Cameron-Brooks Newest Recruiter

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself – my name is Pete Van Epps and I am the newest member of the Cameron-Brooks Team.

A little about me:

I am originally from San Antonio, Texas.  I graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1998, majoring in Systems Engineering.  After graduating from West Point, I branched Field Artillery – my first choice!  I was stationed at Fort Hood, TX and served multiple roles in 1-82 Field Artillery including Fire Support Officer, Battalion Ammunition Officer, Service Battery Executive Officer and Firing Battery Executive Officer.  I also served as the Battalion Adjutant for 5-3 FA (Fort Sill, OK), from where I deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

When exiting the Army, I chose to work with Cameron-Brooks because I knew they would partner with me to facilitate my transition to Corporate America. After attending the January 2003 C-B Career Conference, I accepted a Sales Leading to Management position with Ethicon Products, a Johnson & Johnson medical device company.  I started my career in Dallas, TX as a Sales Representative and was soon promoted to Specialty Sales Representative, then Field Sales Trainer.  I received numerous awards including multiple incentive trips and restricted stock grants.   I was promoted to Sales Training Manager after 3.5 years in my territory, moving to Somerville, New Jersey to work at Ethicon’s Corporate Headquarters.  There I trained both domestic and international sales representatives.  After a year in the training department, I was promoted to Division Manager, managing an 8-person team of sales representatives in the New York City metro area.  After 2 years in this role, I was selected to build and manage a team of representatives in a new market development role in Dallas, TX.

I am proud of my accomplishments in Corporate America and look forward to partnering with Junior Officers in their transitions.  As I consider my transition to Johnson & Johnson 10 years ago, listed below are a couple of keys that helped me have a successful Career Conference.

Be ACTIVE in a Study Group

I realize that at first, it may feel uncomfortable to answer interview questions in a group.  It may seem awkward and perhaps even a little embarrassing.  I would encourage you to overcome all of those feelings as quickly as possible.  The more time you spend verbalizing answers to interview questions, receiving feedback from colleagues and peers, the better you will perform at the Career Conference.  At the conference, we will put you in front of companies for which you are qualified and in which you are interested – it will be your job to communicate your ability and interest to each company recruiter you meet.  Your first interview on Monday morning of the Career Conference should not be the first time you say your answers out loud.  You should be saying them in front of your mirror, to your spouse or significant other and, yes, to your study group weeks and months before the conference.

At the conference, each candidate’s level of preparedness is pretty obvious.  Those who are unprepared typically do not perform well on Monday, but have a better Tuesday after coaching and self-reflection.  At the January 2013 Career Conference, I received feedback from a candidate who admitted his preparation was lacking, but after 6 interviews on Monday, he finally felt prepared to interview.  That is a shame – he essentially threw away 6 potential opportunities because of a lack of preparation.  Invest time in a study group – your investment will pay off.

Consider the types of jobs for which you will interview and practice accordingly

When practicing in your study group, ask your study group partners to take you through mock interviews that are specific to the career fields for which you will be interviewing.  This helps you connect with the types of positions for which you will interview at the Career Conference.  Typical feedback on candidates from recruiters at the conference includes, “John was too general” or “I don’t feel like Sue understood the position.”  If you are interviewing for a sales position, ensure you highlight the times that you influenced someone with whom you did not have any authority, or the times you made an impact with very little direction and supervision.  If you are interviewing for a team leadership role, highlight times when you assumed responsibility of a team and made an immediate impact, or a time when you changed a team member’s behavior, or led a team to achieve a difficult objective.  If you are interviewing for a project management role, focus on the times when you led an important project through difficult circumstances to achieve outstanding results.  Smart interviewing is not just knowing the answers to the 26 Flashcard Questions found in Tab 5, Module 5.4 of the DPP; smart interviewing is specifically connecting your background and experiences with the position for which you are interviewing.

I am extremely grateful to be a part of the Cameron-Brooks Team and look forward to serving you to help you reach your potential and dreams.

Pete Van Epps