4 Dos and Don’ts for Both Sides of the Interview Table

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As much as recruiting and hiring have changed over the years, a couple things have stayed constant and are likely to remain so: Recruiters want to know what candidates are looking for, and candidates want to make sure they don’t mess up the interview.

While these fundamental aspects of the recruiting and hiring process may always be with us, the surrounding system does change every once in a while. For that reason, working professionals on both sides of the interview table should pay close attention to the latest trends in hiring if they don’t want to risk losing valuable opportunities.

To get a look at the dos and don’ts of hiring for today’s candidates and recruiters, we turned to the the “2017 Recruiter Nation Report” from applicant tracking software provider Jobvite.

Candidates and Recruiters: Don’t Give in to Bias

It may be 2017, but 57 percent of recruiters say bias in the hiring process is still an issue for the American workforce, according to Jobvite’s report.

“Unfortunately, biases that are both conscious and unconscious still affect hiring decisions,” says Rachel Bitte, chief people officer at Jobvite. “With social platforms like Glassdoor, even unintended instances of bias during interviews can alienate other potential applicants and shrink your talent pool. It is something companies need to be hyper-aware of, and [they should] provide resources or training to ensure the hiring team is on board with the company’s overall values around diversity and inclusion.”

“Candidates facing bias during an interview should obviously remove themselves from the situation if necessary, and [they] can report their experience to someone else at the company,” Bitte adds. “This information can only serve to help the company improve [its] rapport. If the company takes your message poorly, it probably isn’t the kind of company you’d want to work for anyway.”

While discussions of bias often revolve around recruiters and hiring managers, the fact is candidates can be biased, too.

“If interviewers feel that they are facing bias from candidates, don’t hire them,” Bitte says. “If this candidate is expressing bias in their interview, they likely will carry these biases to the workplace each day.”

Candidates: Don’t Be a Jerk

Surprisingly, many candidates struggle to remain polite to the people they interact with beyond the interviewer.

Ambassador“It might be a surprise that rudeness toward the receptionist or support staff is the No. 1 deal-breaker for recruiters, but it makes sense,” Bitte says. “If a candidate can’t be polite to the support staff for a few minutes before the interview, how might they interact with their future coworkers?”

Candidates: Do Clean Up Your Social Media Pages

If your profile picture on Facebook shows you playing a rousing game of Edward Forty-Hands, you might want to switch it out for something a little more wholesome. If you think recruiters won’t find your Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter page, you’re wrong. Don’t leave this to chance. Check your privacy settings and public post history to make sure you don’t come off like a party animal — or worse, incompetent.

“Recruiters use social media to figure out more about who you are as a person and how you’ll fit into the company culture,” Bitte says. “On social networks, I might look for what candidates share about their current workplace and what topics they’re passionate about outside of the office.”

While party pics can damage your professional reputation, the Jobvite report found that spelling and grammar mistakes make you look even worse in most recruiters’ eyes.

“Use social media pages to illustrate who you are as a person, what you’re interested in, and what you could contribute to a new workplace,” Bitte says. “Keep your posts buttoned up and appropriate, and you should be fine.”

Candidates and Recruiters: Do Focus on Culture

Getting all the way to the interview process only to find out a candidate is a bad culture fit can be an embarrassing mistake for both parties. Interviewers should research candidates on social media and explore their previous job histories, while candidates need to hit the internet and do their own research about the company’s culture to make sure it is a place they want to work.

Bitte also recommends candidates talk to people who work at the company already to get the inside scoop. Don’t have any preexisting connections inside the organization? Hop on LinkedIn and message a current employee who can speak to the department or position you are considering.

“Get a feel for the workplace spirit and values,” Bitte says. “How would you as a candidate fit in? If it feels like a good fit, go ahead and apply. If it doesn’t seem like a good fit, don’t fake it to land the job.”

Aside from turning to social media, recruiters need to prepare interview questions that will help them assess how well a candidate aligns with the company’s culture and values.

“Nothing can be 100 percent effective, but this is the most reliable way to cut through the noise and find out if the candidate can be successful in your office,” Bitte says.

Landing that dream job or dream candidate takes work and preparation. Job seekers, hiring managers, and recruiters who heed these dos and don’ts will likely find what they are looking for.

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Jason McDowell holds a BS in English from the University of Wisconsin-Superior and an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School. By day, he works as a mild-mannered freelance writer and business journalist. By night, he spends time with his wife and dogs, writes novels and short stories, and tries in vain to catch up on all of those superhero television shows.