|Ain't No Personnel Jockey
By Cecilia Brennan
I've been in the Human Resources field for about twelve
years. My areas of specialty are Employee Relations and Recruitment.
Since the birth of my daughter (five years ago), I've been taking on part-time, temporary
recruitment assignments at a variety of organizations. I've hired people in financial
services, retail, publishing/information services and medical device manufacturing, so
I've encountered all types at all levels.
Naturally, being a trained Human Resources professional, it doesn't matter to me whether
candidates are male, female, orange or purple - -as long as they are qualified to
do the job and can prove to me that they can do the job.
Of course, some candidates have the "knack" of interviewing and can do it well.
My philosophy is be yourself, and tell the truth. If you are a woman,
and competing with a lot of men for a job, you may feel that you must be more aggressive.
Again, my view is that you should be yourself.
Part of what an interviewer looks for in a candidate is how a candidate will
"fit" into the organization. As a candidate, do your philosophies match those of
management? Do you agree with the company's mission? Will you get along with the other
members of the department? If you "act" a certain way in the interview, you may
not give the interviewer the right impression. I don't know how many times a hiring
manager has come to me after we've hired someone and said "This isn't the same person
that I interviewed." You need to show the interviewer if and how
you can do the job. You can read Nick's book to learn how to do that. Concentrate on
conveying your qualifications, not your gender.
Unfortunately, many hiring managers are not formally trained in interviewing techniques.
You may still encounter managers who will ask if you have childcare arrangements, whether
you will be having a baby any time soon, or what your husband does for a living. Often the
candidate is so flabbergasted by this line of questioning that the candidate is tricked
into answering them.
Don't! The answers to these questions have no bearing on whether you are qualified
for the job, or if you can do the job. I recommend that you respectfully ask the
interviewer if he or she will clarify how the answers to those questions will prove that
you can do the job. After all, if these answers are a factor in the hiring decision, you
don't want to work there anyway.
I'd like to share with you my own experiences when I've been job-hunting. In five years as
a consultant, I've always found my own jobs for myself without the help of headhunters. I
have always started a new job immediately after the last. I've never been "on the
beach," waiting for something to come along. In fact, I have even had to overlap my
assignments. [Bear in mind that Cecilia works as a contractor, not a permanent employee.
How do I always have a "next job" waiting in such a tough job market? I never
forget a face, and I keep in contact with almost every person I've worked with in the
past. Some people call this networking, I just call it good business.
I never stop networking. I got my last assignment while walking the hospital halls in
labor with my second child. I saw a woman who looked familiar to me. It turns out I rode
the train with her. She was pregnant, too. We got to talking in the hospital halls,
between contractions of course, and it turned out that she, too, was in Human Resources.
We went to the same college and lived around the corner from one another. Weird!! Anyway,
we kept in touch, and about a year later she called me with a recruiting assignment that
has been very rewarding and long lasting. The moral of this crazy story is: Don't be shy,
and never forget a face.
Feel free to drop me a note at ckBrennan@yahoo.com
if I can be of any help.
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