This past Sunday morning on “Hard Workah,” we spoke with professional recruiters about some funny stories. I’ve gathered some Do’s and Don’ts from those embarrassing situations (you know, just in case you were thinking about committing the listed offenses) and here they are!
Before I continue: Yes, these are real stories. And yes, these are real tips. These kinds of stories remind of #dogshaming pictures like the one below, so join me in envisioning them like this.
1 – “I turned my Interview into a Tinder Date”
Don’t flirt with your recruiter
Kumi: …I don’t know, but he essentially — I would redirect my questions, I would say like, “so where do you want to be in five years?” And he’d like take my hand, legitimately, and give me really intense eye contact and that’s too much. And he’s like, “well, I want to know more about you. What do you want? Is this what you’ve always wanted to be here? I mean, and also where did you get that dress? Because you look amazing in it, but also what are you doing after this?’”
Do act professional in the interview/professional space
Kumi: Oh yeah. No, absolutely. And I basically say these are “ no-no’s” in the interview process and I would say please don’t like grab your recruiters hand or the hiring manager’s hands and ask them out for coffee later.
Patricia: Yes, correct. That’s actually way more common than you think. We get a lot of people trying to pick us up on LinkedIn, too. LinkedIn is strictly a professional website. Folks, do not use LinkedIn for trying to get to know me better personally.
Unfortunately, dating is hard these days BUT it does not mean you should start practicing your “moves” on recruiters. K.I.P.P. Keep it Professional, People. Keep your space; speak only about the job and your qualifications. If the recruiters say, “tell me about yourself,” then speak about your professional experience(s) with a light hint of your personality. Avoid speaking about your deep personal life, especially as it relates to “finding the one.”
2 – “I bad-mouthed my previous employer”
Don’t speak negatively about your past employers
Alex: So, that seems to be a common theme that we hear every day. Right? They come in for the interview and for some ungodly reason they believe ‘if I bashed the last person I worked for, my prior manager or a prior company, this is going to make me look really good in front of my new prospective employer.’
Kumi: No, wrong way to think for sure.
Alex: But this happens every day, right?
Kumi: Does it happens very often and I always find myself having to have that discussion with the candidate and [retrain]. Like, do not talk negatively about your previous employers. If they pry and continue asking you the same question over and over about why you left a position, you just give them a blanket statement, “not the right fit moving forward with something else.”
Do redirect and make it positive.
Kumi: If they pry and continue asking you the same question over and over about why you left a position, you just give them a blanket statement, “not the right fit moving forward with something else.”
Patricia: …if it’s starting to go in that direction, the right thing to do is always say not what wasn’t good, but what you’re looking for versus what you’re not looking for
Speaking negatively about your previous employer DOES NOT make you sound trustworthy or loyal. Therefore, prevent all negativity and focus on moving forward in a positive light. Let’s look over Patricia’s example:
Employer: “why did you go? why did you leave?”
You: “Because I’m looking for a larger company with more opportunities.”
Employer: “Do you have experience in this?”
You: “Oh, I’m familiar with that and I can do this AND this and this as well.”
These tactics keep your value and your skills the focus of the interview.
3 – “I posted a ‘good’ picture of myself on Facebook”
Don’t post things you wouldn’t want other professionals to see
Alex: That’s another piece – a “Pete-ism,” he said make sure you’re congruent, too right? So, you can’t have in your professional life to the suit and tie picture and then have your Facebook with big rants on them, going off on that the companies that you’re looking to go to work for. And that’s kind of part of the interviewing process now, right? Not only do you look at their professional site, but you’re also going in and looking at people’s personal sites as well to determine, you know, a little bit more about the person before you actually do the interview.
Patricia: It’s actually great that you bring that up because we had somebody — I mean she was great over the phone. It was for a recruiting job that we were working for and this person, she’s had great experience, very personable, loved her, but her Facebook had some risqué photos; a little too much to show. So, she made it through an interview, and then that company, themselves, rejected her because of that. So you know, make them private, make them professional because we will find out.
“There’s a difference between a good picture of you and a professional picture of you.” – Pete
Do make all your sites (personal or professional) congruent
LinkedIn should only be used for professional purposes. LinkedIn is a professional website, so ensure everything is up to date and correct. It should be an online version of your resume.
Since recruiters conduct a thorough search on their candidates for the companies, make sure your social profiles are either private/unsearchable or that you simply don’t post controversial or private matters. This could cost you your job.
4 – “I ‘Catfished’ my Recruiter” and “I used a picture from Google as my excuse”
Don’t falsify information
Patricia: Super interesting. I had a person come into the office. I interviewed we went over their resume. She was — great. She had the experience I was looking for this particular position, which was one of those direct starts where we would send them right to the company to start. So I was really excited. I called her a couple days later to offer her the job and when this person picked up the phone, [it was] very clearly a different person over the phone. I mean probably say that they were [older], then they were like, ‘oh yeah, I was in your office the other day. Yeah, the interview went so well. I’m so excited to get started’. I’m like, [you] just clearly sound 30 years older…
Kumi: I had a candidate that reached out to us actually and was like, ‘oh, I’m going to be late. I was in a car accident, had to go to the ER and was in this car accident with my sister’… She ends up reaching out to us via email and saying like, ‘Hey, just so you know, here’s a picture of the car accident. And luckily, my cousin is going to be fine.’
Forgot that it was her sister in this car accident with her. This was supposedly a picture of her car and the damage that had occurred. And so my coworker, she is kind of like P.I (Personal Investigator) on her own accord, something like clicks off in her mind and she says, ‘That looks super familiar. Let’s put this into Google images.’
So we do and it’s the first picture that pops up on Google. So, I call her out and I say, ‘Hey there. So, how’s everything going with your family member?’
And she’s like, ‘Oh. So… my aunt’s fine.’ But did you get that picture I sent?’
And I was like, ‘Yeah, I got it from you and Google crazy, right?’
She goes, ‘ah, so, um,’ and she hung up on me. So I was thought, ‘cool, you’re fired though.’
Do have open communication with your employer and be transparent
Employers are looking for loyal employees, more specifically, employees who can communicate. Don’t start off with the wrong foot by giving false information. Whether that is sending a different person into interview for you or simply entering inaccurate data on your resume, just refrain from doing it. Instead, focus on your value by understanding the company’s goals and problems and effectively communicate how you are able to fill that gap.
And if you do land the job, keep that job by showing up and driving up results. If you cannot make it in due to an emergency, then again, use that open line of communication and let them know. Most employers know that emergencies happen, but cannot help if you do not tell them. Do avoid lying about an emergency. It cannot be stress enough: simply, do not lie.
And there you are, my friends! May your interviews be less awkward and may you bounce back quickly, if theya are!
To listen to the full conversation, go to the Pete the job Guy Podcast here.
In this episode, Alex the Hard Workah speaks to professional recruiters Patricia Knott and Kumi Royal and we learn more about how recruiters work for us…and for a very low price of “free.”
Lori Day, Senior Vice President, Chief Customer Operations Officer, Everbank/TIAA and Pete the Job Guy go through an interview, from the company’s perspective. They will explore what employers are looking for in interviews and why. Get a leg up on your competition and see how you can put yourself ahead of the crowd and land your “destination employer.”