Human Resources Interview

Informational Interview is the way to go when you are seeking advice from an expert in the field you wish to go into. It is a interview in which you seek advice on their career, the industry you are interested in, etc. Information Interviews are a great way to network with people and to get your name known. What is unique about these kinds of interviews is that you are actually getting real advice from someone who has actual experience in your field of interest.

THE CONTACT:

  • Name: Becky Estby
  • Title/Position: Senior VP of HR and Organizational Development
  • Company: Coborn’s Incorporated
  • Industry: Human Resources
Courtesy of ricecompanies.com

Questions about the Contact

I asked Becky a serious of questions about why she chose the HR field, how she picked her Coborn’s Inc., and more. For those of you that do not know, Coborn’s owns a series of Grocery stores. How she got involved in HR is unique, and to me, shows determination and integrity. She stated that early in her career, the HR Department in the company she was working for was run by a one-person show. The lady was not educated in HR and did not have a good handle on compliance or on employee engagement, so Becky saw an opportunity, so she asked the CEO if she could get involved.

Becky has been working for Coborn’s Inc. for 5+ years now and absolutely loves it. When I was interviewing her, I saw her light up just talking about the company. What made her interested in working for Coborn’s was that she was introduced to it through a CEO that knew Coborn’s CEO and he told her that it was a great company and he felt it would be a great fit for her. I asked Becky what stands out about Coborn’s compared to other companies that she has previously worked for and she stated that the company has strong values and has given back to the community in very big ways because it is who they are and what they believe in. Becky says that Coborn’s is expected to keep growing in size and that she cannot wait to see where they as a company go.

Questions about Communication Practices and Writing

Could you please describe the typical kinds of writing you do and tell me a bit about each?

HR Newsletter — Weekly newsletter to our retail locations on any important updates.
Becky’s Backyard — A monthly communication on our intranet to celebrate employees who live out our vision, mission, and values.
Policies — I will at times write new policies and/or work on the communication to go out with the policy.
Leadership Messages — I will write key leadership messages for the organization.

What do you find the most challenging about your day-to-day writing? What challenges do recent graduates face as they move from “academic writing” to “workplace writing”?

“The most challenging thing is to communicate clearly to all different audiences in a way that engages employees and does not cause legal risk. The hardest thing for students is understanding how to communicate to employees. When communicating to employees you need to balance messaging the communication in a way that engages your audience, explains the why and does not create legal risk (depending on the topic).”

How would you describe the balance between written and oral communication in your workplace?

“We have 8,000 employees so we need to find many different vehicles of communication. Policies and important company updates must go in written communication to ensure everyone receives it. We rely on the managers to cascade messages down to their teams through oral communication which is critical to getting by it from our employees.”

Questions Seeking Advice

I made sure to ask Becky for any advice she has for me as I start my journey into my future career. She really stressed to me that the tough times you go through, will ultimately make you a stronger leader. She told me that I should take those experiences and makes lessons out of them, instead of dwell on them. I also asked Becky what the best way is to get my foot in the door. She said that the best thing you can do is to network with people as much as possible and to try and get an internship, where you can use those contacts to network with others.

Conclusion and Final Thoughts

Becky is one of my greatest mentors, and I am so happy that she took the time to sit down and talk with me. She gave me great advice that I will hold onto for the rest of my life. It is nice to see someone of such high power caring about the little things that help make the company go round.

Before this assignment, I did not have many contacts/people to network with. Thanks to Becky, she gave my name to many people who I have since connected with, that are all willing to help me in some way with my future career and my goals. I did not realize how just one simple informational interview could really broaden your horizons. I really enjoyed this interview, and I am excited to get the chance to meet with other people and conduct an informational interview with them as well.