Written on August 29th, 2018 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Question 1 of 30
What type of manager brings out the best in you?
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The interviewer wants to see that you are self-aware and understand the type of manager or employer that brings out the best in you. Some individuals prefer a close working relationship with a lot of accountability, while others prefer space and autonomy. If you are unsure of the management style of the interviewing company, try to leave your answer as open as possible. You can certainly ask the interviewer to describe their management style.
"I have worked with a wide range of personalities and management styles with great success. If I could express a preference, I feel that I am best with a manager who allows me autonomy while still investing time in me through mentorship and training. Can you describe the management style here?"
"In the past, I have worked best with managers who are strong mentors but also offer autonomy when it comes to the tasks they know I am well versed in."
Woolworths believes in giving back to the community where we live. Have you ever volunteered?
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Did you know that, according to LinkedIn research, 1 in 5 hiring managers prefers to hire candidates with volunteer experience? This question is an excellent opportunity to discuss how you are involved in your community and that you commit time to help others. If you have volunteer experience, you have a leg-up on other candidates.
Many non-profit organizations have a long onboarding process with background checks and references required so if you need to gain volunteer experience pronto, here are some options for a quick turnaround:
- Raise money for a cause, like the Red Cross
- Donate blood on a regular rotation or organize a blood drive
- Have a craft or bake sale to raise funds for a charity close to your heart
- Run in a charity race where financial pledges are required
- Advise high-school and University students on a crowd-sourced advice platform like CareerVillage
- Write articles for non-profit organizations, for free
- Sponsor a business owner in a third world country using a platform like Kiva.org
- Volunteer at your church camp
- Clean up a local park
- Volunteer to tutor a student
- Foster animals for a rescue society
"I currently volunteer every Saturday at the local animal shelter. I help to organize adoption applications and also screen the applicants. It feels great to help out, and it melts my heart when we make a perfect pet-parent match."
"I like to spend my extra time volunteering at the Children's Hospital. My little brother was very sick a few years ago and the efforts the staff put in to save his life were unforgettable. I vowed that I would help whenever I could. I have met some great people this way, and it's been an excellent method for building my network in the city as well."
When have you received exceptional customer service? What made the experience stand out?
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The interviewer wants to hear your excitement when it comes to being the recipient of excellent customer service. The way you answer this will show the interviewer that you are well aware of the difference between average and exceptional! Keep your answer brief, explain the situation, and what you did to express your thankfulness for the stand-out service.
"I was recently at a gas station where the pumps were both full service and self-serve. I accidentally went to the self-service bay and sat, waiting for service, silly enough. The gas attendant came running out and pumped my gas anyways. It was nice of him to do that, and so I tipped him a few extra bucks."
"Working in retail, I have seen all types of customer service nightmares. There is a store in the mall where I work that I like to go to when I am on a break. I went to look for a particular shirt that I saw in their online store, but they did not have my size. The sales person ordered it for me from another location and had it waiting for me the next time I went back. I didn't ask for that service, but it was cool that she took the initiative. Of course, I bought the shirt. I brought her a Starbucks latte later as a thank-you gesture."
Excellent customer service goes beyond your ordinary expectations, and it's more than having a smile on your face when the customer is looking. Excellent customer service means that you actively seek out the opportunity to deliver more than the standard. It means thoroughly listening to your customers when they tell you what they need. Also, it equals offering support when your customer may be a little bit in over their head. Be sure to echo the jargon used on the Woolworth's website and social media accounts when it comes to keywords related to their customer service mantra. Keep your answer brief but ensure that it packs a punch.
"I define good customer service as actively seeking out opportunities to give the customer a better experience than they expect, or perhaps had the last time. I know that the goal at Woolies is to have customers put us first, across all brands."
"Ensuring that my customers are satisfied with their experience every time. That is what good customer service means to me. This level of service may mean bending the rules a touch to deliver what they need. For instance, I will extend the return policy by a reasonable amount if it means a happy customer who will give a solid review."
What are some things that could improve the current state of our store?
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Some Woolworths locations are newer than others so, depending on where you are interviewing, the store may need some upgrades. Keep in mind that the interviewer is looking to see how observant you are, how invested you are in joining the organization, and how proactive you are. You want to avoid sounding negative or knocking down the efforts of the store manager. Give a recommendation that is valuable but not overly critical.
"I noticed that this location is an older store than others I have been to in the past. I am sure that it's on the list for some renovations and that is the only obvious thing that I observed. A little pick-me-up is always a great idea!"
"I have been to this location a few times and have noticed that there are some products and services not offered here, that I have purchased at other Woolworths locations. I would love to see a larger selection of fresh produce and custom cakes available at the bakery."
6. If a customer approached you at our supermarket, asking for a meal recommendation, what would you do? Many times, supermarket shoppers will be curious about new brands or products they have never come across. They may ask you what it is, how to cook it, or what it tastes like. All of this is part of your customer service duty when working for Woolworths. The interviewer would like to know if you are knowledgeable in the areas of cooking. There is no real right or wrong answer here, but you should avoid sounding utterly stumped. Here is an answer example: "If a customer asked me for a meal recommendation, I would ask a couple of discovery questions such as 'what kind of foods do you dislike?' and 'do you have any food allergies?' From there, I would give them my favorite chicken alfredo recipe, with recommendations to tweak it if they were lactose intolerant, or a vegetarian. I love to cook so it would be fun to help people decide what is for dinner!" Here is an answer example: "I love to barbeque so most of my meal recommendations would be simple and easy. Protein, lots of seasonal vegetables, and a delicious potato dish. I may not be the best cook, but the few recipes that I do know are delicious."7. Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond for customer service. Woolworths is known for their excellent customer service, and one of their goals is, 'to have customers put us 1st, across all our brands.' As you may already know - this means putting the customer first! The interviewer is looking for a specific answer that showcases your ability to deliver excellent customer service. You need to go beyond 'service with a smile' when answering this question. Make your reply memorable! This question offers you an excellent opportunity to be a stand-out candidate. Here is an answer example: "I often look for opportunities to go over and above when it comes to customer service. One memorable time was when a senior woman was struggling to get her groceries into her car. I was on break but saw her through the window. I ran out and greeted her, asking if I could assist. She was so thankful that she ended up calling my manager that day to compliment my kindness." Here is an answer example: "Customer inquiries come through my service desk at a rapid rate whether it be through email, voicemail, in-person, or social media. I make it my aim to never leave for the day until every inquiry has a response. This commitment may mean staying late an extra hour sometimes, but my valued customers are worth the added effort."8. Are you able to safely lift objects over 30 pounds? Part of working in a retail position may be accepting new stock or sending out deliveries. These tasks could require some heavy lifting. If you are working for a Woolworths supermarket, you could be lifting bulky grocery items for customers, and stocking shelves with large flats of water, for instance. Your reply does not need to be overly detailed. Be honest, and concise.
For example, if you can lift over 30 pounds: "I am physically fit and able to lift heavy objects, up to 50 pounds or more. Also, I have received training on safe and proper lifting." Here is an answer example: "I am physically fit and able to lift heavy objects, up to 50 pounds or more. Also, I have received training on safe and proper lifting." Here is an answer example: "If you cannot lift over 30 pounds: "I can do some lifting, such as helping customers with their groceries or placing heavy objects into their carts, for instance. However, 30 pounds would be too strenuous for me."9. Tell me about your experience, the last time you shopped at a Woolworth's store. First, the interviewer is looking to see if you shop at Woolworths at all. It is imperative, before going into your interview, that you visit the store where you will be interviewing. Consider the visit similar to a mystery shop. Be sure to take note of the store cleanliness, if someone friendly greeted you, and if the store was well-stocked.
Second, the interviewer wants to see some excitement and enthusiasm when it comes to their store, and Woolworths in general. Deliver a positive and upbeat answer. Here is an answer example: "This particular store happens to be my neighborhood supermarket! We lovingly call it 'Woolies' around here. I enjoy shopping here because the hours are accommodating with my school schedule, and you are always well-stocked. Also, it is never awkward with the cashier. Everyone is friendly and talkative. These are just a few of the reasons why I applied to work here." Here is an answer example: "Before applying to Woolworths, I visited this specific location to observe the workplace environment, the types of customers you had, and the products and brands that you carry. I was more than impressed! Your team seemed to like the work they were doing, and they were very respectful and helpful to the customers. I see that you carry some of my favorite brands, which is a major bonus. I look forward to joining your positive team!"10. How do you handle situations that could cause you to be late or miss work? Proper planning will get you far, but sometimes life happens, and you'll need a plan B. Think about some of the variables in your life that could affect your ability to arrive on time for work. Sick children, traffic, car breakdowns. The list goes on. It may not be possible for everything to work out so smoothly, getting your shift covered or still making it to work on time. Your interviewer is looking to see that you are proactive and that you can handle the stress of unexpected situations that can arise. Here is an answer example: "I stay calm and composed when issues arise. My dad got rear ended one time when driving me to school. I texted my friend to see if she could tell my teacher what happened. I explained the situation to my teacher when I got to class. If this happened on my way to work, I would call ahead of time to ensure someone could cover my shift." Here is an answer example: "I hope never to be late! When I started working at a restaurant at sixteen years old, we were taught the adage of 'if you're on time, you're late,' so I've worked to implement that into my life. I always try to arrive 15 minutes early, but there are unforeseen circumstances that can arise. I handle surprises using common sense and keeping courtesy to others top of mind."11. Do you have reliable transportation? Even if you're not expected to drive for the job, you will need to have some form of reliable transportation. If you take the bus or ride a bike, that works too! Merely share that you have the means to get to work consistently and on time. The interviewer would like to hear that you are reliable and will not be the employee that is always late, blaming transportation issues. Here is an answer example: "I have reliable transportation. I own a well-maintained vehicle, and I am comfortable with the amount of travel required to get to your office every day." Here is an answer example: "I take public transit; however, I find it to be very reliable. I was late to work only once last year, and that was due to a snowstorm which stalled all of our employee's commute - including those with personal vehicles. Rest assured, I am reliable and will always come to work on time."12. What are your salary expectations? The best way to discuss your salary expectations is to use your current earnings as an example. Be open, and honest. Transparency is the best choice when salary based questions arise. Here is an answer example: "Currently, I earn a base salary of $45,000 per year for full-time work. Last year my earnings were $52,000 with overtime and vacation pay. I would like to stay in the same range or slightly higher." Here is an answer example: "I am currently making $12/hour with health benefits. I am looking for compensation that is aligned with the role and provides an opportunity for further earnings."13. We need reliable people on our team at Woolworths. How many days were you absent from work last year? Imagine the amount of work that goes into hiring, training, and retaining all of the employees of Woolsworth! The company has over 200K employees! Every minute matters when you rely on such a massive volume of employees. Part of being a diligent employee is to ensure that you are always on time and present when expected. It's great to even be 10 minutes early rather than just showing up right on the dot. Talk to the interviewer about your attendance. Here is an answer example: "I had zero unexcused absences last year. In total, I took 12 vacation days out of my 15 allotted days. I was sick just 2, and a note from my doctor accompanied those. Once I was late due to a terrible snow storm, and I always try to be 10 minutes early for my shift." Here is an answer example: "I am very committed to my employer and am only absent in events of sickness or the odd family emergency. I do my best always to be available and present when expected."14. What type of work environment do you dislike working in? The interviewer would like to see that you are pretty flexible in your ability to work in most environments. Have you experienced a position where the atmosphere wasn't conducive to your productivity? Be sure to know the type of environment offered in this position before the interview. If you are not sure, feel free to ask! Here is an answer example: "I can be productive in most work environments, so long as the mentality is positive and teamwork is encouraged. I cannot work in an environment that feels negative or toxic. I have heard great things about the collaborative work environment offered at Woolies. Can you describe to me the work environment in this location?" Here is an answer example: "Rather than focusing on the negative, try spinning your answer into a positive focus: "I do best in a supportive environment where there is room to grow, the ability to ask questions, and healthy co-worker relationships. How would you best describe the work environment here?"15. Personality fit is important to us at Woolworths. How would you describe your personality? Woolworths advertises that they look for friendly people dedicated to customer service, and aim always to do the right thing. Remember that the interviewer is looking for more information on your personality traits versus your work skills. These examples could include energetic, confident, cheerful, cooperative and more. Here is an answer example: "I would describe my personality as approachable, light-hearted, and positive. I believe that, if asked, my colleagues and supervisor would say the same about me." Here is an answer example: "I am confident, friendly, and a go-getter. Are these personality traits that you are looking for in your next hire?"16. This position requires a flexible schedule as we are open evenings, weekends, and most holidays. Are you able to commit to these hours? Most Woolworths stores offer shoppers a wide range of hours including evenings, weekends, and holidays. This range in hours means that you may be required to take on a variety of shifts, and even split shifts. Assure the interviewer that you can commit to a wide range of hours. If there is anything in your schedule that may hinder your availability, be sure to address this. Here is an answer example: "I am happy to offer a flexible schedule and to work overtime as needed. I do take an evening college course on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so I would not be available those days after 5 PM." Here is an answer example: "I understand that this role will include working evenings, weekends, and holidays. I am available to work most hours and am happy to work overtime as well."17. How do you like to be recognized for your accomplishments? Woolworth's mission is backed by a promise of integrity which means treating their 200,000+ employees with respect and giving them the recognition they deserve. We all like recognition in some way for our accomplishments in the workplace. Share with the interviewer how you would want credit for your hard work.
Some ways you may like recognition for your work:
- Financial perks
- Public recognition
- Kind words
- Title promotions Here is an answer example: "I am very much an over-achiever and find that the best way for me to be recognized for a job well done is through words of kindness and recognition. I am easily encouraged, and the best reward for me is to know that my hard work makes a difference." Here is an answer example: "As a customer service and retail sales professional, I am driven by a challenge with a financial perk. Sales contests, for example, are a great way to motivate me."18. Have you researched our company values? What makes you the best candidate for Woolworths? Woolworth's mission statement is to be 'A business built on integrity.' They focus on delivering only the best when it comes to quality and value. It is incredibly important to research and understand their core values and mission statement before your interview. Discuss with the hiring manager why you think you are the top choice for this role with Woolworths by drawing a comparison to their company's core values, and your own. Here is an answer example: "I have researched your core values online and appreciate that you put your customers first while focusing on quality and convenience. I think that I would be the best person for this job because I have a great appreciation for what Woolworths is achieving in the retail marketplace." Here is an answer example: "Yes, I have researched your company, and greatly appreciate, and agree with, your approach to being a trusted business partner to thousands of local farmers and manufacturers. Integrity backs your business methods, and I too was raised with integrity being an important virtue."19. You will be responsible for a significant amount of cash and valuable merchandise at Woolworths. What would your most recent employer say about your character and honesty? Honesty is incredibly important when you are working in an environment where a multitude of cash transactions occur on a daily basis. Woolworths carries millions in stock and accepts thousands of dollars in cash every day. Assure the interviewer that you can be trusted by speaking about your character. Draw on the opinion of others to solidify your answer. Here is an answer example: "My most recent employer and all others would say that I have strong character and always choose honesty first. I have solid references who will attest to that as well. If you require a background check, I am happy to comply." Here is an answer example: "My most recent employer would say that I am a person of integrity. I fully believe in honesty at all times."20. In a retail environment, staff turnover is often high. How would you handle it if your co-worker did not show up for their shift? Woolies has a whopping 200,000+ employees! They make thousands of hires, both permanent and seasonal. Their dedicated in-house recruiters know precisely the types of people that will be successful in their organization; however, missteps happen, and sometimes people quit in unforeseen circumstances. Being flexible in your schedule is valuable to the hiring authorities at Woolworths. How would you handle it if your co-worker did not show up for their shift and you were asked to cover? Assure the interviewer that you are a team player but avoid looking desperate, saying you will do anything at any time. Be genuine and realistic. Here is an answer example: "I am more than willing to cover a shift for a co-worker if I am able. I don't mind accepting overtime hours and do consider myself to be a team player." Here is an answer example: "If a co-worker failed to show up for their shift, I would pick it up if possible. I always strive to be a team player."21. Working in a retail environment, you will sometimes come across rude customers. How would you handle a customer who is aggressive towards you or a co-worker? Woolworths does its best to curb customer disputes by offering a more than fair return policy and an ample amount of choices when it comes to brands and price points. However, retail and customer service based roles will still require diplomacy when it comes to working with the public. Discuss with the interviewer how you would handle an aggressive customer. Here is an answer example: "If I had a customer who was being aggressive and disrespectful, I would calmly but firmly ask them to calm down. If I needed to call security, I would do so. Everyone needs to remain respectful, and I would not hesitate to ask a customer to offer that respect, in return." Here is an answer example: "Most places that I have worked have procedures in place for these kinds of scenarios, and I am happy to follow the procedures put in place by Woolworths. I am sure your process is well thought out and effective. I do have some customer dispute resolution training that I could utilize as well."22. Tell me 3 qualities you possess that make you a strong fit for this position with Woolworths. Woolworths employs over 200,000 people who help nearly 30 million customers every week. To maintain their high level of customer service, they need to be choosy when it comes to the characteristics of those they hire. Before your interview, it is essential that you review the job description to give yourself a keen understanding of the qualities they desire in their successful candidate. Also, you will want to mention the organizations' commitment to their customers and their mission statement. Here is an answer example: "I have a lot of qualities that transfer well to the Woolworth's mission. The top ones would include my loyalty, the respect I give others, and my willingness to learn new skills on a regular basis." Here is an answer example: "Try to include a variety of words that the interviewer does not hear all the time. Be unique! Here are some ideas:
- Witty"23. At Woolworths, we firmly believe in grooming our employees into management roles as they show potential. Are you interested in potential leadership roles with us? Leadership at the retail level can open up many career options such as store management, district level leadership and even corporate opportunities. Woolworths has a significant stake in a multitude of industries, and for that reason, your options could be endless! Talk to the interviewer about any interest you have in gaining a leadership role down the road. Here is an answer example: "I would be very excited about obtaining a role in leadership within Woolworths in the future. I am prepared to express my interest through hard work and taking on leadership duties as you feel I am ready. I did see a job posting for a supermarket district manager role which looked very promising. I would love to work towards a leadership position like that one." Here is an answer example: "I have been in an unofficial leadership role for the past three years of my career. I believe that a management role with Woolies would be a great next step in my career."24. In our retail stores we take pride in our merchandising and displays. Do you consider yourself to be a creative person, capable of making an attractive retail display? Woolworths understands that a store planogram can make or break the ability to upsell and push particular products. Have you ever noticed that in a supermarket, the premium brands are always at eye level? Let the interviewer know that you understand the importance of proper merchandising and compelling displays. Do you have unique ideas that you can share with Woolworths in regards to their current merchandising? Show the interviewer that you understand the importance of an attractive retail display. Here is an answer example: "I have a strong creative flair and enjoy creating attractive displays. I think I have enough experience in retail to understand what attracts a customer and what prompts them to purchase. The displays I have seen in your stores are fascinating, and I would love to be a part of that creative flair." Here is an answer example: "I believe that with some training, I could very easily create some attractive displays. I have a natural flair for the creative and look forward to exercising that."25. This position requires you to wear a uniform to work. Have you worn a uniform in the workplace before? How do you feel about this? Woolworth supermarket employees are required to wear the Woolworths branded shirts and khaki style pants, usually in a dark color. Uniforms show professionalism and a cohesive brand. Talk to the interviewer about any times that you have been required to wear a work uniform. What are your thoughts on this? Be sure to keep your answer positive and avoid speaking poorly of the practice surrounding dress codes in the workplace. Here is an answer example: "I have worn a uniform for work at restaurant XYZ and when I was a retail manager for company ABC. I have seen the uniforms worn by the retail employees at Woolworths Ltd. and see that it adds a strong level of professionalism." Here is an answer example: "I think that uniforms are a great way to provide a feeling of unity in the workplace. I have seen your uniforms and am happy to comply. They look comfortable and yet professional."26. In this role you will be required to handle customer transactions. On a scale of 1-10 how strong are your mathematical skills? At Woolworth's you may be responsible for ringing in hundreds of transactions per week and, depending on your role, you may also be required to take care of balancing tills and preparing the end of day deposits. Assure the interviewer that you are comfortable with the math associated with handling cash transactions, performing inventory counts, and closing out tills. Here is an answer example: "I did very well in math during high school and am comfortable with the math skills required when it comes to accepting cash, balancing a cash float, and performing inventory-related tasks. I also took a couple of university-level calculus classes which may benefit me in this role as well." Here is an answer example: "My math skills are strong, and I am confident that I can meet your expectations when it comes to accepting payment from customers. In the five years that I have worked as a cashier, my till has been out only a couple of times. I am meticulous and accurate."27. We have an active employee honesty program in place at Woolworths to prevent loss. What would you do if you discovered that a co-worker was stealing a product or money? Woolworths is a multi-billion dollar company with thousands of employees. Loss prevention initiatives are mandatory, especially in an organization this massive. Discuss with the interviewer how you would handle a situation surrounding employee theft. Be sure to avoid sounding self-righteous in your answer. Be diplomatic and refer to company protocol in these situations. Here is an answer example: "My reaction to employee theft would differ if I were a retail associate or a retail manager. If I were a manager and caught an employee stealing, I would terminate them immediately. If I were an associate, I would report the incident according to company protocol. I would avoid approaching the employee as I would not want to make it a personal issue." Here is an answer example: "I value honesty so if I saw a co-worker stealing; I would tell my manager immediately. Could you tell me more about your process here at Woolworths?"28. At Woolworths we have a very clear return policy. How would you handle a customer who was arguing with you about a potential return? Woolworths has a generous return policy including a promise to cheerfully refund, exchange, or repair a product if the customer is unsatisfied. As a retail employee, you will still come across customers who want to argue with store policy, no matter how reasonable or flexible it may be. Assure the interviewer that you can handle a situation like this with poise while keeping the customer happy, and keeping the needs of the company in mind as well. Here is an answer example: "Return policies are in place for a good reason; however, there may be some exceptions allowed from time to time. I feel that having a satisfied customer is most important and sometimes refusing a return is not worth the bad word of mouth or risk of negative online review. There is a fine balance between being accommodating and being a pushover. If I were unsure of the best decision, I would ask my supervisor for clarification." Here is an answer example: "I have some dispute resolution training from my previous retail position and fully believe in the importance of flexibility in extreme situations. I have read through Woolworth's return policy and find it to be very generous and flexible."29. What do you know about Woolworths? Why do you want to work for us? Woolworth's Group includes many businesses such as supermarkets, liquor stores, gas stations, and even hotels. Because Woolworths is such a massive operation, there are many benefits to working for them including endless growth opportunities, substantial employee discounts, pension plans, and other employee assistance programs. Display your enthusiasm for the job by assuring the interviewer you have researched the organization and the role. Here is an answer example: "I have researched Woolworths a great deal and am very happy with the positive reviews I came across, online. I would love to work for a company with such a great reputation. I read on your website that you seek out those who are dedicated to your customers but also to upholding the Woolworth's vision to make communities better." Here is an answer example: "I want to work for Woolworths because I shop here all of the time. I love the quality of your products and your company culture of making a difference and delivering greatness, really speaks to me."30. Woolworths puts customer service first. How do you ensure that you always put the customers' needs first? Woolworth's business motto is 'A Business Built on Integrity.' The company is committed to an unwavering dedication to their customers. Their mission is to 'deliver the best in convenience, value, and quality for our customers.' Discuss with the interviewer how you ensure that your customers receive the best service from you. Here is an answer example: "I have a rule always to treat my customers how I would want treatment in a store or establishment. Customer service is vital to a company's success. I would most certainly commit myself to the Woolworth's mantra to deliver the best to customers through value and convenience." Here is an answer example: "I ensure that my customers' needs are met by actively listening to them and also asking the right questions. If I'm working on a task a customer has a question, I always stop and help them before going back to my job."
Author of Woolworths Answers and Questions
Rachelle Enns is a job search expert, executive headhunter, career catalyst, and interview coach. Utilized by top talent from Fortune companies like Microsoft, General Electric, and Nestle, she helps professionals position themselves in today's competitive digital marketplace.
Rachelle founded Renovate My Resume and Executive Resume Solutions, two companies focused on helping job seekers get their edge back. She helps everyone from new graduates looking for their first placement, to CEO's who want more out of their career.
Rachelle coaches students to executives on how to master the toughest interview questions and how to handle the most bizarre interview situations; all with confidence and poise.
Rachelle trains other career coaches, recruiters, and resume writers, globally. A big part of her job is also spent coaching HR professionals on how to bring the human touch back into their interview and hiring process.
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