Think Inc.
A forum for Hawaii's
business community to discuss
current events and issues.

Sunday, February 17, 2002

It's the interview, stupid

New medical plan will help


ItŐs the interview, stupid

Just because a potential employer calls you in
for a chat doesn't mean the job is yours

By Joseph Ha

When changing jobs or reentering the work force, there is nothing more important than the interview.

The number of job candidates who disqualify themselves in interviews by their lack of basic professional etiquette is amazing.

Many simply assume the position is theirs for the taking. That kind of arrogant attitude is hard to miss and rarely ingratiating.

The most important strategy for interviewees to remember is that nothing should be taken for granted.

Every interview demands careful attention to detail, even if the position doesn't appear to be a close match. Job candidates who know before the interview what recruiters want to see will minimize unpleasant surprises on both sides of the desk.

To increase your chances of making a lasting impression that will lead to a job offer, apply these 12 keys for successful interviewing:

1. Always confirm your appointment and never be late. Calling the interviewer's secretary one day early to confirm time and place is more than just courteous: It's proper behavior.

2. Arrive prepared. Learn as much as you can (within reason) about the company's history, products, markets, competitors, direction, culture and problems.

At appropriate points in the interview, interject a piece of information that reflects your preparation. It will be noted and remembered.

3. Dress appropriately. This should go without saying, yet a surprising number of show up in attire better suited for a day at the beach. Find out how company executives dress and, no pun intended, follow suit.

4. Never invite your spouse or a friend along on the interview. Unless specifically invited to meet the employer, spouses or friends should be left at home. Otherwise, their presence is apt to send a strange signal, i.e., "I can't make decisions on my own," or "Let's hurry this up, my friend is waiting."

5. Don't smoke unless invited. Many companies have adopted non-smoking policies and avoid hiring smokers in an attempt to reduce health care costs. Even if you're invited to smoke, it's best to decline.

6. Don't monopolize the conversation, even if the recruiter doesn't say much. Too many candidates see interviews as an opportunity to sell, sell, sell. Instead, listen closely to how the interviewer defines each question before answering.

7. Show enthusiasm at every step of the process. Try to register an honest degree of excitement at the prospect of joining the hiring company. If the position isn't for you, say so. But if the open position looks like a perfect fit, don't show a poker face in hopes of boosting the salary offer later.

8. Don't offer solutions to the employer's apparent problems. Be careful about suggesting new ideas to age-old corporate obstacles during an interview. You risk sounding arrogant and uninformed. If pressed for a new idea, you might respond by asking "Have you tried so-and-so or this idea?"

9. Never lie or overstate your past areas of responsibility. When your references are checked, little lies, exaggerations and embellishments will be uncovered. In 99 percent of cases, your candidacy will be terminated if this occurs.

10. Be cautious about the way you reveal the amount of money you hope to earn in the new position.

11. Don't play hard to get. Seldom does this tactic work. Aloofness is usually mistaken for lack of interest.

12. Don't make unreasonable relocation requests. Aside from moving assistance, don't expect carte blanche treatment from the hiring company. You can ask for help in moving your boat or your child's horse, but don't demand it.

None of this is difficult, but all of it is important. Keep it in mind, and you'll have need for champagne after securing your new job.

Joseph Ha is an assistant professor of marketing at Hawaii Pacific University. He can be reached at



Directly paid medical plan
will help bring clarity to care

By Evelyn S. Pacheco

Hurrah for the new medical plan idea, DirectCare. Surely medical personnel who are paid quickly for services save the frustration of paperwork to obtain insurance reimbursement.

This is an idea whose time has come. We pay for other services quickly and up front.

Why should the medical field be any different? We should be able to know the cost of all procedures as soon as they are completed, regardless of who the payer is.

The fact is that we don't all pay the same for the same services. The behind-the-scenes haggling has brought us to this place.

I am self-employed as a tax preparer and in real estate sales. I do not have a full 40 hours a week in either field and have a junky policy with HMSA that requires I pay the first visit and 20 percent of succeeding visit costs.

I am concerned that the state of Hawaii is going to attempt to regulate medical costs. Immediately after regulation, someone will find a way around it.

The answer has got to be posted prices for services. If we knew what the procedure costs and patronize reasonable service providers, we all win. As it is, costs are a mystery, charges are based on ability to collect, providers wait a long time for their money and costs go up to make up the shortages.

A charge tape, for every visit, would allow patrons to check charges to Medicare and their other insurance providers. Because we share experiences with our friends, word would get out quickly about affordable care.

If we remove the mystery from medical care costs and get the bill to the provider paid quickly, I'll be willing to bet that things will improve.

Evelyn S. Pacheco is a self-employed tax preparer and real estate agent in Hilo.

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