In today’s show, Riley Bass Au.D. holds down the show with Chris on assignment at the Learning & Development Center in Scottsdale, AZ. Riley is joined by Brady Mullins and Carmen Schwisow, both Talent Acquisition Managers at Audigy Group. Brady and Carmen share pro-recruiter tips for a winning resume and nailing your interview as an audiologist.
Did you miss our series on Transitioning from Student to Provider? Catch up on what you missed by visiting our special series page.
Listen to the Episode Below
Read the transcript:
RILEY BASS: Thank you for tuning in to the podcast. I am Riley, and Chris is out on assignment. He’s actually at a learning development center in Scottsdale for provider boot camp.
But to keep you guys from having to listen just to me drone on all day, I have brought in a couple special guests. They are people that are probably of very high interest to you guys as students. They are two of our talent acquisition managers here at Audigy. So they are constantly doing interviews with providers that are looking to be placed into practices across the country.
One of the things that we are constantly and repetitively asked about is how do I nail a job interview. So we’re going to give you a podcast on how to do that with some advice from the pros.
So please welcome Carmen Schwisow and Brady Mullins. They are two of our provider placement specialists, I guess you could say. So I’m going to let them introduce themselves. Carmen, why don’t you tell us a little bit about how you got here?
CARMEN SCHWISOW: OK, great. Thanks, Riley. Thanks for having us today.
My name is Carmen, and my background most recently was at the Portland State Business School. I ran, among other programs, a human resources management certificate program there, and was responsible for all of the program development from soup to nuts, including recruiting instructors to the program and then working with those instructors to develop curriculum and programs for the human resources program there at the business school.
So I had a lot of experience going out into the community, keeping my eye out for people that I wanted to instruct as students. And I found myself creating this little cottage industry instructor recruiting business in my role there at PSU, and really took to that right away.
And I think that one of the things that I most enjoyed about it was initially talking with the instructors and finding out what their skill sets were, what their goals were, what they believe that they could really bring to their roles in the classes at Portland State. So that’s how I got to Audigy Group.
RILEY BASS: Awesome. Brady, you’ve been around Audigy for a while, but have transitioned into this role. So tell us a little bit about that.
BRADY MULLINS: So I’ve been with Audigy for 5 and 1/2 years. Before this, I worked with the professional development team. So I did a lot of training of providers and really am taking those skills of what I learned about what makes a successful provider, what are those key characteristics, and taking that to the recruiting field. So when I’m looking for candidates, it really allows me to better suit what is the practice need versus what does the candidate have. So excited about the new adventure here.
RILEY BASS: Awesome. We’re very excited to have you on this team. And I know that one of the things that you guys are doing, especially this time of year, is interviewing those new graduates that are looking for that permanent position. So what would you say are some of the things students can do in an interview just right off the bat that catch your eye, that are things that you really perk up when you hear them say that, or that’s something that’s really an ideal characteristic that somebody says or does during an interview?
CARMEN SCHWISOW: I think more than anything is thoughtful responses and enthusiasm and really letting me know as a recruiter that they have, first of all, researched the private practice that they’re interviewing for– Audigy works with over 200 private practices across the country– really having a really in-depth understanding of Audigy Group, the private practice setting, and why they’re initially drawn and why they think that they would be a great fit for that particular audiologist opening.
BRADY MULLINS: I’d agree with that, and I definitely think something that they can do is have a good understanding of what they want to do. It seems like a lot of new grads want to do a lot of stuff. They’ve just gotten out of school. They’re super excited about everything they’ve learned. But they want to get in to balance. They want to get in Disney. They want to do all these different things.
So really thinking before they start applying for positions, what are those one or two things that they really want to do when they step out of school– I think that’s one of the things I really noticed. When someone has a clear goal of I want to be a private practice audiologist– I understand what that means, and I understand how to make that successful– that’s the sort of candidates that I get really excited about.
CARMEN SCHWISOW: Exactly. I think that’s a great point, Brady. Because I was on the phone with a candidate just the other day, and she had a passion for tinnitus and tinnitus education. And she really wanted to take that passion and apply it in her career launch, her new career launch position as our coworker. Tracy likes to say it. I love that phrase.
And it turns out that the provider that we’re thinking of matching her up with also has an interest in tinnitus and tinnitus education for the community that her practice serves. So I think that really coming out and just being upfront and open about what you’re most passionate about can really help start that conversation.
RILEY BASS: Sure. And I want to relate back to last week. We talked about having those interests. Obviously, here, we’re focusing on that private practice sector. But having that wide variety of interests is a great thing, even in the private sector. And we talked about hearing aids and that amplification part being your financial engine to give you the opportunity to pursue those other passions that you have.
That might not be the big revenue generators in your practice, but there are things that you’re really passionate about and want to focus on. So if you can manage enough of that hearing and consultation hearing aid fitting and stuff, then you can also open up your time to see patients that are balance, tinnitus, peds, any other kind of different facet of the audiology field.
So when would you guys recommend– if a student is in their fourth year and they’re finishing up, when would you recommend they start looking for jobs and exploring what they’re going to do post-graduation?
BRADY MULLINS: I would definitely say, I think, looking at probably April, April or May. Obviously, you can’t apply for a license until you have a diploma. So you’ve got to start that. But really starting to get the word out there. Start to figure out where you want to live. Where are those places that you want to look at as far as geographic goes of here are– I want to go to Florida, or within Florida, I want to look at Orlando. And then start looking at who are those practices in Orlando that offer what you’re looking at, just like what we talked about earlier.
If you’re in to balance, who is it that is the balance expert in that area?
RILEY BASS: Well, that’s Richard [INAUDIBLE].
BRADY MULLINS: Right. American Institute of Balance there. But being able to say, this is what I want, and these are the practices that are going to offer me what I want, and then looking at do those have spots open– because they’re not always going to have a spot– and then starting that process there.
CARMEN SCHWISOW: Absolutely. And I think also with that, really taking a step back. And the world is your oyster. There are so many opportunities for audiologists today. And particularly in private practice, the possibilities are incredibly diverse across the country. And taking a step back and really thinking about where you would want to live, the type of practice, as Brady mentioned. If you’re from a particularly maybe warm part of the country, you may want to resettle in Minnesota, but you also may want to think about the fact that your season and your year is going to feel very, very different.
RILEY BASS: I bet you’ve never driven in snow before.
CARMEN SCHWISOW: Right, exactly. Or you’ve never experienced below freezing winter. Or you may think about different things like where your family is located, and is it really realistic to be far away from your family, or is that something that you want to do. Do you want to transplant? Are you making plans of your own, and you decide that you do want to transplant across the country?
So in terms of thinking about geography and strategy around the career, but also really thinking about where you want to live, what you want your life to look like, and also researching those communities in addition to the practice is, I think, a good first step.
RILEY BASS: What if I had decided I wanted to live in an area, and there was a practice there I wanted to work in, but they weren’t necessarily hiring. How would you respond to a student that inquired about a practice that didn’t have an open recruitment at this time? What would you guys say to them?
BRADY MULLINS: That’s a great question. I think first of all, I would make the practice owner aware. If someone reached out to me– I deal with the southern half of the United States. Carmen deals with the western half. So if someone wanted to go to New York, for example, and they wanted to work, let’s say, in Manhattan, but we didn’t have any opportunities, first of all, I’d reach out to any owners and say, hey, we do have a really strong candidate that is looking for a position. If you’re interested or something changes, let me know, and we can definitely do that.
I would also look– are there other people within that broader geographic area that are looking for a placement? So let’s say maybe you don’t have Manhattan, but we have something an hour and a half outside of Manhattan. Would they be willing to take that as an intermediate step to get to where they want to go?
It’s still going to be roughly geographically where they want to be. But it also starts giving them experience in that private practice. Obviously, that’s what Carmen I do is really looking at the private practice piece. That’s about my approach.
RILEY BASS: Listeners, remember, even if there’s not necessarily an open spot at a particular practice that you’re looking for, don’t be afraid to reach out and make your interest known. Because you never know. Maybe they haven’t thought about expanding, but they could do it. And if you are going to be a big value add to that practice, there’s no reason why they wouldn’t at least explore that as an option for you.
BRADY MULLINS: And I think sometimes, Riley, too, if someone is interested in ownership, that can also change an owner’s perspective. If they have a new grad or someone that has been out of school for just a couple of years that is interested in getting into that ownership piece, I’ve known owners to make changes and saying, OK, I’m willing to bring some on even though I may not need a provider right now because that’s my exit strategy. Those five years down the road, I’m going to be counting on this person to really take over the business so I can step out.
CARMEN SCHWISOW: Yeah. That’s a great point, Brady. And I think that as talent acquisition managers, we work with the private practices and the practice owners on our immediate openings, obviously, the– as we like to say in the recruiting hall, pants on fire recruitments, the ones that have to be replaced immediately.
But we also work with our members and with human resource managers to say, hey, do you have any upcoming recruitments? What’s your 12-month plan? What’s your 18-month plan? What your five-month plan, for that matter? And as those staffing needs become more apparent, we always have that information in the back of our minds.
RILEY BASS: OK. So let’s say a new graduate or a couple years out of school finds a position that they’re really interested in, and they want to apply. What next?
BRADY MULLINS: Next comes the resume and applying for a position. I think we see a lot of resumes. We look at a lot of resumes. We go on the different servers as far as HERE Careers or Audiology Online and search for resumes all the time. But having a good resume is obviously real critical. Your resume has to stand out.
I personally pass over resumes if there’s misspelled words, if they’re not easy to read. Starting with your most recent position, and then what you’ve done going backwards, obviously listing your education. I think the easiest thing, though, like I said, is to make sure it’s really easy to read and is logical as far as– I don’t like to hunt and peck as far as what are they trying to accomplish here or anything like that.
CARMEN SCHWISOW: Absolutely. And I also think that it’s important, especially coming out of school, to highlight your experiences in school. Don’t discount that experience, your clinical experience. Obviously, your forth-year externship is the big experience. But you might have had other courses that you took or other places that you did internships at. Community service that ties into your aspirations to be an audiologist is also important.
It’s much more encouraging for me as a recruiter to see a very well-laid-out, organized, rich, full resume than someone who just went to school and completed their fourth-year externship. So the difference between those two resumes for me is pretty striking, and I will definitely call up the candidate whose experience in school has shown their preparation and the fact that they’re taking their future career seriously.
RILEY BASS: So obviously, you don’t want to have the skin and bones, bare minimum resume. But is there such a thing as having too much information on your resume?
BRADY MULLINS: Absolutely.
CARMEN SCHWISOW: Exactly. I think so, too. I think that there’s definitely a balance. Like Brady mentioned, you want to make sure that all the information that you have on there is well laid out from a design perspective. Make sure that it’s clear, it’s concise, it’s formatted correctly and consistently, there are no typos. All of that shows attention to detail for me. Brady, do you have anything else you would look for?
BRADY MULLINS: For me, I’d say it shouldn’t have to go over two pages. We have seen resumes come in that are 12 pages long. And there’s just too much information there. When we’re scanning a resume, we can’t get everything. It’s phenomenal that they did that much, but 12 pages is just too much.
I would also say a good resume is going to have all the contact information really easy to find– phone number, email, address all of those. It’s a little side point, but also make sure that they have a LinkedIn account. Those sorts of social networking– not the Facebook, personal stuff– but the business side are critically important.
RILEY BASS: Wait, so don’t put your Facebook on your–
CARMEN SCHWISOW: Don’t put your Facebook account on your resume.
BRADY MULLINS: Yeah, don’t put your Facebook.
CARMEN SCHWISOW: Don’t do that.
BRADY MULLINS: Avoid all that stuff.
CARMEN SCHWISOW: Future AUDs, don’t do that, please. Thanks.
BRADY MULLINS: Yeah, that would be awkward. But really, making sure that you are well connected, have a LinkedIn account. If you don’t have one, start one, and then really start networking with your peers. It helps us, too. Because we send out job ads and stuff like that, and if you’re connected with us, you get first dibs on those.
CARMEN SCHWISOW: Absolutely. I think of a resume as a snapshot in time, particularly how are you approaching your career, your career launch position, and what do I as a recruiter need to know about you in order to make that happen in order to pick up the phone and call you and set an interview. And so it really is that snapshot in time. And having it be a relevant, fresh, modern resume, you really want to make sure you know what best practices are and incorporate that into the document.
RILEY BASS: And I think– you guys can correct me if I’m wrong, but I was taught that a resume is the one page, very concise, and then most audiologists have more of a CV instead, which is that two-page one that’s broken down, because most audiologists have done some sort of research at some point in their career. And especially going through and having different position placements as students, it’s more than can fit on that traditional resume. I
Think we use the words interchangeably a lot. I’ve had students– I just asked people for resumes the other day, and they were like, is a CV OK? So I think that those words can be used a lot of the time interchangeably as long as that CV is not getting to be six, seven, eight, nine pages long.
But I think around two pages or one page front and back is about what you guys would say is ideal, right?
CARMEN SCHWISOW: Exactly, yeah.
RILEY BASS: OK. So we talked about a few things that you probably should not do on your resume, like misspell words and make it 10 pages long. What are some things that you guys look at and you think, wow, that’s really awesome?
CARMEN SCHWISOW: This may seem kind of basic, but just making sure that you have all of your contact information up at the very top of your resume. And also, one of the things that I really like to see is expected graduation date. That just gives me– right away, that lets me know where to place the candidate, where they fall if there’s a difference between someone who’s graduating in May and someone who’s graduating in August, for example. Those few months can be really critical.
BRADY MULLINS: I’d say– it sounds hokey, but use a template. There are some phenomenal, phenomenal resume templates out there that are going to really help differentiate what people are looking at. We see a lot of resumes. And you always want to make sure that your resume is the one that stands out.
So I’m a big fan of using bolds to highlight a change. So if you have education on the top and then work experience, bold those two. Make it easy for whoever is looking at your resume to really be able to tell what has this person done, what have they accomplished. If you guys have awards, anything like that, notate those. Definitely make sure that those are easily visible and they’re popping out to whoever is reviewing that.
Get a font that’s easy to read. Don’t use a script or anything like that. Because obviously, if it’s a script and it’s more challenging to read, it’s likely going to get passed up.
CARMEN SCHWISOW: I think any volunteer community service that you’ve done in the community that is relevant that shows that you’re active in the community is also something great to include on your resume.
BRADY MULLINS: Agreed.
RILEY BASS: Awesome. So if any of our listeners have resumes that they would like a peek at, are they able to send them to you guys?
BRADY MULLINS: Sure.
CARMEN SCHWISOW: Absolutely. I’d love to take a look at them anytime.
RILEY BASS: So you guys get this resume, and you’re really impressed with it, and you think this is somebody that could potentially be a good candidate. What steps do you guys do next?
BRADY MULLINS: Our jobs are all usually online. And so a lot of the way that we will see a resume is someone submitted it to us. So we see that, and then our first step is to review the resume and call the candidate. I would definitely say tip to all new grads or people looking for positions out there– if you receive a call and you’re interested, call back soon.
That’s definitely one of the interesting things, I’ll say, that I’ve noticed. There’s a tendency to not have immediate reaction when someone reaches out. So anyways, we’ll call. We’ll leave a message if we don’t get anyone, and then we’ll usually follow up with an email as well.
RILEY BASS: Right. Do you feel that people screen calls just because it’s an unrecognized number a lot?
BRADY MULLINS: Yeah, I would say so.
CARMEN SCHWISOW: Yeah, and I think that’s pretty standard. And I think as a recruiter, that’s fine just a long as I get a response back in a timely manner. I think that I just have in the back of my head, I’m going to be forwarding or not forwarding this candidate along. And that response back is part of a larger picture. And it speaks to me in terms of quick followup and follow-through and consistency. And all of those things are things that practitioners are looking for in a staff audiologist. So that first, impression your first impression starts right from the gate.
RILEY BASS: All right. So you get in and contact with these people and you set up an interview. So what are some things that you really find that are difficult questions for people to answer when you interview them?
BRADY MULLINS: One of the questions I have had some candidates struggle with is we ask a lot about what kind of management style they like and dislike. And a lot of people haven’t necessarily given that thought as far as what are those sorts of personalities or styles that I really gravitate towards. But also, what are the styles that I do not get along with? We all have personalities and we all have certain styles that we can thrive under, but we also have styles that we aren’t going to be successful under. So I think giving that some thought is one of the questions that I know some candidates stumble on.
CARMEN SCHWISOW: That’s a good question. Another question that stumps some of the candidates I interview is this question we ask that says what are the top three things that the practice would need to bring to the table in order for you to be successful in your role. And I think that’s definitely something that you want to think about. Because the interview process is– we’re interviewing the candidates.
The candidates are also interviewing us. And we want to make sure that we’re matching the candidates to each practice. Because each practice is unique and has its unique qualifications for the role or requirements for the role. And so just having given some thought to what you really want out of your next role, the things that you’re most passionate about– we talked a little bit about that earlier– I think can really help inform the answer to that question.
BRADY MULLINS: I’d definitely say, too, think about the culture that you want to work in. What kind of environment does this practice have? If you were to create an ideal practice– not that all of them are going to meet that perfectly, but if you have a better idea of what are the things you want out of a practice that’s going to make our job a lot easier of being able to say, OK, this is a practice that’s going to fit with that or not fit with that. And it’s fine either way.
RILEY BASS: Right. And one of the things I think of the answer to your question about the management style is we talked a few podcasts back when we did generational dynamics about being Millennials, and being really dependent on feedback, and really wanting to get a lot of feedback, and wanting to have a lot of interaction with our boss, because we see them as that extended parental figure. And some people are a little more independent, and they want to just do their thing and be a little bit more autonomous. Is there a right or wrong answer to that question?
BRADY MULLINS: No, there’s not a right or wrong. I think it’s just having the awareness that when you are going to these practices, most of the owners are going to fall into the Baby Boom, Gen X category. And so they function under a different hierarchy as far as that social networking and that feeling of they don’t always get feedback. It’s just the reality that not all owners– we work with them on it, but not all of them will give feedback like a staff member maybe wants.
And so this is after the hiring, but being comfortable with asking for that feedback, having that open dialogue with the owner. And I’d definitely say, as far as the placement goes, that’s one of the important things you want to make sure you have is that you feel that connection with the owner, whoever you’re going to be working for, that they’re going to be able to give you what you’re looking for to really develop your career.
RILEY BASS: Right. And I think that goes along with what you said. One of the questions you had– a lot of people were challenged by is what they’re looking for, and if they’re going to challenge you to really excel and do your best, and really challenge you to grow, or are you just going to stay sitting there and dispensing hearing devices for the rest of your career? Because definitely there’s nothing wrong with that, but I think when I’m looking at what I want to do with my career, I don’t want to just sit hastily by and just do the same routine every day. I think that growth and that development and pushing to be better and better.
CARMEN SCHWISOW: Absolutely. And that can definitely come out in the interview process. Obviously, thinking forward to what you would do every day in the practice, but then also really owning the interview and really giving a lot of thought to what you want, what kind of environment you work best in, and really having thought critically about those things before you get on the phone, I think, is part of that process.
It’s great to ask for feedback, but there also comes a certain point where it’s really helpful as a recruiter if the candidates have really thought through their own process, and what they like and what they don’t like, and what their strengths and their weaknesses are. Because that’s what the conversation is about at that point.
BRADY MULLINS: And I think with what Carmen is saying, if you have those things, then you’re going to come across more confident in that interview. And there’s intangibles. We can talk about the things to do on the resume and interviews and stuff. But there are some actual intangibles that we can give advice on, which is be confident. Come across with a very confident voice.
Smile. It sounds hokey, but smile when you’re on the phone. It does make a difference.
CARMEN SCHWISOW: People can hear when you smile.
BRADY MULLINS: Absolutely, they can.
CARMEN SCHWISOW: Can you hear that I’m smiling right now? I don’t know. Maybe not.
RILEY BASS: She is. Sher’s smiling.
BRADY MULLINS: But be cognizant of body language, those sorts of things. Because even if you’re having a phone interview, all of those things can come through the phone. And those impressions are very important.
RILEY BASS: All right. So you had an interview with the candidate. It may have went really awesome. It may have been OK. What happens next? What’s next for you guys?
CARMEN SCHWISOW: The next step is to review the interview process. And then based on whether or not I think that the candidate is a good fit or not a good fit, I will then– if I think the candidate is a good fit, I will pass that information along and pass the candidate along to the provider.
RILEY BASS: How do you reach out to the candidate, the applicant?
BRADY MULLINS: At the end of the interview, we’ll let them know the next step. So like Carmen says, we’ll review that. We’ll forward their information on if we decide to move them on to the owner of the practice. And then the owner will reach out to them to set an interview.
And then let’s say that all goes well. The next step would be an offer letter. Owner would call up offer, and then they’d get an actual sent offer letter to them. And then we do a background check and a DISC assessment after that. So those are the positives.
I’d say one of the things that Carmen and I struggle with sometimes is when we do reach out to candidates after the interview and we don’t hear back. Obviously, candidates have a lot of different options. And we talked a little bit about that, that there’s a lot of positions available.
And I would just encourage people to always remember that audiology is a really small world. And even though this position may not be right, have the professionalism to call, whether it’s Carmen and I or another business that you’re dealing with, and just say, hey, I found another position. Thank you so much for the interview.
It’s going to go a long ways if, by chance, a year down the road, you needed another position and you reach out to us. If we felt like you ditched us, per se, or just didn’t respond, we’re probably going to have a different reaction to seeing that resume come through again as opposed to if the person was very upfront and forward of, hey, I got another position. We’re all good.
CARMEN SCHWISOW: Absolutely. I had a professor say when I was in grad school myself that the particular town that we were in– it’s a really small town, and I actually think about audiology as kind of a small town. And she said, you don’t want to be that person that no one wants to work with.
And I think that when we’re dealing with these really small communities– audiology is a really special and kind of niche industry– you want to remember that your next opportunity, your next coworker, your next boss, is just right around the corner. So you always want to keep that in mind and leave your very best impression that you can.
RILEY BASS: So even if you take a job with someone else, don’t just leave another person hanging. Even if you have to tell them the bad news– and it’s hard to do that. I know. I was in your shoes just a few years ago when I interviewed for several positions, and I had to politely decline all but one of them. And it’s hard, and it’s not a conversation anybody wants to have. But it’s quick, and you can make it pretty painless.
So even if it’s a hard conversation, make sure– it’s vitally important to not– my favorite young slang word is ghost. Don’t ghost your recruiters for any jon– not just ours, but any recruiters.
All right. Any last words you guys have as we get this wrapped up for today?
BRADY MULLINS: I would just say for Carmen and I, if you guys need any assistance or if you’re looking for a position, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We are here to help.
CARMEN SCHWISOW: Absolutely. I cover the west part of the country, and Brady covers the east and the south. So if you’re looking for a position or just want to learn more about the opportunities that we have, don’t hesitate to reach out.
RILEY BASS: We will definitely provide their contact information on our Twitter and Instagram. Again, if you have those resumes you’d like us to take a look at as a team, send them our way. We will take a look at them. You can reach us on Twitter. I am @RileyB659, and we have @the_podcast, spelled the same way as the logo. Make sure you like us on iTunes, subscribe, leave us feedback. And we will talk to you next week.