The Art and Science of Interviewing

Once the coronavirus pandemic is past us, many of us will be interviewing for new jobs. Having worked in human resources and interviewed applicants for over forty years, I believe that interviewing is both an art and a science.

It is an art because it allows the candidate to rely on past experiences which are unique to each individual. One’s past experiences in school and/or the workplace are the subject of examination by the interviewer.

I had the good fortune to attend a week-long workshop on interviewing facilitated by DDI, Development Dimensions International, out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The skills taught have lasted a lifetime.

In this two-part segment on interviewing, we will focus on actions to help you prior to the interview. In our next article (May 13th edition of Discover Muscatine), we will address issues during and after the interview.

Let’s say you have found the perfect position for you. The employer requires a resume. There are a number of different formats for a resume. Business or professional are recommended. No more than two pages. No exceptions to this suggestion.

First, after preparing the resume, check for misspelled words. Next, check for grammar issues. Experienced human resources folks can find a misspelled word in seconds. After you have meticulously prepared and reviewed your resume, have a trusted individual review it with a critical eye. I have reviewed resumes for many an individual and found issues that needed correction.

When you include an email address, make sure your email address, Skype address, and any other personal data, is not inappropriate. Please remember you are competing against a number of individuals who are also interested in the position you desire.

Stress accomplishments and be specific with percentages, dollars saved, and number of accolades from customers. An example there would be, “Received Customer Service Representative of the Year Award in 2018 for efforts with a large customer.”

Ensure your resume does not contain irrelevant information. Your most recent position should be listed first. Then, second most recent position next, and follow that format for the last ten years. Positions held prior to that can be skipped in today’s world.

I find it interesting that the use of personal pronouns has both proponents and detractors. My suggestion to you is to use what you find comfortable.

Keep references off your resume. If the employer wants references, they’ll ask. Just make sure you have already contacted three who would be willing, and have the names and contact information readily available. Keep them on a note card or disk. If the employer asks for references and you have already thought to have it available, the employer will see you can anticipate and respond to issues.

One needs to be truthful on the resume. A human resource person may have a large network and be able to check your resume for accuracy. More to follow in the next article.

I now have an email address and can be reached at [email protected]. Don’t forget those recipes for our cookbook.