Employer Perspectives: Lizzie Habermehl, MathWorks

Could you share what your role is at MathWorks, and how your career path brought you here?

I am a College Recruiter for our Engineering Development Group at MathWorks. I work primarily with STEM majors coming into our tech leadership development program from bachelors, masters and PhD programs. I’ve been in this role for over a year and a half, but my career actually began in higher education about 10 years ago. I have worked across a few functions in academia including Undergraduate Admissions, MBA Admissions, and Event Planning. It was a natural transition from a college setting to a campus recruiting role.

What does MathWorks do? 

MathWorks is the leading developer of mathematical computing software for Engineers and Scientists. Our two most well-known products are MATLAB and Simulink, but we have over 100 other products and toolboxes for our customers in over 15 different industries.

How has COVID-19 affected MathWorks/recruitment? Any changes to the hiring process?

MathWorks has proudly continued to hire and onboard our full-time candidates since we began working remotely back in March. We were even able to successfully onboard almost 200 summer interns in our Natick office, which we were really excited about. It was certainly a transition for everyone to work 100% remotely, but we’ve been able to maintain normal business practices and even used some of the unforeseen challenges to improve some of our processes.

Our interview process is also now 100% online. Our virtual interview process ensures high-quality video interaction to keep all parties safe while providing the same valuable insight into our teams, roles, responsibilities, and company culture, as well as each job candidate’s personality and qualifications.

What do you look for in a candidate?

EDG is a technical leadership development program, so we look for candidates to have strong technical skills including proficiency in programming languages, MATLAB/Simulink experience and strong problem solving. MATLAB experience is not a pre-qualification for the role, and we provide product training as part of the EDG training. It’s not just the technical aspect we look for, however. Strong communication and the ability to work well in a team setting are also core competencies for this role.

Do you look for specific majors or are you open to all?

We welcome a diverse range of STEM majors into our EDG program each year. The cohort is primarily made up of Computer Science and Engineering students (Mechanical, Electrical, Computer, Biomedical, Aerospace) but we do also hire Math (or Applied Math) and Physics students. It’s common that Engineering students assume that we only hire Computer Science students and Computer Science students think we only hire Engineering students, but neither is the case because we hire a mix of both! Our Computer Science students contribute with their robust CS skills and our Engineering students bring their strong domain knowledge.

You have participated in quite a few interviews. What is the most common feedback you provide to students during an interview?

If I were to summarize a general point of feedback to students, it would be to sincerely express your interest by connecting why the company/role matters to them. It seems obvious, but the connection to “why” is critically important. Candidates often do their research by checking up on the website for product knowledge or what the company core values are, but often fail to tell me why those things are important to them. That’s a valuable piece that can make a good interview a great interview.

What are some characteristics of a good leader? What are some ways to get involved in leadership opportunities outside of BU?

EDG provides a unique opportunity for recent graduates to assume positions of leadership very soon into their tenure at MathWorks. In some companies, it can be years before you can influence a process, lead a team, or have an impact on a product. Not the case in EDG! Because of this, we certainly do look for characteristics of a good leader in the application and interview process. Demonstrated examples of leadership (Captain of a team, Founder of a student organization) are always great, but expressing interest in becoming a leader within your future organization or team is also helpful to know. For example, you can prepare to share a time when you took initiative, listened and learned from a peer, or took accountability for something. You can also take some time to reflect pre-interview on how you’d personally define a good leader and share how you’ve demonstrated those characteristics. Have you led a diverse team? If so, share more about that. We strive to have diverse perspectives within our teams here at MathWorks and it’s important that our incoming generation of talent be excited about contributing to an inclusive workplace community.

Do you have any tips for virtual interviewing and virtual engagement?

Simply put, treat your virtual engagements with employers as you would if you were in-person. With that being said, we are certainly aware that there are things that may come up when working from home. It’s okay if your dog barks or your doorbell rings but try your best to control what you can, including how you prepare for your interview and how you demonstrate your genuine interest in the role/company. If you’re experiencing issues with technology setup, let the employer know in advance, if possible. Don’t wait until 2 minutes before your interview to test your internet, camera and microphone!

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