Lori Day, Senior Vice President, Chief Customer Operations Officer, Everbank/TIAA and Pete the Job Guy go through an interview, from the company’s perspective. They will explore what employers are looking for in interviews and why. Get a leg up on your competition and see how you can put yourself ahead of the crowd and land your “destination employer.”
[Please ignore any typos. This is a direct transcription for your benefit.]
Pete: Our first guest today is Lori Day. Lori is Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer Operations Officer, at EverBank. She’s also on the diversity and inclusion council and she serves as the executive sponsor for the women’s employee resource group advance. Now, Lori, I know it’s safe to say you’ve been a manager, director, vice president, a leader in a hiring manager for many years. I won’t say how many, but I know it’s been a lot more than five years. Is that correct?
Lori: More than five would be correct and more like decades.
Pete: Okay. We’ll leave it there. Great. Well, in throughout your career you’ve been pretty passionate about helping people. You’ve been a career coach, mentor, and very involved in the community, isn’t that right?
Lori: Yes, I would. Thank you.
What kinds of questions do you ask in an interview and what types of answers are you looking for that help you make your decisions?
Pete: Alright, well, I think it’s safe to say that. What I want to know, now, is as a leader and a hiring manager, and I know you’ve interviewed, I don’t even want to put a number to it, but I know there’s a lot, you’ve interviewed a lot of people and what’s important to you is not just hiring, it’s retaining the top talent that you’ve hired, and I know that safe to say that you’ve retained thousands of employees over your years, I want to focus on your interviewing techniques, right now. Without getting into too many specifics. What kinds of questions do you ask in an interview and what types of answers are you looking for that help you make your decisions?
Lori: So I think part of the interview process of questions, answers is really around how am I able to help someone paint their story for me? It used to be back in the day where the standard questions are, tell me your strengths, tell me your weaknesses, what are the things you’re most proud of, and those just don’t help create the environment that gives me a forward look on how someone will be successful with my team. So instead I asked questions about the job requirements and the competencies that accompany that and I ask a candidate to paint a picture by telling me examples of times where they’ve had experiences in certain things and when asked to share their examples with me, I’m really looking for them to show me who they are, what they’ve done, how they’ve interacted with other people, how they’ve used different skills to achieve things and solve problems. If they can paint that picture for me of an experience they’ve had in their past, then I’m able to see in the future how they could fit in my organization.
Pete: Outstanding and Lori, if they begin to answer their questions with, “oh well I always do this,” or “this is what I would do.” Okay. Hypothetical in one is speaking in generalities. How does, how’s that going to work?
Lori: That’s really not working out for me, but I will ask the question again. And the term is “behavior-based interviewing” is kind of the buzzword or the term and it really is about understanding others’ behaviors. So when I asked for a candidate to give me an example and the answer is, “well I typically” or “I usually” or then I’ll say, that’s great to hear. Can you give me an example of when you did that and what the circumstances are and if we still can’t get there, maybe after a couple of times then we’ll, we’ll change the topic, but I’ll still go back to wanting to see by example stories that the candidate can share with me, their stories of where they’ve been successful, where they’ve had challenges. And if we can’t get there then honestly that’s not someone that I’m going to feel confident will be successful in a role on my team.
Pete: Right. And for example, if you ask a prospective manager, tell me about an experience where you’ve dealt with a difficult employee and how you handled it and how you resolved it. And if they say, oh, well, I always make sure that I tell them that they should do this, or you know, without that specific example, and they keep speaking in generalities. Could that potentially be a show stopper or demonstrate to you that they don’t have that specific experience?
Lori: That’s going to be the question in my mind, do they really have the experience that I need to be successful, not only for my team but for them. Will they be in a role that they truly can achieve and be strong at and if they can’t demonstrate that they’ve had examples in the past that correlates to what the job is I’m hiring for then it does add a lot of question in my hiring decisions.
Should the interviewer have knowledge about the company they are interviewing for?
Pete: At EverBank, when you interview someone, do you expect the candidates to know anything about Everbank walking through the door?
Lori: I do. I really do because to me, if someone is focused on a job and they want the job, I want to understand why, so do they want the job because this is the perfect role that they’ve always been looking for regardless of the company. That’s good to know. It’s authentic, but if they are running from something that they’re at now versus running towards the position in the company that I’m part of, that’s important to know. If someone’s running towards something, they’re going to want to be prepared. Being prepared is able to know how to correlate the company’s vision and mission and that’s pretty available on. If you go Google a company, whether it’s mine or somebody else’s, you can find out a lot by not only looking at the company website, you can look at reviews and being able to articulate the candidate skills and their abilities and parlay that into the company itself shows not only have they done their homework, but they care if they care, then that says they’re going to care about my customers. They’re going to care about their teammates, and that is really important.
Do I have to customize my resume to every position I apply to?
Pete: For when you review resumes, should the resumes be customized or tailored for the position or should people just write one resume and send it out to all prospective employers?
Lori: In today’s environment, it’s so vital to have specific unique resumes that paint the picture. The candidate wants to paint. If they want to paint a picture that one size fits all, then of course they can take and do that, but I will tell you, most major companies have a screening process because of the volume of candidates coming through the door, so a machine is actually going to take the words on the paper that has the job description and they will run it against the words that are on the candidates resume. If those words don’t match up or have themes that matchup, that candidate may never get a chance for me to see them, and if I don’t get a chance to see them, then I won’t know what a great job they could do for me. And so it’s important to write your resume where you’re keyed into not only the performance objectives, but what are the behaviors, what are the competencies that this job is looking for, and be able to paint that picture all along that the candidate’s process. Albeit, their cover letter, the resume when they’re sitting across from someone or doing a phone interview. And most importantly, when they write their follow-up “Thank you.” That perhaps shows my decades in business, but it’s something I think is vitally important is to say thanks.
Do first impressions really matter in an interview?
Pete: I’m glad you just said that about the follow-up letter because it just goes right into my next question that I have for you. Does the shoe shine and handshakes still means something for a prospective employer? Meaning that first impression looking sharp, arriving on time, which seems to be a little bit difficult for people now who all still matter?
Lori: It does matter. It goes back to what I was talking about a minute ago about caring. So, if you’re doing the research and you’re demonstrating you care, you also show that you care by taking the time, looking the part, being present and engaged in making that first impression. And that is eye contact, what you’re wearing, how you’re presenting yourself, it shows that again, you care about the impression you’re making. You care about the job that you want and you’ll care about, then, my customers and teammates going forward. So, to me it’s vital.
I haven’t interviewed in a long time; what do I do?
Pete: You know, and I want all the listeners here to keep in mind that this isn’t someone whose career it is, to give tips to you. This is the person you sit across from them when you interview this. She’s doing this to help you. She’s taking time out of a very busy schedule to tell you what she can use it on and I’m going to tell you, she’s not unlike many employers out there. You know, there’s a big — there’s a lot of folks out there that have a lot of work experience. They have 15 years maybe at a company and to them, they think it’s old hat and they might not have updated their resume and diving in and interviewing again. It’s a foreign concept, you know? What do you say to that person who hasn’t interviewed in so long? It’s all new to them. They come and they sit across from you. They’re probably going to be nervous a little bit just as much as the Newbie. What do you say to this person who’s in a career transition?
Lori: Well, for the person who’s in a career transition, what I would say first is I hope you’ve always been a networker, even if you’ve not been in a job search perspective before, you don’t want to build a network, when you need a network, you truly should be engaging with people, helping them understand who you are, what you do, and being able to help them along the way so when you are ready to start a career search or a reset that you’ve got a network to go to. If you don’t have a network and you’re finding yourself in a situation where you haven’t had to interview for a job or go look for a job before, I would suggest that you really spend some time with whether it’s a neighbor or a formal coach or someone where you can just practice, being a little nervous, again, it kind of shows you care, but you don’t want the nerves to be so stifling to your information, right? You don’t want to put yourself in a situation where you can’t communicate the great things you can do because you can’t get the words out in one of the best ways, I think to be able to get the words out and have the nerves be at bay is someone should be thinking about four or five scenarios or stories that are in their pocket. They know the detail and they can apply that story or scenario to just about any of the behavior based questions. So if someone says, tell me about a time where you had a particularly difficult situation with a peer. That same story might also be one that you could articulate how you had a very successful outcome in a challenging situation, whether it’s specific to the peer relationship or problem-solving. But if you have your stories, you know your details and you then you can know where they are applied. You suddenly don’t have to worry about what you’re going to say. Now, you’re thinking about when you’re going to say it and show that you can be a valuable player in this new organization.
As an interviewer, do you have any show stoppers?
Pete: Great Advice, Lori. I had a hiring manager, tell me one time if someone shows up to the interview with sunglasses on their head or their chewing gum, that’s a show stopper right there. They’re out. I don’t discontinue the interview and, and show them the door now. I think that’s really harsh. Okay. Are there any showstoppers for you? Are there any pet peeves or some things that you might want to just tell people that they wouldn’t normally consider that might be common sense for whatever reason doesn’t click on with some people,
Lori: I would like to give everyone an opportunity to show their best. And so I don’t know if I would say that’s a show stopper, but I’ll tell you a funny story. I interviewed someone that was great credentials on paper and when they came to me we were having the conversation and they fell asleep while we were having the conversation face to face in the interview. And so sorry, that was my show stopper, and maybe there was reason for it. I’m sure there was, but there was just left, there was no explanation. And if someone recognizes and said, “Hey look, you know, I think I need to apologize because I probably wasn’t as attentive as I hope to be. Last night I had something go on. I’d feel like, wow, they were authentic. They see, they recognize that that was probably not their best forward foot, but was able to recover by explaining it. This situation, they just like, fell asleep. It was hilarious, but it was kind of bizarre too. So, you know, there’s always those human interactions that will give you a laugh. They’ll surprise you in all kinds of ways. But I don’t know if there’s, there are other showstoppers that would prevent me from at least exploring the person who is interested in the job I had besides falling asleep.
Pete: You know, I always say, you know, some people say work hard, play hard. Well, if you go out and who with the owls at night, you better be ready to soar with the eagles in the morning is what I say. You need to answer the Buzzer, check your bags at the door and be ready for that belt. Lori, I know it EverBank, you know, you may have some open positions; it’s a large company and what I’d like to know is, do you have anything very specific you can tell our listeners that you’re hiring for? Maybe not you personally, but at your organization, is there anything that’s maybe one of our listeners will say, holy cow, I have that exact skill set. What is that?
Position opening at EverBank/TIAA
Lori: Well, there are, there are numerous positions that are posted every day. If you go to the career section of our website, which has Everbank.com, soon to be TIAA bank, you’ll see those positions. But selfishly I’m going to take this opportunity to let you know that there is a position, it’s not in my organization, but it supports my organization and it requires some pretty specific skills that we’re looking for. So, if any of the listeners happen to have experience with workforce management and capacity planning, there is a workforce management analyst position that is open right now. And if that, those skills are something that fits your resume and you’d like to apply, I can share even the requisition number. So again, you go to the career site and if you look for workforce management analyst and the ID number for that job is actually 18006342. So, that might be something if your listeners have those specific skills of we’d love to understand if there’s a fit.
Pete: Outstanding, if there’s an analyst out there with those specific skill sets, that’s a destination employer, that’s a hot job that’s open right now. And Laurie just instructed you exactly how to get there and how to apply for that job. Lori, it’s been my pleasure having you here today. Any parting thoughts?
How can I market myself best to my destination employer?
Lori: Parting thoughts would be again, with the workforce that is being deployed today in all kinds of environments, I would encourage those to think about all varieties of roles. So whether it’s technical skills or um, human relation type skills, there are virtual leadership capabilities as well. And, and to not think about one position necessarily as being a destiny. I would consider that your career is more like a jungle gym or a rock climbing wall. You don’t go straight up like a ladder. And so sometimes if you think about your rock climbing wall, you may have to move to the side to be able to reach up to the next level. You may have to move down a little bit so you can have sure footing. And I think that in today’s environment with so much digital landscape and so many different opportunities to work nationally, locally, globally, virtually whatever “-lly” you want to put in there — I just think to look broadly and think about those transferable skills. It’s not necessarily just being a specialist, but how can you become a generalist and things that are problem-solving, collaboration, teamwork, strategy, those kinds of things would be transferable in just about any industry. So I didn’t encourage folks out there to think about the rock wall, the jungle gym and maybe put the ladder aside.
Pete: Boy, those are true words. Lori Day, thank you very much for joining us today and we will be right back.
Lori Day, Senior Vice President, Chief Customer Operations Officer, Everbank/TIAA
Lori is the Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Operations Officer for TIAA/EverBank FSB Bank Operations division. Her role includes leading New Account Operations, Deposit Management, Client Service and Operations Fulfillment, Fraud and Operations Risk Management. Lori is on the Diversity and Inclusion Council at EverBank/TIAA and serves as the executive sponsor of the Women’s Employee Resource Group, Advance.
Lori’s career in the financial services industry spans more than twenty-five years. During that time she has served in a variety of leadership roles including sales, operations, risk management, organizational design, strategic planning, process improvement, and leadership development efforts. She was Six Sigma certified and Lean trained at Bank of America. Throughout her career, Lori has cultivated a passion for coaching people and developing business processes to support teams across the country and around the world.
Lori also developed a successful coaching company, New Day Solutions, Inc., serving military and entrepreneurs by helping them make the most of their careers, companies, and lives.
To keep it all together, she takes daily doses of her own medicine regarding work-life balance. She is writing a book titled “Fast Life, Good Food” that combines her Lean process engineering knowledge with her experience as a working mom to help other busy people learn how to have healthy food at home and have time to spend with the ones they love.