What recruiters really hear when hiring

How one of the Lowcountry’s top recruiters finds top talent

By Leslie T. Snadowsky

Looking for a job as a kayak nature guide or a stand-up paddleboarder?

At Outside Brands’ Outside Hilton Head, Human Resources Director Susan Edwards, PHR, SHRM-CP, is looking for candidates with hospitable attitudes.

“The skills of the job, in terms of the technical aspects, those can always be taught,” she says, “but an outgoing, friendly personality is not something we can persuade as an employer.”

It’s a refreshing take on a challenging labor market where companies like this outdoor adventure, destination management and specialty retail business aren’t ruling out potential employees for possessing alternate skill sets. 

“When hiring, you need to be open-minded, especially in this day and age and with all the change we had to overcome this last year,” says Edwards. “Just remember skills are transferable from one industry to another.”

Edwards, who manages 120 employees, says the way an interviewee answers standard interview questions really can help her decide who would be an asset to Outside Brands.

When talking about accomplishments in a job interview, use words like “we” or “us” instead of “I” to show you are able to work with a team.

“If I ask what accomplishments you are most proud of, and you answer with ‘I did this,’ ‘I did that,’ you’re probably not going to be a team player,” she says. “If you say, ‘me and my team did this,’ or ‘we developed that,’ or ‘I participated on this,’ if you are able to give accolades to other co-workers, that’s going to show me you are someone who is focused on the team versus yourself.”

Edwards says when asked to reveal something that’s not on your resume, she wants to hear about the creative things you do in your spare time. “It shows me if you have ambition or initiative, and if you are active and not someone who is waiting for someone else to call you to go do something.”

How about the dreaded, “Tell me about a difficult work situation and how you overcame it,” question? “Always have one example ready, even if it’s from 20 years ago,” Edwards said. “Something about how you overcame a situation and the lessons you learned from it and how you moved forward from it. That’s what recruiters and hiring managers are looking for. It’s not necessarily hearing about what difficulties arose, but what happened after that difficulty and how you handled it after the fact.”



Two tips for making the right hire:

1. “Did the candidate show up 10 minutes prior to the interview?,” asks Edwards. “A candidate who shows up early is proving they are responsible and will be on time for work. Be sure to review their online profile or resume and have interview questions together well before the scheduled interview in case they arrive early. 

2. Did the candidate learn about the company before the interview? It may sound like a Job Interview 101 tip, but if you’ve taken the time to interview them, and they’ve taken the time to apply, they should have done their research about the company and position. 



Susan Edwards, PHR, SHRM-CP, director of human resources for Outside Brands, says you can make a good impression on your first interview by showcasing your personality and your hospitality.

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