I was recently interviewed about my writing and books by Dawn Brotherton of Blue Dragon Publishing – wanted to share the interview with you!

Blue Dragon Publishing: You give a lot of good tips on federal employment.  How long did you work for the government?

Susan Custard: My experience and expertise in Federal employment are based on my 31 years with the Federal government, serving in progressively responsible human resources positions, with an emphasis on staffing and placement.  During my career, I often gave workshops to agency staff to assist them in applying for agency jobs, and frequently counseled on career management and growth. 

BDP: The books are written like workbooks.  Do you use them for teaching materials?

Susan: The majority of my books are based on topic-specific training materials – and I’m proud to say that I now teach from the books rather than a Powerpoint presentation in my workshops.  The books have transformed my teaching materials into viable, hands-on tools that will serve training participants far into their HR or management careers.

BDP: Where do you offer workshops?

Susan: The majority of my workshops are offered in the Washington DC metropolitan area, in partnership with Hemsley-Fraser, Inc., a global training and development company.  We leverage my technical expertise with their learning and growing best practices to create and deliver “5-star” rated workshops in a variety of areas, including position classification, position management, Senior Executive Service applications, and other topical workshops to assist HR specialists in constant improvement!  Current workshop offerings can be found on my website at http://custardconsulting.com/training-publications/.

BDP: Can you explain some of the organizations you are part of?

Susan: I’ve  been a member of, and certified by the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) for many years, and frequently attend their conferences and training for my own development.  I’m also a member of the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD), the National Association of Professional Women(NAPW), and several veterans organizations.

BDR: You’ve written three books so far.  Are there more coming?

Susan: I currently have a book under development that covers reduction-in-force (RIF) and furloughs in the Federal government – these are areas that will be critical knowledge for HR specialists over the next 5-10 years of continued resource constraints and limited processes for career management and placement of excess staff.  I anticipate the book to be completed in late 2013. 

BDP: What are you working on now?

Susan: In addition to the RIF book mentioned above – I’m developing course materials designed to train HR specialists and managers in risk management.  I feel that if HR specialists are better at articulating risks, benefits and options to management, management will be positively positioned to make good people decisions, while mitigating risks to their agency and the government as a whole.

BDP: Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Susan: I don’t know that I’ve always wanted to be a writer – I’ve just always had strong writing skills that have continued to improve over time. As a writer, I’m always open to feedback and looking for ways to improve my writing – which takes time and energy! 

BDP: How else do you apply your HR expertise?

Susan: My company, Custard Consulting LLC, provides a variety of HR consulting services to various government agencies; some of my clients are the US Department of Transportation (DOT), the US Coast Guard (USCG), the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Naval Research Laboratory, and the Environmental Protection Agency.  We’ve completed projects encompassing workforce planning, classification reviews, position management reviews, delegated examining audits, insourcing expertise and other client-centric projects.  We use the Custard Consulting website to share information regarding a variety of HR topics and issues – a good source for all HR specialists.

Custard Consulting LLC is a small, veteran-owned, woman-owned small business, certified by the Veterans Administration, the Small Business Administration, and has been awarded a GSA Contract under Schedule 738X – see my website for more information!

BDP: As an entry-level HR specialist, how will your books help me?

Susan: For an entry-level HR specialist, I would recommend “Managing the Maze – Your Guide to Position Management and Position Classification”.  This book provides real-time classification examples and “rules of the road” culled from senior classifiers.  In many cases, the book picks up where OPM guidance, such as The Classifier’s Handbook, and The Introduction to the Position Classification Standards leaves off, offering operational guidance and suggestions to assist entry-level HR specialists and classifiers.