If you could pick the brain of a Human Resources (HR) Hiring Recruiter, what would you ask? Whatever your questions may be, it’s no surprise gaining a better understanding of HR and the hiring process will give you a competitive edge during your job search. Separate yourself from the competition by reviewing the functional role of HR recruiters and how to be your own advocate during the hiring process — including how to reach out after an interview.
Getting to Know Human Resources
First, it’s important to understand the goal of an HR department. HR is essential to attracting the right talent with the right skills, at the right time. They are a team put in place to attract, develop, and motivate employees to remain competitive in their industry. HR is not there to shortchange or discourage employees from being the best they can be. Human Resources is who will contact you about a submitted application and talk to you briefly before setting up an interview. This is their way of pre-screening applicants before they are invited to interview.
Tip: Learn more job search techniques by watching the 8-part webinar series Take Your Job Search to the X-Level, presented by General Electric Credit Union in partnership with the Xavier Leadership Center.
Through interviews, HR is getting to you know you and working to figure out who you are as an individual and what you will bring to the table if hired. Here are a couple things HR is looking for during a conversation:
- You have researched the company. This shows genuine interest in the company and the position you applied for. Prepare information such as:
- Company statistics, number of employees, business or industry information, or the subject of recent press releases.
- You understand the role. HR is looking to see that you have reviewed the job description and can tell why you are a fit for the role.
- You are a safe bet. Through conversation, the recruiter is gauging whether you are confident and enthusiastic about the position.
Being Your Own Advocate
Just as the company wants to make sure you are a good fit for them, you should also determine whether they are a good fit for you. To do so, there are a variety of questions you can ask during the interview.
1. What Is the Company or Department Culture Like?
Many companies like to claim that their office is “like a family,” but it’s important to get details about how they work to create this environment. Does the company make an effort to recognize employees? Do they schedule fun outings so you can converse with co-workers outside of work? Getting more information about the company culture will help you determine if you would feel valued and at home in the environment.
2. Can you Explain Your Learning and Development Program?
It’s important to keep your professional development in mind when accepting a role. You don’t want to take a job where you remain stagnant. To avoid this, ask the interviewer about any learning and development they offer to employees. The best companies have programs or processes in place to expand their employees’ knowledge whether they are a new hire or someone that’s been there for decades. A gardener still has to water a mature plant — so ensure your potential employer is capable of contributing to your growth.
3. What Differentiates You From Your Competitors?
This question gives the interviewer an opportunity to wow you. They may share specifics about their benefits package, paid time off, or specifics about why their products or services are superior.
4. What Is Your Company’s Overall Growth Plan for the Next 3-5 Years?
You want to ensure the company you’re working for is stable and thriving, as this affects job stability. Seek a company that has been consistently growing and has plans to continue doing so. Whether it’s plans to open a new office location or hire on additional team members, specific details will paint a picture of what you can expect during your tenure there.
5. How Does the Position Contribute to the Organization’s Success?
A good employer recognizes every employee plays a vital role in the success of the company, no matter if the job is entry level or an executive position. The interviewer’s answer to this question will help you understand what your role will be, and how you can make an impact. They may expand on what success looks like for the position, such as specific key performance indicators (KPIs).
6. Why Did You Join the Company?
It’s helpful to ask the interviewer what initially attracted them to the company, and how the company has changed since they started. They may highlight perks you were not aware of. Plus, you may even get more information about the person’s background. If their first job with the company was entry level and they worked their way up to a C-level position, this may indicate the company values hiring internally. You want to belong to an organization who recognizes their employees’ strengths and helps them clear a path for advancement within the company.
After the interview, it is important to establish interest through the following steps:
- Send a thank you note or email. This small gesture is proper etiquette. Follow-up within one week of the interview.
- In your follow-up note or email, express gratitude for their time and reiterate your interest in the position.
Discuss hiring timeframes. Ask when you should expect to hear next steps. This provides a better idea of where the company is in the hiring process.
If you didn’t get the job despite what you thought was a stellar interview, you may be scratching your head in confusion. There are many reasons you may not have gotten the job, and some of them aren’t even tied to your experience:
- You’re overqualified.
- You’re underqualified.
- You’re focused on too many positions.
- Your resume is sloppy.
- You can’t explain why you were fired.
Recruiters may shy away from those who are overqualified as they worry the position will bore the applicant and have concerns it may only be temporary. Companies are investing in their employees and want to hire people who will stick around and who genuinely enjoy their day-to-day work. Being underqualified speaks for itself – employers want candidates who have the background and experience in order to perform efficiently. Focusing on too many positions during the job search leads employers to believe you just want to get a job – any job –until you find the position you’re best suited for. Again, this goes back to worrying about temporary tenure.
Sloppy resumes are another big turn off for recruiters. Take the time to spell check your resume and confirm it reads well. You can even enlist an online review service if you’re unsure where to start. Lastly, make sure you’re able to explain why you were fired from a previous position. It is difficult to instill trust if you are unable to do so. Brainstorm the best way to frame the situation, but make sure you are honest about the circumstances.
Continue brushing up on your knowledge of Human Resources and learn more job search tips by visiting GECU’s Xavier Learning Center: Webinar Series page to view the webinar, Getting Ready to Talk to Human Resources. GECU is growing and looking for great people to join our team. Visit our employment opportunities page to review our open positions.