Insight from the Bear Network

The interview process can be nerve-racking even for an experienced job seeker, but thanks to the Bear Network, UNC job seekers have help. UNC alumna, Ashley Valenzuela-Ruesgen ‘11, Human Resources Solutions Partner at CenturyLink has an inside perspective of what to do and what not do while interviewing for your dream job. We interviewed Ashley; Below are her top ten tips to prepare you for your upcoming or future interview. 

5 Do’s

  • Be on time - Arrive 5-10 minutes early. Employers appreciate punctuality as it shows them that you are respectful of their time as well as the interview process.
  • Come prepared - First impressions matter! Make sure you show up in professional attire and bring copies of your resume. This is your chance to demonstrate preparedness, thoughtfulness, and organization.
  • Address everyone in the room - Eye contact is very important. It is common to be interviewed by a committee or panel. Make sure to give everyone in the room the attention they deserve. If one committee member asks you a question, make sure to address the entire room, not just that one member.
  • Be yourself - Talk about your passion and why the idea of working for their company excites you. Avoid canned responses and overselling. You want to focus on how you can contribute to their work culture and assess their fit with your values. It is a two-way street.
  • Do your research - Make sure that you know all the relevant information about the position as well as the company’s mission, vision, and goals. This takes a very small amount of effort and will demonstrate your sincerity and seriousness about the opportunity.

5 Dont’s

  • Don’t be TOO early - Showing up too early for your interview puts pressure on the recruiter, human resources and the hiring committee. Good employers do not want to leave you in their waiting room for 30 minutes and will feel obligated to move up your interview time. Please be mindful of their time.
  • Don’t lie about your experience - If you are asked a position or experience related question that you cannot answer, be honest and give an example of something else you have done that would be relevant to their question. A good interviewer will remember your responses and dig into each response.
  • Don’t provide social media handles - If your social media handles have inappropriate content, do not share them with your future employer. Do a self-audit of your social media accounts before applying for jobs, especially those where you would work in the community, have high visibility, or will be placed in a position of trust. If you would not want your mother or mentor to see it, do not post it.
  • Don’t show up unprepared - Showing up unprepared will give the impression that you have not given this process the time and energy that it deserves. The marketplace is competitive and doing basic research on the organization you are interviewing with is expected.
  • Do not show up wearing an inappropriate outfit - Even when you feel the work environment is casual, show up in professional attire. Unless otherwise instructed by your recruiter or human resources contact, assume business attire is required.

Keep these tips in mind to help you get ready for your interview and to help highlight your best qualities. As a final take away, Ashley shared that when she conducts interviews, she appreciates when candidates are authentic and “real” with her as she takes the whole person approach and favors behavioral interviewing. When candidates do this, it shows their ability to connect with colleagues and constituents in a personal and meaningful way. So many candidates take a cookie-cutter approach to interviewing and it undermines their ability to be memorable. Employers are seeking innovative and unique talent that will give them a cutting-edge advantage. Demonstrate your ability meet today’s challenges and drive your chosen profession forward.   

Ashley Valenzuela-Ruesgen is the Human Resources Solutions Partner for CenturyLink located in Broomfield, CO. She has experience in the industries of higher education, mining, construction and retail. Ashley holds her Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification from the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI). Ashley earned her bachelor’s degree in Mexican American Studies and Political Science with a minor in Spanish from the University of Northern Colorado. She received a Master of Arts in Latin American Studies from the University of New Mexico and will graduate this December (2019) with her Master of Science in Organizational Leadership and Strategic Human Resources from Regis University in Denver. As Namely’s first HR Scholarship recipient, she is also concurrently pursuing her Strategic Human Resources Certificate from Cornell University. Ashley has expertise in workplace culture, employee engagement, and diversity strategies.