6 Questions to Ask in an Interview

March 12, 2015 | Chris Reed

I am often asked, “What should I bring to my interview?” While I appreciate the effort to be prepared, bringing physical items is only a small piece of being ready to nail your interview. An interview should be a two way conversation; therefore, you also need to ask questions. This shows that you are not only prepared, but interested and curious about the role and how you may fit in the role and within the organization.

Some of my favorite questions candidates ask include:

1. What does your team/organization need to start, stop or continue doing? This will give you tremendous insight into culture, challenges and opportunities.

2. What are the immediate obstacles that will need to be addressed? With this, you know what your agenda could be coming in the door. This will help you put your plan together later in the interview process should you be asked.

3. Why is this position open? Getting an answer to this question, you will learn if you are taking over for someone who has left the organization, was promoted, or if this is a new role. This could reveal what type of environment and relationships you might inherit.

4. What does success look like for this position? You will learn what is expected of  you should you be hired.

5. Once success is attained and maintained, what does future career path look like? It’s important to understand your future opportunities. A career is a long term relationship and investment by both parties.

6. Is there any other information I can provide to help you assess my fit for this position? You will be able to hit on things that may have been missed during the discussion, but are important to the hiring manager. This will also help you self-evaluate.

You can use my favorite questions as a jumping off point to create your own. Do your homework and research the company and the people who will be interviewing you. Once you have solid background information, form strong questions for your interviewers. Your questions should address your needs and motivators, as well as the company’s.

Keep in mind, you should interview the team and company just as much as they are interviewing you.

Good luck!

« Coming Full Circle| Maximizing Time at a Career Fair »

Coming Full Circle

February 23, 2015 | Express Scripts

March of Dimes is one of the primary charities Express Scripts supports. It’s rewarding to see how organizations that we support help our employees and their families. Guest Blogger, Yvette Gonsalves, supervisor, Corporate Financial Services, shares her story of how March of Dimes changed her life.

I’ve always had a heart for babies, and I’ve been a volunteer for the March of Dimes since 2010. In 2013, when my daughter was born more than two months early, I learned firsthand how the March of Dimes makes a difference for families like mine.

My husband, Collin, and I were thrilled in January 2013 when we found out I was pregnant. The first six months of my pregnancy were great. I didn’t have morning sickness or any other complications. I was working full time and was even able to take some time off occasionally to travel with Collin.

In late June, I went in for my monthly checkup with my obstetrician and learned that I had high blood pressure. My doctor put me on bed rest, and due to continuous high blood pressure and other complications, I was admitted to the hospital July 4. I ended up having an emergency C-section July 20.

Our baby was born at 29 weeks — more than two months before my due date. Our beautiful daughter, who we named Laylah Hope, weighed 1 pound, 8 ounces. The labor and delivery team had to resuscitate her initially and put her on a breathing machine. After about three hours on oxygen, the NICU doctors said Laylah’s little lungs were working just fine, and she was able to breathe from then on without help of the machine.

Laylah - March of Dimes 2
Laylah was born two months early and weighed 1 pound, 8 ounces.

For nearly two months, my life was the NICU. Laylah seemed to hit new milestones every day. As I sat, fed, smiled and cried in the NICU, the March of Dimes and their volunteers. It was as though my years of giving to the organization had come back to me tenfold. They gave Laylah her first teddy bear, her first book and a special handmade blanket.

I learned later that the March of Dimes works behind the scenes to help support the NICU with funding and resources — everything from preemie-sized pampers and special formula to the unwavering 24-hour care from the NICU nurses. We are grateful to not only the NICU but equally to the March of Dimes volunteers.

Laylah - March of Dimes 3
Laylah, 18 months

On Sept. 13, 2013 we got to bring Laylah home. She was a whopping 4 pounds, 6 ounces. Leaving the hospital was very emotional and scary. I no longer had nurses to help me. But my maternal instincts kicked in and Collin and I figured it out. Luckily, Laylah slept through the night from the time she came home from the hospital.

Over the past year and half, I’ve watched my premature infant blossom into a healthy baby. Laylah is now 18 months old and weighed 23 pounds. She’s learning to count and sing her ABC’s. She is happy and energetic and loves to sing.

I can’t think of a better way to give back to the organization that supported me through some of my darkest days. I have served as the site lead for the Express Scripts March for Babies team in Orlando. I oversaw fundraisers, coordinated volunteers and managed our team for the walk.

To learn how you can volunteer or get involved in a walk, visit http://www.marchofdimes.org.


« Meet the Team – Ryan McCracken| 6 Questions to Ask in an Interview »

Meet the Team – Ryan McCracken

February 9, 2015 | Express Scripts

Meet Ryan. Ryan is a human resources consultant. More importantly he is a veteran, a family man and cancer survivor. Guest blogger, Ryan shares his story about combating cancer and his positive outlook.

Sometimes life throws you a curve-ball. For me, that curve-ball landed in my chest in the form of a baseball-sized tumor.

In January 2014 when I couldn’t shake a cold, my doctor suspected pneumonia and recommended an X-ray. After many tests, I was diagnosed with mediastinal seminoma, a cancer that is most common in males between the ages of 18 and 35. Although unrelated to lung cancer, the tumor had attached to the exterior of one of my lungs.

I went through 12 weeks of chemotherapy. Before that, I hadn’t known anyone personally who had gone through chemo or radiation treatments. I thought I’d be the guy who could be tough, shrug it off, work through it and move on. I don’t like to lie around the house; that drives me crazy. But I learned that chemo is REALLY hard.

Ryan and his family
Ryan and his family.

With the help of my co-workers, I continued to work through most of those weeks and completed treatments in May 2014. Until I got sick, I had no idea how much my colleagues cared for me. That was something very positive that came out of my experience. The outpouring of concern and support, sometimes from people I didn’t even know, was amazing. They checked in on me, shared their own stories of going through chemo or radiation, and offered rides to doctors’ appointments or meals for me and my family. Co-workers did everything they could to see me through a difficult time.

My wife Jenny and I had been through hard times before. We made it through two combat tours when I was in the Army, serving one year in Iraq and one year in Afghanistan. When I was diagnosed, we knew that if we could make it through deployment, we could make it through anything. And we did. By far, Jenny was the person who kept me going during my treatment. That time had to be stressful and scary for her. She was working, taking care of our two boys and taking care of me. Yet she was always positive, and she was always that person I could lean on during the worst days.

Ryan and Jenny
Ryan and his wife after his last chemo treatment

These days, I feel great. The cancer is gone, and it feels good to be active again. I’m enjoying time with my family and diving back into my work.

I’m grateful for the excellent medical treatment I received, and I’m grateful for the benefits I receive here at Express Scripts. As a patient, I received phenomenal service during my treatment. I now feel a special connection to others who are undergoing cancer treatments, and I’m proud of all of our employees who help care for them.


« What I Want Candidates to Tell Me| Coming Full Circle »

What I Want Candidates to Tell Me

January 27, 2015 | Chris Reed

I want candidates to tell me the truth. They want the same from me. Simple, right? You would hope so. One of the true benefits of my job is the opportunity to connect with a wide variety of people. I really enjoy engaging with others and learning about their background and motivators.

When I first connect with someone about a potential role with my company, I approach it from their perspective. I often tell them, “Your questions are more important than mine.” Why do I approach it this way? I want them to have a great understanding of the potential role, and their questions tell me about their perspective. I also get a great understanding of their motivators as to why they would make a career move. At that point, I look to connect their motivators to aspects of the position and make sense of it all.

As a recruiter, I need someone to trust me to help them advance their career. This is so important because ultimately, I am asking them to put their livelihood on the line by getting hired on here. That is a heavy notion and one I take very seriously. That is where the truth really comes into play.

Many people want to try to tell me what they think I want to hear in order to advance in the process. I can understand why they would do this. What is much more powerful is to have them share with me what they want out of this potential career move. Once I have that information it will allow us to truly be partners and be sure this is the right move. After all, I don’t want to hire them for this role. I want to hire them into multiple roles in our organization.

If you are job searching, be transparent with your recruiter and tell them exactly what you are looking for in a new opportunity. Trust me, this will have a much bigger payoff for you and your career than saying what you think they want to hear. Truth is key.

Find career opportunities that may be a fit for you at careers.express-scripts.com.

This post originally appeared on LinkedIn.

« 15 Tips to Landing the Job You Want in 2015| Meet the Team – Ryan McCracken »

15 Tips to Landing the Job You Want in 2015

January 15, 2015 | Express Scripts

This time of year is all about new beginnings and starting fresh. For a lot of people this could mean making a career move. If that is you, we are here to help. Check out the list below for job hunting tips straight from our Talent Acquisition team:

Educate Yourself
1. Educate yourself
. Being knowledgeable in a job search is crucial. You should know your resume inside and out and be in tune with your current abilities and skill level. Know what your goals and motivators are. As you identify potential employers based on that knowledge, research those companies you are interested in. Knowledge is power. – Angela Onidas

Primp Your Profile
2. Primp your profile
. The more detailed your LinkedIn profile, the easier you are found by recruiters. Make sure you have a professional photo, current skills highlighted, and if possible, recommendations from peers or previous employers. – Aaron Jones

Tailor your resume
Flazingo Photos, flickr
3. Tailor your resume. Your resume should be specific to the role for which you are applying. Don’t say you are looking for a job as a Legal Secretary when applying for a position as a Sales Coordinator. Tailoring your resume to the position shows attention to detail and increases your likelihood of getting the interest of a recruiter. – Robert Lowrey

Juhan Sonin Flickr
4. Brag. Your resume is your sales pitch to recruiters and hiring managers. Include detail for significant accomplishments, using action words that will have a positive connotation with the reader: “Achieved”, “Led”, “Established” and so on. Try to quantify your experience for the positions you’ve held, for example, saying “exceeded my monthly sales goal by 73%” will help you stand out against candidates with similar skill sets. – Shawn O’Connell

Track all activity
5. Track all activity
. Knowing all of the information pertaining to you your applications and interactions as a part of your job search will come in handy when speaking to recruiters. Remember to write down who you talked to, when and what about. – Chris Reed

Professional email address
Rahul Rodriguez Flickr
6. Use a professional email address. Email accounts should be built to reflect your name or a variation of it. With free email services you should be able to create one that is both professional and easily identifiable to recruiters. Leave more personal email accounts that reflect talents, passions, favorite animals, etc. for friends and family. – Matthew Wilder

Tell Stories
7. Tell stories.
Think of a few different scenarios you have experienced that demonstrate your skills and how you handled challenges. Having these anecdotes prepared will help you answer behavioral interview questions. Want more tips on behavioral interviewing? Click here. – Jack McDaniel

Be Focused
8. Be focused
. You don’t have time to apply to every job opening, and in fact, you shouldn’t. Recruiters can be turned off by candidates who apply for every position with the company, from a dish washer to a Vice President. Instead, focus on applying for the jobs you’re qualified for. Make sure both the position itself and the company culture are a good fit for you. Find more advice for applying here. – Elise Jones

Connect with people
9. Connect with people.
Meeting other professionals is a great way to discover new opportunities, create leads, and set yourself apart. You can network online and in person. When you create connections, be sure to follow up with them regularly and maintain those relationships. This will increase the chances that they will think of you when a relevant opportunity comes across their desk. – James Duff

Brand yourself
10. Brand yourself.
Create a professional brand for yourself based on what you want people to think of when they hear your name. This should be consistent across these three key mediums: online, on-paper, and in-person. It is a process that does not happen overnight and requires maintenance. – Jessica Porterfield

Get social
11. Get social.
Use social media to your advantage while searching for a job. Make sure what you have on your profile and what you are posting about will reflect on you in a positive light. Use these tools to enhance your qualifications and show recruiters who are checking you out online that you are a good fit for their team. – Hannah Winslow

Expect the unexpected
12. Expect the unexpected.
Don’t be caught off guard if you are asked to complete a virtual interview. Like Express Scripts, many companies use online tools to make talking “face to face” with candidates a little easier. Treat all virtual interviews like an in-person interview. – Kwana Cannon

Dress for success
13. Dress for success
. What you wear and how you present yourself speak volumes. Candidates who dress appropriately for the position they are seeking make a strong impression and show their potential fit for the role. Click here for more advice on how to dress for an interview. – Allison Dietz

Say thank you
14. Say thank you
. Collect a business card from each person you interview with so you can send personalized thank you emails. Customize your notes to include memorable information that you discussed during your interview. – April Steiner

Take a break
15. Take a Break –
Searching for a new job can be exhausting. Give yourself a reprieve every now and then. This will help you refocus and gain motivation. – Anthony Franklin

Good luck!

Think you’re ready to put these tips to the test? Search and apply for a job at Express Scripts: http://bit.ly/13hXIB4.


Featured image: Flazingo Photos, Flickr

« Meet the Team: Tammy Watkins| What I Want Candidates to Tell Me »