Conversations With Cheryl Job Search Series Part 1, Featuring Christina Townsend

Conversations With Cheryl is the newest addition to With Cheryl and features interviews with different experts in their respective fields on topics that are important to YOU, including mindfulness, job searching, and more. Each series features interviews with 3 different experts and goes live on the last Monday over 3 months!

Today is the start of our second series on the JOB SEARCH process. And, we’ll be learning from Christina Townsend, who has 7+ years of experience interviewing for positions in Guest Service, Client Experience, and Human Resources. And, most recently is an interviewer for a Fortune 100 Entertainment company.

1. What would stop you from asking a candidate to come in for an in-person interview after a phone interview?
In a phone interview, the goal of the interviewer is to get a basic understanding of the candidate. I look for examples of if they’d be a good culture fit for the company and see if their passion aligns with what we’re hiring for.

2. What are you looking for when you read through a cover-letter?
I’m looking to see whether or not the candidate took the time to read the posting to get a good understanding of the position and how they’ll fit what we’re looking for. Including examples of why they’d be a better fit than someone else based on tangible examples of experience is great too!.

3. Is it true that hiring professionals won’t look at a resume if it’s longer than 1 page?
Not true at all! My own resume is over one page long. I feel like that’s an old wives tale. However, the resume is supposed to provide concise information about how you made an impact during your time in the position. Think “increased revenue from $120,000 annually to $200,000 annually by creating sales initiatives for under-performing Sales Executives.” (BONUS TIP: Even if you’re not job hunting, you should ALWAYS have an updated resume on file!)

4. What is your favorite interview question to ask a candidate? And, what are you hoping to learn from their response?
My favorite interview question has always been (and I read this somewhere and wish I could cite the source) “Out of all the people you’ve worked with, who have you admired most, and why?” People have a tendency to have a hard time saying what their values are, and this is a good way to gauge that.

5. What would you say to someone who has been job searching for months and keeps getting in-person interviews, but hasn’t gotten the job yet?
KEEP. YOUR. HEAD. UP! I’m sorry you’re going through this. There is nothing more frustrating (and even upsetting) than getting rejected from a job you really wanted. Channel that frustration into what you can improve. Research interview questions, read interview techniques on LinkedIn, and learn how to be your biggest advocate in interviews (including not shying away from talking about your accomplishments). Take ownership and don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from the hiring manager of a position you didn’t receive. You’ve got this!

WITH CHERYL READER QUESTION: Should you always include a cover letter even if it’s optional or not asked for on a job application? 
I would always include a cover letter. If anything, it’ll set you apart from others. I always read cover letters that come in with an application. If someone is taking the time to put one together to convince me to interview them, they deserve a read! You can have a general cover letter saved that you tweak to fit the job you’re applying for, this way you don’t have to start from scratch for each job you apply for.


Christina Townsend has over seven years experience interviewing for positions in Guest Service, Client Experience, and Human Resources. She has worked in the Real Estate, Health Care, and Retail industries. Her most recent role is an Interviewer for a Fortune 100 Entertainment company. Her passion is connecting people to their best fit roles and she has helped students with resume-building, cover letter writing, and interview preparation.

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