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Interview Dos and Don’ts from HR Recruiters

Interview Dos and Don’ts from HR Recruiters

You found the perfect company, sent over your resume and cover letter, and just got scheduled for an interview. Whether you’re a job-hunting pro or seeking a foothold in your new career, there’s often a mix of anticipation and anxiety about what to wear, what to say, and how to impress your potential employer.

So, we asked our Human Resource experts, what are the best practices that they recommend to nail an interview? Here are our California Casualty HR professional’s interview dos and don’ts:

First, don’t underestimate the importance of the initial phone interview. Many companies -California Casualty included- want to do a first interview over the phone. This is the first key step to get a face-to-face interview, and eventually the job.

 

DO:

  • Find a quiet place with good reception
  • Make sure your phone is charged
  • Research the company
  • Have your resume and notes in front of you
  • Remember to keep it conversational, but always be professional
  • Ask questions

DON’T:

  • Have pets or kids in the room
  • Use filler words like, “um” or “uh”
  • Do anything besides sit and talk (EX. having a side conversation, watching TV, doing the dishes, going to the bathroom) *Yes, these have all happened.*
  • Use profanity or slang
  • Automatically assume you will get an in-person interview

 

If you get invited to the next step, congratulations! Now it is time for an interview at the actual company. It is important to put your best foot forward and make a good, lasting impression with your potential employer.

 

DO:

  • Research the company and know what it does, its core beliefs and values, and how you might fit in
  • Know what job you are interviewing for and if you will be a good fit
  • Research “behavior-based interviews” (BBI)
  • Practice answering other common interview questions
  • Arrive early
  • Dress professionally (even if the company tells you they have a casual dress code, remember you are not an employee -yet- and are there to impress)
  • Bring a copy of your resume, cover letter, and any other requested documents or forms that you were asked to bring or complete
  • Be aware of your posture and non-verbal communication
  • Utilize eye contact
  • Be articulate and concise, and confident in your answers
  • Prepare and ask questions about the company or the specific job

DON’T:

  • Arrive late
  • Use slang, inappropriate language, or bad grammar
  • Slouch or fidget
  • Talk negatively about your current or past job and coworkers
  • Share too much personal information
  • Lie about past experiences or qualifications
  • Completely dominate the conversation
  • Make your first question about pay, sick time, or vacation
  • Show signs of panic when you don’t know an answer to a question
  • Be afraid to ask the interviewer to clarify a question

 

And lastly, don’t doubt yourself, you’ve got this! 🙂

 

At California Casualty, we serve American Heroes who are committed to making their communities better: educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. We are always looking for motivated individuals who are dedicated to providing a higher level of service to those who serve their communities. We invite you to learn more about exciting opportunities on our career page, https://www.calcas.com/careers.

We’re There With You

High Marks From Educators

The National Education Association Representative Assembly is an exciting and important gathering for the country’s educators. Every year, delegates from districts and states meet to share stories, learn new ideas, and set the agenda for tackling issues impacting public education. California Casualty continued our tradition of joining NEA Member Benefits to attend the conference and share the value of NEA membership.

This year’s RA was extra special. Not only were we able to connect with delegates from around the country, but the Member Benefits area was within earshot of the actual assembly. Brian Goodman, California Casualty AVP of Field Relations, was impressed as he witnessed the incredible dedication and energy of getting the NEA business done. “I was humbled and awed by all the organization and passion that went into the Assembly,” he said.

We work hard to honor your dedication to the teaching profession and your commitment to students and the community. It was gratifying for the California Casualty Partner Relations team to get a chance to greet many attendees who stopped by to say hello and spend time with the people they consider friends and cohorts. “We get members who have such an affinity for their local Field Marketing Manager that they want to say hello and share how close they feel with the Field team member they work with. These relationships are very real, and the delegates want us to know how proud they are of that partnership,” noted Brian.

An example of that appreciation comes from Ohio Education Association Regional Director Cristina Munoz-Nedrow, who shared how much she loves working with California Casualty’s Ohio Field Marketing Manager, Sharlie Trentman. “Sharlie has done an amazing job of building relationships with my staff in the field to promote the benefits of California Casualty. Just as important, she has built relationships with the local leaders and members in my region. I am always amazed at the number of members she knows and those who know her when I am at an event with Sharlie. She is a great ambassador for California Casualty and is always poised, professional and knowledgeable when attending local, regional or state level OEA events. I look forward to working with Sharlie for years to come, and want you to know that I so appreciate the work she does.”

Brian added that other NEA regional delegates dropped by to let us know how happy they are with California Casualty and all the company does for them. “They are very proud of the decision to be insured with California Casualty and want to say thanks.”

The working relationship between California Casualty and NEA Member Benefits pays dividends, especially for growing NEA membership. “Our Field team works as ambassadors for NEA Member Benefits, promoting the value and power of the organization. This partnership is strong, built on trust, respect, and a long history of providing exceptional insurance for educators,” Brian said.

 

Taking A Ride With First Responders

It’s not often the general public gets to experience the reality of being a firefighter or test out some of their tools. That’s why our New Jersey Account Relations Manager, Alina Fayerman, considers herself fortunate after spending an afternoon with the Wyckoff Fire Department. Alina always appreciates the opportunity to meet with the men and women who wear a uniform, but this visit was special. Bergen County’s new Fire Coordinator, Joseph Alvarez, invited Alina take a test ride in the department’s recently updated bucket ladder. Alina said it was a thrill to experience such an important piece of equipment for fighting fires and rescuing people. Alina also got to show off her special fire chief helmet.

TAKEAWAY:

We love hearing your California Casualty stories. Share them at our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/CaliforniaCasualty, or tell your colleagues and family about our exceptional service and have them visit www.calcas.com to learn more about what we do and how we serve you.  

Control the Chaos of Moving

August is prime moving season. It can be quite a task if you are packing up for your first apartment, or heading to your forever home. Not only do you need enough boxes, but you’ll soon be learning a new route to work or school, trying to figure out the parking situation, and going through the fun of setting up utilities, internet and other necessities. As you race around trying to get everything prepared, it’s easy to get frustrated or forget important things.

Here are some helpful packing tips that can make the effort a little easier:

  • Make sure you have enough boxes for your move (find a box calculator here)
  • Designate an “essentials” suitcase or bag for hygiene products, medications, toothbrushes, chargers and a change of clothes you’ll need for a few days (and keep in your car)
  • Keep clothes on hangers, zip tie them together and wrap them in plastic for easier transition into a new closet
  • Put fitted sheets on both sides of a mattress to protect it
  • Pack glass bottles in kids pool floaties to protect them from breaking
  • Wrap breakable dishware and glass in t-shirts or towels
  • Use painters tape to label electrical cords with the name of the corresponding appliance for hassle-free matching, and pack them in toilet paper or paper towel rolls
  • Put screws and other small hardware in sandwich bags and tape them to the piece they go to
  • Instead of using markers, use color-coded tape to designate where each box will go

 

Getting to your new home and realizing you left important things behind can be a real downer. Here’s a list of some essentials things you’ll want to do:

  1. Submit your change of address to the Post Office a couple weeks before your move – it often takes ten-business days to get processed
  2. Open a checking account in your new city a few weeks prior to the move
  3. Get copies of your family’s medical records and veterinary records for your pets, as well as copies of prescriptions you may need to transfer
  4. Have official copies of your child’s school records (needed to enroll them into a new school)
  5. Look for valuables you may have hidden around the house (jewelry, stamps, coins)
  6. Remember items you left at the cleaners (or the watch at the repair shop)
  7. Leave some cleaning supplies for the after-move clean-up
  8. Bring an extra roll or two of toilet paper (enough said)
  9. Leave behind the garage door opener – many people forget to take them out of their vehicles
  10. Gather all the house keys you have hidden or given to neighbors and friends, and to rekey the doors of your new place

You can find an easy to use, downloadable moving checklist here.

Here’s an important note: If you are renting a moving truck, most auto insurance companies don’t extend coverage to those type of vehicles, and auto insurance may not cover rental trailers. You should contact your insurance provider before the move, and consider buying the rental truck company’s liability, damage waiver, and cargo protection policies.

TAKEAWAY:

Are you ready to move? Download a renter’s moving checklist from our resources page, mycalcas.com/resources. Also, let one of our advisors make sure you have the coverage you need for your big move. Contact us at 1.800.800.9410 option 3.   

 

control the chaos of moving

Yes! Renters Need Insurance Too

Imagine the heartbreak of coming home to find burglars have cleaned out your valuables or that a fire reduced everything you owned to ashes. Having renters insurance can help you replace all that you lost and get you back on the road to recovery. If you don’t yet have a renters insurance policy, here are some facts that might convince you to do so.

  1. Your landlord’s insurance does not cover your possessions. It only protects the structure: roof, walls, etc. Their policy ends where the interior walls begin.
  2. You probably own more than you think. From kitchen goods and cookware, bedding, clothing, shoes, electronics and other household essentials, most people underestimate the expense to replace those items. Imagine how much it would cost to buy new furniture, clothes, personal items, computers, stereos, and electronics if they are stolen, damaged, or destroyed by a fire, water leak or a broken pipe.
  3. Renters insurance provides for the cost of meals and other expenses. This includes a temporary place to live (like a hotel) while your place is repaired or rebuilt after a claim.
  4. Renters insurance gives you liability protection if someone gets hurt at your place. It pays medical bills and some court costs if someone sues after an accidental fall on your steps or is bitten by your dog.
  5. For the protection it offers, renters coverage is very affordable. The Insurance Information Institute estimates the average policy costs $185 a year, just over 50 cents per day. The savings from bundling with an auto policy can make renters insurance practically free.

Plus, a renters policy from California Casualty protects your items away from home – like luggage lost on vacation, a camera or computer taken from your vehicle, and TVs and furniture in storage. Each policy also comes with free ID theft protection.

TAKEAWAY:

Make sure you have the protection you need as a renter. Contact one of our advisors to get coverage tailored to your specific needs at 1.800.800.9410 option 3, or visit www.calcas.com/renters-insurance.   

 

Building Stronger Hearts And Minds

“Learn, Adapt, Grow.”

Our Field Marketing managers are literally the “faces” of California Casualty, visiting schools, fire and police stations, hospitals and healthcare facilities, as well as attending group benefit fairs, orientations and charitable events. Year after year, they strive to improve on their skill sets to provide the best service for you and the groups to which you belong. Learn Adapt Grow

We believe strongly in investing time and effort to help them succeed. To facilitate this effort, our Field team attends a yearly Partner Relations Summer Meeting. The goal of the three-day gathering is to discuss best practices, share success stories, and learn new ideas. This year’s theme was “Learn, Adapt, Grow.”

Some of this year’s highlights included discussions about better time management, the importance of self-care, adapting to challenges in the insurance industry, and enhancing relationships with the groups/vocations that we serve. Our Field representatives came away with new valuable lessons on providing you with exceptional service.

Important breakout sessions included:

  • Understanding insurance fraud and how California Casualty protects customers from being victims of fraudulent activities
  • Products and services that differentiate California Casualty from other insurance companies
  • A refresher of the many tools California Casualty provides for informing group members about their auto and home insurance benefits and how to market them
  • The importance of helping individuals to strengthen our partnerships
  • A wellness presentation on simple tactics to stay healthy and how to be the best for others
  • A recognition ceremony and award presentation for the high achievers of our Partner Relations team

“I am amazed at how hard every one of our team works each day for our affinity groups and their members,” said Midwest Field Team Manager, Rebecca (Becky) Stumpf. “Sharing stories, having a better understanding of our products, and fulfilling our promises provides us better tools to serve and strengthen those partnerships.”

Amy Grosso, Assistant Vice President of Field Relations for the East, noted the value of the meeting to help build team unity and re-energize our Partner Relations team. “This is the one time, each year, that remote-based employees get together to build rapport, introduce new members, and recognize our annual award recipients. They leave this meeting with new ideas and energy that will enhance their relationships in the field and improve productivity,” she said.

Katelyn Hoffman, Field Marketing Manager for Missouri, said, “The amount of time and thought put into this meeting was amazing and truly appreciated. I am proud to be part of such an impressive organization – not only because the company is great, but I love our mission of helping those in public service create better lives for themselves and their families.”

California Field Marketing Manager Chris Renn and Washington Senior Field Marketing Manager Michelle Hawkins both agreed that the time spent at the meeting was not only valuable for them personally, but will enhance their efforts working with you. “I have a lot more tools to provide fresher and more specific information at the right time to better serve my groups,” said Chris.

Michelle added, “I always come back from the meeting with a huge to-do list. I am inspired by my peers to push myself a little more here and there to benefit our valued partners.”

You will soon be seeing our knowledgeable Field team members at your place of work or other work-related events. They will be invigorated to share the many ways California Casualty is looking out for you. They can also give you details on our many giving programs, like the $7,500 Garage Makeover for public safety, $2,500 Academic Award for educators, and the Music and Arts Grants for schools.

We appreciate all that you do, and our people are ready to serve you.

TAKEAWAY: California Casualty Field Marketing team members are in your community to meet you and show the benefits of our auto and home insurance through your affiliation. Learn more about our personalized service at www.calcas.com/why-california-casualty.

Annual Summer Meeting for Our Partner Relations Field Team

One of the keys to California Casualty’s success over the past 105 years is our Field Marketing team. They are literally the “faces” of California Casualty, visiting schools, fire and police stations, hospitals and healthcare facilities, as well as attending group benefit fairs, orientations and charitable events. They strive, year after year, to improve their skill set to provide the best service for members and the groups they belong to. California Casualty believes strongly in investing time and effort to help them succeed.

To facilitate this effort, our Field Marketing managers attend a yearly Partner Relations Summer Meeting. The goal of the three-day gathering is to discuss best practices, compare success stories, and learn new ideas. This year’s theme was “Learn, Adapt, Grow.”

Some of this year’s highlights included discussions better time management, the importance of self-care, and adapting to challenges in the insurance industry and the groups/vocations that we serve. Our Field representatives were given valuable lessons on individual changes they can make to help them provide you with more exceptional service, claims help, new products, and to communicate the value and benefits available for your specific needs.

“I am amazed how hard every one of the Partner Relations members works each day for our partners and their members,” said Midwest Field Team Manager, Rebecca Stumpf. “Sharing stories, having a better understanding of our products, and following up on our promise to help group members gives us all better tools to serve our groups, thus strengthening our ties with those groups.”

Amy Grosso, Field Team Manager for the East, noted the value of the meeting to help build team-unity and re-energize our Partner Relations team. “This is the one time, each year, that remote based employees get together to build rapport, introduce new team members, and recognize our annual award recipients. They leave this meeting with new ideas and energy that will enhance their relationships in the field and improve productivity,” she said.

Katelyn Hoffman, Field Marketing Manager for Missouri, feels that the training will benefit her and the partner organizations that she works with. “The amount of time and thought put into this meeting was amazing and truly appreciated. I am proud to be part of such an amazing organization – not only because the company is great, but I love our mission of helping those in public service create better lives for themselves and their families.”

California Field Marketing Manager Chris Renn and Washington Senior Field Marketing Manager Michelle Hawkins both agree that the time spent at the meeting was not only valuable for them personally, but for their efforts working with you. “I have a lot more tools to provide better, fresher, and more specific information at the right time to better serve my groups,” said Chris.

Michelle added, “I always come back from the meeting with a huge to-do list. I am inspired by my peers to push myself a little more here and there to benefit our valued partners.”

And, first-year New Jersey representative, Nikisha Feliciano, observed that the meeting has given her a new confidence in her role. “It was great to meet my colleagues and share different scenarios on how to be better at our job. I have a better understanding of our company and what it represents.”

Nikisha added that as a new employee, “I am honored to work with such an amazing group of people, and I am very grateful for the training and opportunities that have been offered to help me be more successful.”

We appreciate all that you do. Our employees are ready to provide you with the quality service and special benefits that you deserve.

 

TAKEAWAY: California Casualty Field Marketing team members are in your community to meet you and show the benefits of our auto and home insurance through your affiliation. Learn more about our personal touch at: calcas.com/why-california-casualty.

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