This week on Recruiter Fuel,Steve sat down with Recruiters Melissa and Andrew and brought in Megan to give some advice to her friend. A few weeks ago, Steve received an email from Megan, an Administrative Assistant at Qualigence, inquiring about some advice for a friend who was having some difficulties in the job market.
Megan went on to explain these “biases”, “it was comments that were made in the workplace that management didn’t find appropriate, but management also felt that my friend didn’t realize it was inappropriate. At a major university in a department that deals directly with students, you have to be very careful.”
This is where Megan’s email came into play. It’s been about a month since the incident happened and her friend has been struggling to find a new job, not only a job pertaining to her major but any job at this point.
“When you see someone, who is not currently working, from a recruiter’s perspective, how do you look at it?” Steve asked. Melissa responded, “As a recruiter, you should be going into it pretty open. Withhold from any prejudgments until you’re asking the candidate what happened.”
Andrew quickly replied that managers think they must not be that good. He continued, “The first thing I’ll ask when a candidate says they were fired is, ‘Was it just you that got let go or how many others did as well?’, if it’s something like 250 people, not a big deal. If the candidate was the only individual let go or if they had a story similar to the one Megan explained, I would write down verbatim what they said so that I can coach them on it later if they get to the interview.” Andrews believes that being direct with the hiring manager about being let go is the best thing a candidate can do.
Melissa’s advice? Be upfront and honest, but to a point where you’re not going to bash your previous company. It’s important for the recruiter to coach the candidate on how to talk about the situation honestly, but in an effective way that won’t hurt the candidate during the interview or put them in a bad position.
Steve asked, “How do you pose someone’s situation, that is similar to Megan’s friend, in the right way to be fair to the employer they’re going to?”
The candidate needs to confront the situation as, “here was what I did, here was my response about the situation, here is what I learned, and here is what I would do over again or next time. Steve agreed, “if you hide it, the issue could come out during a background check or legality issues could be involved.
Speaking as an employer myself, I’ll take a chance on somebody if they come to me and say, ‘Here’s what I did, this was viewed as the wrong thing. Here is what I learned from it, so this is never going to happen again.’ I’m more likely to take chance on someone who approaches the issue like that, rather than just saying they were fired and doesn’t give a lot of particulars behind it.” Being vague will stir up more questions in the employer’s mind so it’s important to cover all bases up front.
Andrew said that bringing it up and getting past it as soon as possible so you can talk about the rest of the skills and what else you can bring to the new job, rather than having a whole interview based around this one incident should be the candidate’s main goal.
“I don’t know how you not lie about it,” said Steve. Adding an explanation or saying, “talk to me for an explanation,” could help.
Melissa said to be honest and upfront. If you start the lie, it will follow you through the interview process and if you get to the end and they run a background check and find out, it will look even worse.
Andrew said that when a candidate tells a recruiter they were fired, a recruiter should handle it like a mother talking to their child when they did something wrong at school. “Ask ‘what did you do?’, following with question after question after question. Help the candidate practice with responding so that they do not get tripped up during their interview.”
Melissa and Andrew both agreed that it’s the recruiter’s responsibility to be upfront with the hiring manager. If the hiring manager finds out that the recruiter was aware of the situation and never said anything, that could upset the client and they might never work with you again and you're left with a bad reputation. In today's climate, something as big as “biases” absolutely needs to be brought up.
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