Asking the Right Interview Questions with Beau Higgins
Retired US Marine Corps officer Beau Higgins is a senior manager on Amazon’s Military Affairs team. He oversees a team of recruiters dedicated to educating, recruiting, hiring and retaining veteran talent and currently manages 30K job openings. After retiring in 2014, Beau attributes landing both of his post-military jobs to networking and making connections. As someone who has hired thousands of veterans, Beau brings a ton of value to this episode in speaking about job search strategies related to resumes, job interviews, networking and finding the right culture fit.
Beau’s Lessons Learned:
- Beau never lost touch with his friends from high school and college. Keeping these connections helped him to maintain his identify apart from the military. Don’t insulate yourself from the world outside of the military by maintaining your connections and relationships.
- The hardest part of the transition is figuring out what to do next. After many years of being told what to do, it can be overwhelming. Just start by talking to people and asking questions in conversations to ask:
- What do you do in this career field
- What does a day in the life look like
- Start networking with your closest circle of friends and family. Get your name out there that you are interested in seeking a new career. Have conversations with people, whether you want to work in their company or industry or not, so they keep you in mind as they meet other people.
- Many veterans have a hard time asking for help. Go into your networking conversations with the mentality of “how can we help each other” and it will change your mentality.
- Veterans are also often nervous about asking for help even after they start new roles. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, ask for clarification on tasks or ask for help.
- Amazon is much more than just warehouse workers. They hire doctors, lawyers, policy people, pilots, human resources and more. There are multiple branches of Amazon that are hiring. He serves as a consultant to all the businesses in Amazon to build their military and military spouse hiring programs. They have several different programs:
- SkillBridge internship programs
- Military Pathways – a fast-track program for the last year of military service
- Amazon Technical Apprenticeship Program – IT apprenticeship for all military career fields
- Programs to attract and hire minority veterans, female veterans, disabled veterans, veterans in technology and student veterans
- Have a focus, don’t approach recruiters saying, “I’ll do anything anywhere.” Having a focus helps you match up with the right recruiter for the right role in the right organization.
- Beau hosts military recruiting program informational webinars where you can learn about their programs and speak directly to recruiters. This is the best place to start your search for military veterans. You can find the webinars at: https://amazonmilitarywebinarseries.splashthat.com/
- Every company has a unique culture, and it will not change to accommodate veterans. You must be able to understand the setting and adapt to be successful. Part of the job search is assessing the culture of the company to determine if this is going to be the right place for you. Take time to learn more about the company’s culture as part of your research process. Give some thought to what kind of culture and workplace environment appeals to you as an employee.
- You MUST take advantage of the opportunity to ask questions at the end of the interview. Ask questions that demonstrate that you have done your homework and are interested in working for their company. Don’t ask about benefits and salary, but ask about the company, its culture, the job’s priorities and your career path with the company.
- Some of the most common job search mistakes:
- Don’t apply for 30 jobs at one company at the same time. Beau calls this the “spray and pray” method. Amazon’s system can only hold one version of your resume, so applying to lots of different jobs will force you to have a generic resume that are not focused to any of the jobs.
- Don’t write your resume like a military evaluation. Translate your terms, show the data and metrics and talk about the impact of what you achieved as it relates to the job you are seeking.
- Check out Beau’s insight into the worst way you can answer the interview question “tell me about a time you failed.”
You can connect with Beau Higgins at https://www.linkedin.com/in/beauhiggins1/
At the end of the episode, we discuss the fact that our wizard behind the scenes, Charlan Rieve is out indefinitely as her son had a serious surgery last week. I started this fundraiser for her and would appreciate your support as we find a way to navigate this podcast without her!
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