Episode #219 – Your Animal Health or Veterinary Interview, Part 4: Preparation Prevents Poor Performance

The Vet Recruiter®
The Vet Recruiter®
Episode #219 - Your Animal Health or Veterinary Interview, Part 4: Preparation Prevents Poor Performance
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Julea: Welcome to “The Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, Animal Health executive recruiter and Veterinary recruiter Stacy Pursell of The VET Recruiter provides insight and practical advice for both employers and job seekers in the Animal Health and Veterinary industries. The VET Recruiter solves talent-centric problems for the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. The VET Recruiter’s mission is to help Animal Health and Veterinary companies hire top talent, while helping Animal Health and Veterinary professionals attain career-enhancing opportunities that increase their quality of life.

Today, we will be continuing our series focusing on the interview stage of the hiring process for job seekers and professionals in the employment marketplace.

Hello, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.

Stacy: Hello, Julea. As always, I’m glad to be here with you.

Julea: Stacy, this is our fourth week discussing the interview stage of the hiring process. What will we be addressing specifically this week?

Stacy:  Julea, today we have arrived at one of the parts of the interview about which I am passionate, and that is preparation.

Julea: Yes, judging by the title of today’s podcast episode, I’m guessing that you believe in the value of preparation.

Stacy: Yes, I do! There are many reasons for this, and they all stem from the fact that, as the title of today’s podcast episode states, preparation prevents poor performance. But there is a lot wrapped up in that. First of all, if you perform poorly, that can have a negative impact both on your job interview and also on your personal brand overall. Essentially, not only will the hiring manager likely not hire you because of your poor performance, but they will also remember your poor performance for future reference.

Then there is the issue of confidence, or more specifically, a lack of confidence. That’s because a poor performance during a job interview can have a negative impact on your confidence or your self-confidence. And if you don’t have confidence for your next interview, then the chances increase that you will perform poorly during that interview, too. You can see how this can “snowball” and you can find yourself in what is called a “negative feedback loop.” When that happens, it’s difficult to break the loop or the cycle and move in a positive direction.

Julea: Wow, I can see how important preparation is. Stacy, have you found that some job seekers and candidates are not prepared for their interview?

Stacy: Yes, this has happened many times over the years, and unfortunately, it still happens. When I’m working with a candidate and I do my best to prepare them for an interview, they sometimes do not do any preparation themselves and it shows. There have been instances in which a candidate has believed that they performed well during an interview, but when I talk with my client, the hiring manager tells me that the candidate did not seem prepared. As a result, they were not impressed and no longer considered the candidate for the position.

Julea: So, the candidates in question had no idea that they performed poorly during the interview?

Stacy: Right, they had no idea, and it was up to me to break the news to them that they did not perform well, and they were not going to receive an offer of employment.

Julea: Now that we’ve set the stage, how would you like to proceed in terms of preparation?

Stacy: There are two main types of preparation for an interview. There is the physical preparation involved and the mental preparation. Sometimes, these two are separate, but there are times when they’re intertwined. But today, I primarily want to address the physical preparation involved in a face-to-face or in-person interview.

Julea: Stacy, when you say face-to-face and in-person interview, is there a distinction between the two?

Stacy: Yes, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a distinction between the two, and I want to reiterate that distinction. An Animal Health or Veterinary employer might conduct virtual or video interviews, they might conduct in-person interviews that occur on the organization’s premises, or they might conduct both. At this stage of the pandemic, any and all of these options are a possibility, so professionals must be ready for anything during their job search and during the hiring process.

Julea: So, I imagine prior to preparation, it would be a good idea for a candidate to know what type of interview they’ll be participating in.

Stacy: Yes, that’s important. However, if you’re being considered for a position and you’re in an organization’s hiring process, that organization should let you know what to expect in terms of the interview. In fact, they should have detailed information about whether or not you’ll be involved in a virtual interview or an in-person interview and all of the details associated with it.

Julea: Stacy, which would you like to discuss first, the virtual interview or the in-person interview?

Stacy: I’d like to address best practices for the virtual or video interview, and then I’ll move on to the in-person or on-site interview.

First, when it comes to the virtual interview, you must know which interviewing platform the employer plans to use and run tests with that platform.

Second, choose an appropriate space and setting for the interview, preferably one that is away from noise or other distractions. Have a professional backdrop, for example.

Third, not only should you test the software that you’ll be using for the interview, but you can also practice with a friend or colleague. Have the other person ask you questions. You can conduct a mock interview this way.

Fourth, dress in a professional way. Even though this is a virtual interview, you still want to dress professionally. In fact, I would recommend dressing the same way that you would dress for an in-person interview.

If you’re a man, make sure to get a haircut and trim your beard and/or your mustache if you have them. If you’re a woman, keep in mind that customs regarding dresses have changed during the past several years and can vary from employer to employer. So, ask the person responsible for setting up the interview about recommended attire.

Julea: I imagine that there’s more involved with an in-person interview, is that right?

Stacy: Yes, but there are many aspects that do overlap with a virtual interview, and as I review them, I’m sure that our listening audience will be able to figure out which aspects those are.

Since we’re talking about an in-person interview, obviously you will have to know where the employer’s location is. You certainly do not want to be late for the interview, so it’s important to have directions to your destination, and if you have a smartphone, you can plug those directions into your phone. In fact, if you will be driving to your interview, then it’s a good idea to do a “dry run” and drive to the location on a day beforehand, perhaps on the weekend. You can time yourself in terms of how long it will take to get there.

Of course, if you’re flying to the interview, then there is more involved. However, you still want to plug the directions into your phone, even if you take a cab or an Uber from your hotel to get to your destination. In fact, if you are flying to another city for your interview, you might want to conduct more research, do more planning, and be even more prepared so that you can perform well and be successful.

Julea: It seems as though an in-person interview has more involved in terms of planning than a virtual or video interview does.

Stay: Yes, that it is the case. An in-person interview deals with more developments and more details, and because of that, it also requires more planning.

In addition to directions, you must also have the name and the contact information of the person whom you’re supposed to meet for the interview. This way, you can provide this person’s name to whoever you meet when you first arrive on site.

Julea: Stacy, what should a professional bring with them to a job interview, or carry with them?

Stacy: That is a great question, and it involves the physical preparation associated with an interview. Below are the things that I recommend a person bring with them:

  • A notepad
  • Two pens, not one. Black or blue ink is the best pen color in this situation.
  • Multiple copies of your resume, anywhere from three to five copies
  • A list of your complete references and letters of recommendation
  • Copies of your last two performance reviews, if that’s possible for you to bring
  • Breath mints: although you should already have fresh breath, it never hurts to take some mints with you.
  • A list of questions that you intend to ask, and we’ll address questions in a more in-depth fashion in a future podcast episode in this series.
  • Information about the employer, which you can review again while waiting for the interview to start.

Julea: Stacy, I know that you briefly discussed how to dress for a virtual interview. Do you have any additional tips for an in-person interview?

Stacy: Yes, I do! If you’re a man, make sure that your shoes are polished. While a hiring manager may not see your shoes during a virtual interview, they’re likely to see them during an in-person interview.

Also, and this is for both men and women, do not wear heavy makeup, jewelry, cologne, or perfume. You want to smell nice for the interview, but you certainly do not want to overpower the people who are conducting it. You want them to be thinking about the value that you can bring to the organization, not about the fact that you’re wearing too much cologne or perfume.

Julea: That all makes sense! Do you have any other tips or best practices in terms of preparation for the in-person interview?

Stacy: Yes. I have some additional tips for the in-person interview. These may seem like small things, but they can make a big difference. First, it doesn’t matter if you’re male or female, limit yourself to just one hand-held item. And it doesn’t matter if you’re right-handed or left-handed, carry that item in your left hand so that you’ll be ready to shake hands with your right hand.

Second, the best way to carry your information is in a thin folder or portfolio that holds a legal pad, cards, resumes, pens, references, and anything else that you think is important.  Know where everything is located in your portfolio beforehand, so you can find it quickly.

Julea: This is a pretty comprehensive list! Is there anything else that our listeners should be aware of?

Stacy: Yes, one more thing. It’s a good idea to compile a list of the things that we’ve discussed today, print it out, and use it to prepare for your interview. For example, you can assemble the items that I’ve talked about and then cross the items off your list once you’ve assembled them. After all, it’s nearly impossible to prepare too much, especially when it comes to a job interview and your Animal Health or Veterinary career.

There are two main reasons why a person performs well and succeeds during an interview. First, they prepare to succeed, and second, they execute their part in the interview properly based upon the preparation they’ve done beforehand. While it’s true that it requires a certain amount of time, energy, and effort to prepare well for a job interview, remember that it’s an investment that you’re making in your career. If it’s done correctly, it’s an investment that can pay big dividends.

Julea: Stacy, thank you for all of this great information. Stacy there are some other good resources on The VET Recruiter website that our listeners can check out as well.

Stacy: Yes, that’s right. There is a section devoted to candidates on our website, and in that section under “Career Resources,” there are interview tips for job seekers and professionals. These tips include questions to ask during the interview, how to answer certain questions, dos, and don’ts to help make your interview successful, how to navigate the behavioral-based interview, and how to close the interview.

And of course, if you visit the website, you can also submit your resume and fill out a profile, so that you’re considered for new job openings when they arise.

Julea: Once again, the website address for The VET Recruiter is www.thevetrecruiter.com. Stacy, as always, thank you for joining us today.

Stacy: It’s been my pleasure Julea, and I look forward to our next episode, of The Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider which will be the next episode in our series about the interview stage of the hiring process!