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As businesses open back up, it's important to get ready for that all-important interview. Check out a snippet of HCC's latest podcast on interviewing do's and don'ts. Q: What should candidates know about basic etiquette when interviewing on Zoom? A: My best advice when doing a Zoom interview is to practice connecting before the interview. It just gives you a little bit of practice in advance so that it's a smooth interview and there aren't any issues. I think also joining early is helpful. Most employers, I think, at least we do, we have Zoom set up so we have a waiting room and when we're ready for the candidate to join us, then we bring them in. And if they join early, then it does give them a chance to troubleshoot any problems that may arise the day of. So, I highly recommend joining early. I would also do your absolute best to eliminate any background noise or any distractions, which can be difficult. I think employers really expect that there may be some of that. But I would do your level best to try to find a space where you can really hone in on that interview, and pay attention specifically to what the employer is asking. It just makes it a little bit smoother. Q: Of course, we are just starting the process of moving into a post-pandemic phase, how should candidates handle the whole masking issue when interviewing in-person? A: I think generally use the rule of thumb to always be prepared. I take a mask with me everywhere I go. And, that way I know I can survey the room, figure out what the rules are, and just be prepared for any situation. I know that I am vaccinated. Usually I divulge that information, so it really is to their level of comfort. Generally, if they are coming into the room, if they are masked, I ask them if they would feel more comfortable with me being masked, as well, and so I always have my mask available. I think right now, we're in uncharted territory a little bit, and until we all have it all figured out, it's just best to keep your mask with you. That is also something that a candidate should ask. Q: With the years that you have under your belt interviewing candidates and being on the hiring end of things, what are some common interview mistakes that you have seen? A: It usually is a preparation issue. It usually is that they are taken aback or unprepared for a question that I may ask. Maybe they're not dressed appropriately. One of the worst things you can do in an interview with me is to be late. I think the other thing is that sometimes people divulge information that I really don't need to know, so kind of the over-share in being nervous. Google is a wonderful thing. You can Google standard interview questions and get some idea of what to be prepared for, and that really can help ease your anxiety or nervousness about interviewing. I really highly recommend people practicing. I don't mind catching people off guard sometimes. I really don't mind people taking strategic pauses to think about a question before they answer it. I do think that not being able to answer a question in some ways kind of shows that you're not on top of your game, that you haven't prepared, and so I think those are really the highlights. Q: What are some ways that candidates can compensate for lulls in their resume during the pandemic? From your vantage point, what would look attractive to a prospective employer? A: I do prefer that resumes be very simple, straightforward. I don't need a narrative. I prefer not to have paragraph form narrative. I really like them to be around one page. I love it when they are tailored specific to my jobs, to even the job that we posted. So, even if there are gaps in employment, it's okay. They can explain that in their resume, chances are I'm going to pick up on that and I'm going to ask. So, if there are some lulls in employment, I think it's okay to leave them off and then to describe them in the interview process. One of the first questions I ask, always, is tell me a little bit about yourself and your professional experience, and that can give you an open door to say, "Well, I've done billing and coding for years and years. During the pandemic, unfortunately, I was laid off. I loved the company where I was before, but they have had budget crunches due to the pandemic." I will also respect honesty in an answer, and I think that's really the best way to approach it. Now, if you have done something really innovative during your time in the pandemic, if you have worked from home, I love knowing that you can work independently. I think, also, if you have done something innovative, like start your own business, I definitely want to know that. Even if it is staying at home to be the primary parent and teacher for your kids during the pandemic, even saying something like that is totally acceptable. Q: From your vantage point, what's the protocol for asking a candidate if he or she has been vaccinated? A: So, generally I don't ask. However, I generally divulge that I have been vaccinated. It's something that comes up in the mask wearing conversation and so usually people feel comfortable conversationally saying, "Well, I haven't been vaccinated", and then I usually bring up that we offer vaccinations through our organization. If I did not work in a healthcare company, I would probably say, "Well, I know of locations where you can get vaccinated if you're interested," and then give them the information. Q: How important is the cover letter and what should that communicate in a nutshell? A: I think that cover letters are becoming a little old- fashioned. I don't see them as often. Some places require them. I like cover letters fine, but my one sticking point with cover letters is they should bring something to the table that is not in your resume. I don't want you to regurgitate your resume in paragraph form. I'd use the cover letter as a strategic way to highlight other things about me. Maybe it is something that tells a story. Maybe it is about a personal experience I have had related to my job. Maybe it is about a volunteer experience that really got me motivated to work in a certain sector. Brook Balentine Chief Administrative Officer PAGE 08 June Issue 2021 PAGE 10 June Issue 2021 PAGE 07 June Issue 2021

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