Early Career Advice for New Professionals

As a newly minted Interviewing Specialist, there are several things I have learned that apply not only to my role, but to all professionals who are fresh to the workforce. Here are a few practical pieces of advice for all of us who are getting started in our careers.

When speaking with another person, put yourself in their shoes. For example, when I speak with candidates, they may stumble over their words or take a few moments to answer, but I know it is most likely the result of nervousness. A phone interview is a big deal, and making the right impression is imperative to landing a job. Extreme pressure can undo the most thorough preparation. This realization makes it easier to connect with individuals who do not immediately hit it out of the park.

Even if you are not an interviewing specialist, putting yourself in another person’s shoes is advice that can be applied to many scenarios. Try it before you ask questions of your colleagues, discuss issues with your boss and so on. You may even be the nervous party in those situations!

At Cielo, we are encouraged to ask for help when we need it. Approaching more experienced colleagues is a stress-free process. Getting a fresh pair of eyes on something you have been looking at for a long time is a great way to find your blind spots. Insert my second piece of advice: never be afraid to ask for help. When I first started, I had a particularly difficult candidate and I immediately asked my mentor for her assistance. After our chat, I was able to make the right decision about the candidate and received helpful advice for the future.

Asking for help is useful in any profession, perhaps most critically when you are just getting started. No one is a superhero, so speak up and team up with your coworkers.

No one is a superhero, so speak up and team up with your coworkers.

My third piece of advice sounds obvious, but it can be difficult to do. Ask probing questions. In my role, it is especially important to get to know a candidate as quickly and as thoroughly as possible. The more questions I ask, the better I get to know an individual, which makes my decision easier in the end.

For new professionals outside the interviewing world – the more you ask, the more you learn. No one expects you to be an expert right away, so boldly asking questions that get to the heart of a topic is essential to your growth.

Last, but certainly not least, my fourth piece of advice is to paint people in the best possible light, but voice your concerns. When I interview someone with a wonderful personality, I write that down. Hiring managers want to know why I liked a person. But if the candidate also has a spotty work history, it is important I mention that too.

Non-interviewers, the best way to apply this is to be positive in all your discussions, but if you have a concern about something, speak up. Your concern may be shared by others and your voice could be the catalyst for change.

So in review, my four tips for new professionals are:

  1. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes
  2. Never be afraid to ask for help
  3. Ask probing questions
  4. Be positive, but voice your concerns

These tips have helped me become a better Interviewing Specialist, and I know they will also help you on your professional journey. I am still learning and growing in my role, but I never forget these four points.


This post was contributed by Erin Koerner, an Interviewing Specialist at Cielo.

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