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4/6/2003

Self-editing can help in interviews

By Pam Mellskog
The Daily Times-Call

LONGMONT — Job recruiters might as well be gardeners for the way they can ruthlessly weed out applicants.

To brush up on this topic and nearly a dozen others, about 200 job hunters gathered last week for the first Boulder Area Career Conference at the Raintree Plaza Hotel.

At a session dubbed, “How to Lose a Job During the Interview,” two Boulder-based recruiters employed a sense of humor in their critique of interviewing practices that too often sabotage a candidate’s success.

Besides demonstrating the basics — researching the company, arriving on time and keeping present and future goals in mind — the speakers delved into more personal fix-its, such as toning down arrogance.

“This is difficult to teach because you’re basically critiquing someone’s personality,” explained Tami Palmer, a senior staffing specialist for Boulder-based SpectraLink.

Yet, being aware of the brightest red flags might save someone from rubbing the interviewer the wrong way and losing a job opportunity.

In most cases, Palmer explained, self-editing political opinions and personal information makes good sense.

Co-speaker Troy Bettinger, chief talent scout at the Boulder-based SpectraLogic, another job recruiting firm, recommended paying careful attention to the interviewer’s needs. What problem is the company trying to solve by hiring someone? In combination, attending to these details can, he said, make a highly favorable impression.

“Busy managers don’t like interviewing,” Bettinger explained. “The only reason they will do it is because they have reached a pain point. Make your responses relevant.”

The conference presented other skill-sharpening sessions. However, Longmont resident Reinhold Betsch, 57, said he attended mainly to network with other attendees and the company representatives present.

Seven months ago, Betsch said, he left an R&D directorship in the manufacturing industry. Since then, he has trolled the Internet and pitched his resume.

“I just need to meet more people,” he explained.

Four organizations — the Boulder Area Human Resources Association, Workforce Boulder County, the Boulder Chamber of Commerce and the Boulder Economic Council — spent the past year planning the conference, according to Matt Dolan, employment manager at Workforce Boulder County.

“I hope the unemployed know that the business community and service groups are definitely behind them, that we haven’t forgotten them,” he said.

Pam Mellskog can be reached at 303-776-2244, Ext. 224, or by e-mail at pmellskog@times-call.com.