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NEWS | June 3, 2022

NSWCPD Aims to Help Employees Ace the Internal Interview Process

By Jermaine Sullivan

The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Philadelphia Division Women’s Employee Resource Group (WERG) and African American Resource Group (AAERG) collaborated to produce an interview skills virtual workshop recently to help future applicants be prepared for what many consider to be a stressful undertaking.

Curated by NSWCPD’s Edward Carter, an acquisition manager; Allyson Jones-Zaroff, a branch manager, and Alaina Farooq, a contracting liaison officer, this session was a continuation of a recently conducted a resume building workshop.

By regularly holding such training sessions, NSWCPD’s ERGs help further foster a key command mission priority: To serve the U.S. Navy warfighter by empowering, equipping, and continuously educating an inclusive and talented workforce.

The nearly 90-minute session began with an overview of NSWCPD’s interview process that differs from private industry’s typical process.

In the private sector, interviews are usually structured to be conversational with questions added or subtracted based on the how the interview is going. However, interviews with NSWCPD are structured to include five to seven open-ended questions with the interview panelists taking copious notes, but not actively engaging the candidate.

Both Jones-Zaroff and Carter advised that candidates should “do their homework” and that it’s best to answer the questions to the fullest.

“Your answers will be evaluated based on a predetermined evaluation criteria … Be very clear about what question you are answering … If you just start talking and don’t tell us what it pertains to, (shakes head) no points,” Jones-Zaroff said.

“While the interview panel has read your resume it’s not going to carry into the interview, so you have to make sure that you detail that experience that you have. Because while it might be in the panelist’s head that ‘oh yeah I remember she said she did this,’ if you don’t say that, it’s not going to count towards your score,” Carter added.

The interview panel includes multiple members, some of whom may work directly with the candidate if selected for the position while others may be from another department.

“I was pregnant when I was applying for my branch head position … The EEO (Equal Employment Opportunity) rep would have made sure that never came up in the evaluation discussion,” Jones-Zaroff noted.

“Don’t get too in the weeds that someone who is not in your job doesn’t know what you’re talking about,” Carter advised.

“After the interview is over the panel will collectively decide if they want to proceed with hiring the candidate. Fortunately, if the panel decides to not hire the person, the candidate can ask for feedback,” Jones-Zaroff said, adding that the panel is there to help the candidate be successful and can provide the person with feedback to apply in a future interview.

To further prepare employees, the WERG and AAERG coordinated several mock interviews with NSWCPD managers on April 5 and 6. Monica Schrank, Steven Crowell, Joseph Amato, Carter, and Jones-Zaroff were some of the panel members who participated in the mock interviews, while Felicia Powell was one of the interviewees.

“The mock interview experience was fantastic. …This is going to have such a rippling impact on our workforce being prepared to build their careers and transform the morale about career opportunities within the Enterprise.” Powell said.