JCU Hosted Alumna Sara Lacchei, HR Assistant/Recruiter at the US Embassy of Rome

On Friday, March 11, John Cabot University hosted alumna Sara Lacchei, HR Assistant/Recruiter at the US Embassy of Rome. The talk took place in the context of Professor Antonella Salvatore’s course “Professional Skills for Career Development.” Lacchei, who graduated from JCU in 2000 with a B.A. in International Affairs, shared some important pieces of advice with students to help them successfully apply for jobs and prepare for interviews.

Lacchei explained that she started her experience at the US embassy 20 years ago when she obtained an internship after attending a career fair at JCU. Through her experience, Lacchei learned that internships are very important for students, not only because they are a first step into the professional world but also because they are the occasion to understand what you like.

Her first suggestion for students was to follow their passions, but remain flexible. Sometimes, what may look like a non-ideal job may turn out to be a good opportunity for the future.

The first step in applying for an internship or job is to read the job description carefully because it contains all the necessary information to understand if the position is a good fit for. Then, if you fulfill all the requirements listed, you should be able to communicate to the hiring manager in an effective manner by tailoring your application for that specific. According to Lacchei, one of the most important soft skills she usually seeks in a candidate is precision. She said that she can tell from an application if a candidate is detail-oriented or not. She said students should pay close attention when they fill out application forms or when they write resumes and cover letters, in order to avoid mistakes and communicate in a straightforward way.

During interviews, it is also important to be focused and answer the recruiter’s questions accurately. Lacchei encouraged students to brainstorm about their strengths and be prepared to explain them during the interview through concrete examples, avoiding generalizations. She also said that when a recruiter asks you if you have questions at the end of an interview, you should always be prepared. Having relevant questions shows curiosity and the recruiter’s answer will help you understand if that position is really what you expected.

Lacchei explained that the interview is not only the moment when HR representatives evaluate if you have the necessary skills for the job, but it is also an occasion for candidates to have a conversation about the organization. An interview should not be viewed as one-sided, since it is also your chance to decide if the company and the job are aligned with your goals, skills, and values. A good interview will be conducted in a manner that allows both the interviewer and the candidate to express their thoughts and create a mutual understanding of one another. Completing these steps will ensure a smooth and enjoyable hiring process for both the interviewee and the HR manager.

(Giorgia Tamburi)