Blog Entries

Preparing for an Interview – Researching a Company

 Congratulations! You’ve made the first step towards obtaining a new position! Preparing for an interview can be daunting, but we have a few blog posts planned to help you ace it. This particular blog post is focused on Researching a Company. While research on a company should really be done before you even apply, having a good basic knowledge of the company and job you are interviewing for is necessary for a successful interview.

 Research, Research, Research

There is nothing more frustrating than when I ask a candidate “Why do you want to work for HNL?” and their response is something along the lines of “I need a job”, a generic “I like the lab”, or my favorite one - “I don’t know. I’m not sure what you do here.” These types of responses show that you are not truly invested in the interview or the company. When people share their knowledge about HNL or the position they are interviewing for, it says to me that they care.

 Some Basics You Should Know

  1. What type of company are you applying for? Is it private or public? What industry is it in? What geographical areas does the company operate in?
    1. This information is important as it can affect pay structures, benefits, travel expectations, and more if you are hired.
  2. Understand the job you are applying for. What are the basic duties? What are the days and hours you are expected to work? What educational requirements may be needed in the future to pursue a higher position?
    1. You should know if you are truly interested in a position before you go in to interview for it. If the schedule or job duties will not work for you, you may need to reconsider interviewing for the position.
  3. Attempt to learn the culture of the organization. Does it seem basked in creativity, or is it more traditionally structured? Does it seem open to questions or new ideas, or does it seem to be more status quo?
    1. Attempting to understand the culture beforehand can assist you in absorbing the culture you experience during your actual interview and, therefore, decide if a job is a good fit for you. When I interviewed at HNL, I said good morning to everyone I passed to see if anyone would respond (and most did!). This made me feel like HNL was warm and friendly, which is something I want in a company I work for.
  4. If you are having trouble finding information, it never hurts to call the company to ask specific questions about a position, such as:
  5. What is a typical workday like for the _________ position?
  6. What are the educational requirements for the _________ position?
  7. Is travel expected in the _________ position?
  8. Are there any weekends or holidays involved in the ________ position?
  9. What growth opportunities are available for the ________ position?

Remember, you are trying to gain as much info as you can. Having specific questions will help you achieve that.

This is not an end all, be all list of research suggestions. There is plenty of information online to assist you in your research if you need more help. Good luck, and happy researching!

 -Abby Cooke, HR Recruiter, HNL

 Writing an Effective Resume

 Writing a resume can be a daunting task for anyone – where do I start, how long should it be, what accomplishments and experiences should I include?

Well, worry no more! We have compiled a list of resume tips and tricks to help you craft a winning resume and help you land your dream job.

  • Use the Right Format

 The four standard types of resumes include 1) chronological, 2) functional, 3) combination and 4) targeted.

Chronological – Chronological resumes are the most commonly used format. As the name suggests, these resumes list work history in chronological order, starting with your most recent position.

  • Who should use – This resume format should be used by job seekers with a solid work history that is aligned with the job in which they are applying and no lapses between employment.

Functional – Functional resumes focus on your skills and experience first, while de-emphasizing the dates in which you worked. Employment history is secondary and is listed beneath your skills.

  • Who should use – This resume format is good for individuals with lapses in employment, in the middle of a career change, a recent college graduate with limited experience.

Combination – Combination resumes detail both your skills and experience, while also including a chronological listing of work history. This format allows seekers to tailor their resume to the job opening.

  • Who should use - Use this resume if you want to showcase transferable skill sets and employment history.

Targeted – Targeted resumes are customized to the job you are applying for. Everything from your objective, qualifications, and educational experience is tailored to the job requirements.

  • Who should use – These resumes are generally the most time consuming but can generate great results, as your qualifications and experience will reflect what the Recruiter or Hiring Manager is looking for. However, do not exaggerate career highlights just to mirror the position.

  Don’t Put Everything on Your Resume

 Your resume is your marketing material. You are trying to sell yourself as the perfect person for the job. You’ll want to highlight the accomplishments and skills that are most relevant to the job you are applying to.

You resume does not need to have every work experience you’ve ever had listed on it. Is it relevant that you were a cashier at a supermarket 15 years ago? If not, don’t put it. With that being said, you should be able to provide a list of all employers from the past 10 years or so for employment verification purposes. Even if you only worked somewhere for two months, we still want to know about it!

  • Keep it to a page – or two

 This is certainly a topic of debate, but I’ll share with you my professional opinion. On average, recruiters spend 27 seconds reviewing each resume. You want your information to be concise and to the point. If you truly have enough relevant experience and training, then having a longer resume may serve you well, but for the typical candidate, one to two pages is sufficient.

  • Electronic vs. Hard Copy

 There are two very important things to think about when putting together your resume – is it an electronic version or a hard copy?

Electronic – When uploading your resume to an Applicant Tracking System a lot of “fancy” formatting can be lost. For this reason, make sure to use plain fonts and simple formatting. Choose a font that is easy to read like Arial, Century Gothic, or Helvetica and use a font size between 10 and 12.

Hard Copy – Regardless of where you are interviewing, you should always be prepared with multiple copies of your resume on hand. Bring at least two copies to ensure you have one for Human Resources and another for the Hiring Manager.

A hard copy of your resume allows you to be more creative, as you don’t have to worry so much about formatting features being lost in an upload. Don’t be afraid to use different fonts for your name, headers, and companies but make sure to keep it consistent. It should be visually pleasing but easy for the eye to follow.

  • Share your Contact Info

 While you don’t necessarily have to include your address, make sure to make your telephone number and email stand out! I cannot emphasize enough that you should be using an appropriate email address free of vulgar or offensive words. Your email address alone could very well cost you the job.

  •  Proofread, Proofread, and then Proofread Again
  •  This should go without saying, but you would be surprised at the errors we see on a daily basis. Make sure your resume is free and clear of typos and grammatical errors. Don’t rely solely on spell check – ask family or friends to take a look at it for you.

 These are just a few tips to help you with your resume building journey. There is a wealth of information available online so don’t be afraid to use it!

 Khrystine Scholato, HR Recruiter, Health Network Laboratories



Jul 7, 2010
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