterseals is taking it seriously.
“We’re taking the appropriate protocols,” Carluccio said. “We’re wearing masks, distancing and everyone is getting their temperature taken everyday and there are still some employees working from home.”
The employers also discussed the importance of internships and work experience prior to applying for a job. Salvaneschi said MilliporeSigma places a lot of value on internships. He added that they look for what internships or relevant work experience students might have when looking at applications.
Bottomline Technologies Manager of Campus Recruiting Julie Morris said that Bottomline had several interns this year, however some of them could not secure their internships or they lost them altogether because of the pandemic.
“You are not alone, we are all in this together,” Morris said. “Think creatively about this experience and see if there’s something you were able to learn from it.”
Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center Workforce Development Consultant Jessica O’Connor added that the medical center had interns this year who were really helpful in COVID-19 support.
O’Connor said that in times like this, one’s career path is not always clear. “Recognize it as a career trajectory, and there are multiple different career steps,” O’Connor said. “It’s never a straight line.”
At one point during the event, one attendee asked via the chat feature what the employers recommend for athletes who have little time to gain work experience in school.
Colby Sawyer Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach Shannon Sciria replied by saying athletes may be experienced in aspects that others are not as familiar with. Sciria said that as a college basketball player he was able to learn valuable skills and experience valuable to a workplace environment.
“There are important skills you learn as an athlete or when you’re
part of a team,” Sciria said. “You travel a lot, you learn cooperation and communication. Be creative about it on a resume. There’s lots of very creative experience from playing a college sport.”
The employers also offered tips to students about interviews and submitting resumes. Morris said it’s valuable for applicants to show appreciation for the opportunities offered to them.
“The power of a ‘thank you’ goes a long way,” Morris said. “Even if it’s just sending a ‘thank you email’ after an interview.”
Salvaneschi added it’s important for applicants to submit a resume that matches the job description. Salvaneschi also said that it’s important for people to be punctual for the interview. “Be on time, be prepared and be composed,” Salvaneschi said.
Carluccio said that Easterseals has been conducting mostly Zoom interviews. Carluccio, who had a custom background on the zoom call showing the company logo, said students can add a virtual background if they are uncomfortable with their natural background settings
.“Just be aware of your background and background noise,” Carluccio said. “But there’s obviously some things you can’t control. If you have a four-legged friend walk across the computer screen that’s fine. That’s life, we’ll understand.”
O’Connor said that one thing many applicants overlook is asking the interviewer a question during the interview. She said that asking a question sets the interviewee apart from other applicants and shows attentiveness and interest in the company.
O’Connor added that if the interviewee gets the job, then they should have patience and a willingness to work. “Just be ready to help, roll up your sleeves and learn,” O’Connor said.
Hunter Oberst can be contacted at