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Hiring experts say experience is less important than personality

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ANN MARIE AMES
February 28, 2008

Make eye contact.


Use perfect grammar.


And, no pressure here, but … don’t be nervous!


Whether you’re looking for an entry-level or a management position, those are the things Janesville’s employers want to see during job interviews.


And they want to see your personality. No matter how talented you are, if you are going to offend customers, hiring you isn’t worth it, said Dan Hunter, restaurant manager at the Armory, 10 S. High St., Janesville.


“We’re dealing with people who are going to be dealing with the public,” Hunter said. “They may have the skills, but they may be horrible around people.”


He should know. He’s been hiring restaurant workers for more than 15 years.


To see someone’s real personality, Laura Powers, loan manager at Parker Community Credit Union, 2652 N. Lexington Drive, Janesville, wants to see candidates who can relax. Powers, who’s been hiring people at PCCU since 1987, likes to offer candidates a soda or coffee when the interview starts.


“I love to hear people say, ‘Yes, if you don’t mind,’” Powers said. “It makes me feel good that they felt comfortable they could accept something.”


Some don’ts from local employers to help you ace an interview:


-- Don’t sweat your lack of experience


“I interview all the applicants I get when we have an opening, even if they don’t have experience,” said Amy Johnson, co-owner of Diamond Dave’s restaurant in the Janesville Mall. “We’re willing to train somebody if they don’t have experience.”


-- Don’t oversell yourself


“I already have your application and resume. When I made that phone call, I was already impressed. I have not hired people when it sounds like maybe they’re too aggressive,” said Jeff Huisheere, manager of Sentry on Court Street.



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