The Interview: Why it’s About More Than Just a Good Resume

By Kim Bassett

I interview people all the time. It comes with the job. Over the years I’ve learned to look at more than just credentials and what’s on a CV. Other qualities make a person a good candidate. What makes one person a perfect fit for a job with Xyz Company, may not work for our organization. This is true for any organization. I look at total fit. Where the person has been. Where they want to go. It wouldn’t do either of us any favors if I hired based solely on what a person’s resume said. In a year’s time the hire would be looking for another job and I’d be likewise looking for their replacement.  You can’t determine whether someone will compliment the team from a CV.   A new employee needs to have goals, values and ideals that will match those of the organization. 

Have a customer service outlook.

My interviews focus on customer service and ease of conversation. In a hospital, you have to be able to listen and have a conversation with all of our customers—patients, families, physicians and everyone else that walk through our doors.  Excellence in customer service is an absolute necessity. I have found some of the best employees while out at dinner or an event and interacting with someone that gave me great customer service.  Healthcare is very challenging.  Our patients are not usually in the best of moods so empathy and awareness of others’ needs and customer service is a requirement.   

Make it a conversation.

If an interview feels like an interrogation or is entirely one-sided, that’s not good. Make it a conversation. I intentionally hold interviews in a neutral setting (not from behind my desk) to put the person at ease. Don’t make me work for the interview by waiting for me to ask all the questions.  While I may ask questions, the interviewee should be open and transparent enough to tell their story, making it a reciprocal conversation. 

Fill in the gaps.

If the person interviewing has career gaps, periods of time not accounted for on their resume, they need to be prepared to explain. Offer the explanation before I ask.  It’s easy to see through a person who has something to hide. It’s better to be open and transparent, even if the reason behind the career gap is not great. I’d be more likely to hire someone who has been forthcoming than a person who declined an explanation.

Be positive.

While it’s important to be truthful during the interview, try to find positive things to say about even the worst career experiences. Nothing turns me off quicker than a candidate bad-mouthing their former boss (even if it’s the truth). It automatically makes me think they might say negative things about my organization or even me in a future situation. Negativity never pays off in a job interview situation.

Make eye contact.

Eye contact is a must during an interview or any conversation. In the United States, consistent eye contact evokes confidence and trust between those engaged in conversation. Lack of eye contact can lead to a feeling a distrust. It sends nonverbal communication signals to me that you may be hiding something or are simply disinterested in the entire process.

Do your homework.

Research the organization before coming to the interview. This will not only show that you are truly interested in the position, but give you more to talk about and connect with me as an individual. This connection could be the difference needed when it comes decision time. It also creates more conversation points and material to fall back on should there be a lull.

Make connections. Be human.

Be open about your life. Talk about your family if you are comfortable doing so.  Mention hobbies or other areas of life that are of interest to you. Not only does this give me a glimpse at who you are as a person, but chances are high we will have something in common and we can make a connection on a personal, yet still professional, level.

Be sure to leave the interview on a positive note. Pay attention to the natural end to the interview and take your cue to exit. Before leaving be sure you know next steps in the job hiring process. Ask about timeline and the decision-making process. And perhaps most importantly, say thank you. 

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