Friday, February 28, 2014

Job Interviews - Details Do Count

I've blogged about proper attire to wear to an interview before, and proper interview preparation and presentation. Here are some real life experiences I've had relating back to feedback I've received from hiring managers after they've interviewed a candidate. Good illustrations to my previous points.

The below are samples of real feedback I've received, and  it is clear that details do count

  • Scot, great candidate, but he actually propped his feet up on my desk while we were talking. I like candidates to be relaxed, but that was a little too far.
  • Scot, the candidate was technically solid but they should have worn long sleeves. They had numerous scrapes up & down both arms. That came up in conversation and the candidate told me they had been transporting chickens in and out of cages the day before.
  • Scot, great candidate but they really should have brought another set of interview clothes. We met for dinner the night before the interview and the candidate got spaghetti sauce on their shirt. The next day during a full day of interviews in the office, they had that same shirt on with that same stain.
  • Scot, I liked the candidate’s technical claims experience, but I just can’t get past the strong smell of alcohol on their breath.
  • Scot, overall solid candidate, however details can be everything. The candidate came to the interview in a suit, but their shirt was partially untucked and their tie was loose. It just didn't seem appropriate for a first meeting.
  • Scot, I understand that not everyone can afford a new suit, but this candidate’s suit was clearly way too small and very outdated.
  • Scot, I really like the candidate but honestly could not get a word in edge wise during the interview.
  • Scot, good candidate but they blew it with me when they described their previous supervisor as a “crazy witch.”

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Background Checks - What You Need To Know

Background checks have become increasingly more common as part of the selection process. Typically the background check is not completed until it is determined that an offer will be extended or an offer has been extended. What I’m referring to is the credit, criminal background check. However, most companies will also check previous employment and education. These reports are often completed by a third party vendor that can uncover not only legal or criminal issues but also verify information found on resumes such as college degrees, previous employment and perhaps even professional licenses.

Some companies may just want to verify basic information while others may be digging deeper. For example if the position includes dealing with company finances the company may want to check to see if the candidate has had any bankruptcy which could point to the candidate having a problem handling their own finances effectively.

If unfavorable information is found on a background check it does not necessarily mean that the candidate will be eliminated. Employers may consider the severity of the issue. They may even give the prospective employee an opportunity to explain the situation. Given the state of the economy the last few years, bankruptcy and other financial issues are not uncommon. The attitude about bankruptcy has changed as well. It is not an immediate knockout these days.

The bottom line however is this…if you know you have an issue talk to the employer prior to the background check being completed. If there is an issue, it will be uncovered. It is always easier to explain something before verse after. Explain the situation in detail. If there is any documentation be prepared to share that as well.

This applies in particular to bankruptcies. There is no shame and again, it will be uncovered. It is something that typically can be explained to an employer’s satisfaction.