Wednesday, January 19, 2011

An Interview Case Study:More techniques that work.

This interview was conducted with Bob Tarver, a Sr HR Professional with experience in all aspects of HR to include national employment laws; proven ability to ensure compliance with all regulatory bodies, including OSHA. Bob has worked to reduce expenses by reducing worker's compensation claims and avoiding fines. Bob also has experience in managing full lifecycle recruiting efforts.

Bob may be contacted at: LinkedIn Robert Tarver Twitter @Btarver or email

Bob demonstrates how he prepared his "interview blueprint" and how this aided him.

1) Bob how did you use your network to secure your exploratory interview?

I have been active on several social media sites: Facebook, Twitter,
Plaxo, Zoominfo, HRM Today and LinkedIn. For this interview, I developed my contact via user groups on LinkedIn. I had participated in answering a question from member whom I was not connected with. The question was: How to find candidates in tough locations and what methods could be used? I provided my opinion on what could be done. Later, I had remembered that I had several colleagues that lived in the areas that the company in question was looking to break into and I wrote an email suggesting that we should connect on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. I also made several suggestions as to what other HR and Social media pros they should connect with on those sites. Then I stated looking at the companies’ job site where my connection worked and applied for them and let my connection know via e mail.

2) What interviewing techniques did you use?

One idea was to show connection/employer is that I could be a problem solver and not just another job seeker. In addition, I looked for several blog articles on interviewing and tough interview questions to answer. By reading the articles plus reviewing my resume matching up my accomplishments to the answers given.

3) How did I put your interview blueprint together for the interview?

I consulted my network of fellow HR professionals and Recruiters. First, I went to the corporate website of the company I was to interview with. Conducting research about any company that you want to work is very important. Show them in the interview that you understand what the company is about, understand their culture, their history and that you are not just looking for a paycheck, you are looking to make a difference/impact. The next step was to have a practice interview with a Recruiter. This is the best way to really prep for an interview. Who else would have insights into what another recruiter would ask, think, etc. For this I asked David Graziano for help. He had already seen my resume before and we spent close to 1 ½ hours discussing the job description, how my experience would fit and what potential issues that could arise and how to address them. We also discussed the usual questions that are asked and how to answer them without it sounding like the answer was a “canned” response. In addition, I spoke to my contact to get further insights about the culture and to learn more about the recruiter who was to conduct the interview.

4) Bob, what worked, what didn’t work, what did you learn from your experience and how will you use it in your next interview?

I felt my opening response to the question “Tell me about yourself?” went well. I stated “I am a seasoned HR professional, strong in performing generalist functions to include implementing programs that have contributed to saving money for past employers. I’d like to discuss how I might be able to do the same for your organization.” I felt comfortable in answering the questions that were asked of me. The main concept was that I understood it was an information/exploratory interview, not the actual interview that one would associate with open positions.

What didn’t work…what was missing was a lack of specific industry experience; the interviewer felt I did not have the necessary strategic experience they were looking for in the position (HR Generalist/business partner).

What I learned: 1) Good preparation is the key for any interview, 2) make sure you do your research on a company that you want to work for now or in the future. 3) Make good use of your network to discuss your interview techniques, to get insights on how other interviewers think, if they know the interviewer. I’ll be using everything I learned from this interview in future interviews and having more confidence at being comfortable in the interviewing process.

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