Over the past 10 years, Panasonic of North America has transformed itself from a maker of clock radios and televisions for consumers into a source of cutting-edge technology to other companies. Among its growing businesses, Panasonic supplies lithium-ion battery cells for Tesla vehicles and solar cells for the company's solar roofs.
As Panasonic prepares to celebrate its 100th anniversary next year, it is rapidly expanding its U.S. workforce. Panasonic North America will make over 3,000 new hires this year alone. And the person who oversees all of that hiring is Tina Slattery, director of talent acquisition at Panasonic North America. She recently shared some advice with for getting hired at Panasonic -- or anyplace.
Steven Greenberg: Panasonic conducts thousands of job interviews a year. What are two of the biggest mistakes that even candidates with good resumes make?
Tina Slattery: One is bashing your current or former employer. Hiring managers care more about the experiences, skills and competencies you have rather than how much you hated your last boss.
Second, not taking the opportunity to learn more. When the interviewer asks, "Do you have any questions about us?" do not say "no." This is your chance to find out firsthand more about the company, job role, culture and more. This is a prime opportunity for you to find out if you can really see yourself working there.
Steven: What's the best question a candidate ever asked you in an interview?
Tina: One candidate turned the tables on me. She asked about my own experience in Panasonic. Her question was, "Knowing what you know about Panasonic after being here for a number of years, would you have done anything differently and/or better to grow your career and network yourself in the company?"
Steven: What is the most valuable career advice you ever received?
Tina: Do not sit back and wait for someone to make the changes you seek. Take control and own your career. Be proactive and stay motivated. My drive and energy got me where I am today.
Steven: OK, this one's for high school and college students (and their concerned parents): Is it OK to major in the liberal arts? Does Panasonic hire philosophy, history and sociology majors?
Tina: Yes! Panasonic is in the midst of a business transformation in which we are becoming a company that provides integrated technology solutions for our [business-to-business] customers. While a specific college degree is important for functions like engineering and software development that relate to solutions building, there are also many departments that will hire talented people with diverse majors.
Steven: In my experience, too many candidates send out the same generic resume dozens of times and then they wonder why employers don't respond at all. What do you think?
Tina: People should tailor their resume to the job they are applying for. I know this can be cumbersome if you are applying for many jobs, but you need to align your resume to the role you are interested in. Showcase your accomplishments and where you want to focus your career. Also, be sure to check your spelling and grammar! You'd be surprised how many applicants don't.
Steven Greenberg is the host of CBS News Radio's "Your Next Job," a daily feature offering career-related news and advice. He's also a consultant to HR tech company Traitify.com. Send him your career questions at email@example.com.