With the unemployment rate refusing to sink below 8 percent, the United States’ Great Recession marches on, leaving many people scrambling for the limited job opportunities that exist. Those in the job market during this tough time want every advantage they can get. One excellent resource is Mary Greenwood’s latest book, How to Interview Like a Pro: Forty-Three Rules for Getting Your Next Job.
An award-winning author of two previous how-to guides—How to Negotiate Like a Pro and How to Mediate Like a Pro—Greenwood continues her successful streak with this insider’s view of one of the most anxiety-provoking parts of the job-search process: the interview. Her professional experience as a human resources director and a labor attorney makes Greenwood an expert on all that goes into the interview process, from the first handshake to the hard questions.
Tricky questions don’t have to trip the interviewee up, says Greenwood. She uses her extensive background to explain which questions employers are not legally allowed to ask—questions regarding race, religion, and age, for example—and how to respond appropriately. She clearly and concisely defines complex legal terms like “disparate treatment” and “adverse impact” so that the average person can understand his or her rights in the interview room and not be caught off guard.
Some advice is fairly standard—dress appropriately for the workplace, arrive early, etc.—but Greenwood makes a convincing case for attending to the details. Wear flip-flops? No. Ask questions? Definitely. Stories of interview gaffes illustrate the need for explicit instruction. Greenwood does not want any of her readers to be the woman who brings her baby to the interview, or the man who tells an off-color joke to his potential boss.
Much of Greenwood’s attention focuses on what job seekers can do outside of the interview room, both before and after the big day. Research and rehearsal are essential, says Greenwood, and after giving the interview your best effort, it pays to debrief yourself. Evaluate your performance: what went well, and what you could improve. In the current economic climate, it is likely that those searching for a job will go on many interviews before receiving an offer, so Greenwood encourages readers to see the whole process as a learning experience.
How to Interview Like a Pro is easy to read from cover-to-cover. Greenwood’s clean, uncluttered style flows from one idea to the next. The usefulness of the book extends beyond the first reading, however. Job seekers can refer to the glossary, indexes, and individual tips as they work their way through the hiring process.