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Preparing for Behavior Based Interviews

Getting ready for an interview requires more than choosing the right outfit to wear. Taking time to think about the questions you are likely to face and how to answer them will go a long way in landing a job. During a recent program, Auxin Associates learned about the common practice of Behavior Based Interviewing, when a candidate is presented with probing questions designed to reveal their past experience in a detailed, authentic, and accurate manner and then determine if that person has the skills required for the job.

Kelly Greffin, Auxin Engagement Director, and Becky Etnier, a former Auxin Associate with interviewing expertise, led the program. Together, they explained that preparation is key. “You can show your skill sets or experiences in a lot of different areas by having some examples ready to go,” said Etnier.

Specifically, they recommended using the S.T.A.R. method when drawing on past experiences in order to answer interview questions:

  • Situation: set the scene and give necessary details of your example
  • Task: describe what your responsibility was in that situation
  • Action: explain exactly what steps you took to address it
  • Result: share what outcomes your actions achieved

During our virtual session, participants paired off to test this strategy and role play interviews. Etnier and Greffin also shared insight on words to avoid during an interview, what to say when you really don’t have an answer to a question, and how to answer the tricky question that focuses on your weaknesses.

If this session sounds like something that would be helpful to you, watch for it to come up again on our program calendar.

Advice for Women: Dealing with Unconscious Bias

Ever feel like someone else is evaluating you based on what they see without knowing your whole story? That’s the result of a bias, and while many of us think we can be objective, we all have some unconscious bias influencing our actions. During a recent Auxin workshop led by Erika Walker of The Walker Thomas Group and Rick Harris of RJ Harris & Associates, we learned about the challenge of unconscious bias, particularly for women.

It’s hard to ignore the reality of this issue when you look at the numbers Walker presented:

  • 24 of Fortune 500 executives are women
  • Highest paid female CEO earns $31.3 million
  • Highest paid male CEO earns $103.2 million

In addition to the obvious disparities of pay and promotion, women face a variety of inequities that come as a result of unconscious bias. For example, a woman may see someone else receive credit for an idea she had already shared, find herself overlooked when others are making introductions or even hear her name mispronounced.

So what can women do about it? Walker and Harris offered many suggestions including increasing your exposure to key individuals in executive circles, asking for feedback to determine areas needing improvement and finding a sponsor who can advocate for you. Above all, Walker said, “You need to cultivate your authentic self. Figure it out in your quiet time.” That’s valuable advice for anyone.

Auxin Associate Re-Launches Career

Becky Etnier is taking a big step in her career re-engagement. After three years as an Auxin Associate, working remotely from her home in Des Moines, Iowa, she has just accepted and started a new job. “I’ve checked a lot of boxes to get ready to return to work,” she said, and she’s not kidding. Becky has done her homework.

Early in her career, Becky worked in human resources for John Deere for 10 years. When she had her third child, she decided it was time to take a break. However, she has kept her skills up by taking on contract roles with a variety of companies over the years. In 2016, she discovered the Auxin Group thanks to her friendship with Auxin Engagement Director Kelly Greffin. Back in 2000, the two were paired when their own employers selected them to participate in a year-long growth and development program run by Women Unlimited, Inc. At the time, Etnier commuted from her home near the Illinois-Iowa border once a month to attend the courses in the Chicago suburbs. Managing long-distances is a bit easier now since she’s been able to participate in Auxin programs virtually, one of the many features of the group for which she is grateful. “The best part about Auxin for me has been the confidence building, the development, the work opportunity to do it remotely, and the team,” she explained.

Additionally, Auxin’s flexibility has given Becky the time she needed to pursue certification through SHRM (Society for Human Resource Professionals).  She realized that extra professional training would help her return to the all-in workforce in human resources and project management. So while continuing her work on client projects and attending learning and development programs, she studied for and passed the SHRM-SCP exam.

Now, she is excited to share that her career path is taking her back to John Deere where she is continuing her work in human resources.

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Passion and Purpose

According to this article, the employee experience in today’s workforce is veering away from benefits and bonuses and moving towards “passion and purpose.” Employers are working to create an “authentic, relevant, meaningful experience culture,” and Auxin Group’s focus on WELLNESS™ does just that.