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The Rejection Letter. Hiring with Heart.

Are you responsible for hiring?  Can you remember what is was like when you were looking for a job?  Yes, it may be uncomfortable and most people would prefer to avoid the thought of being unemployed.  However, it is important in order to identify and enhance a key area of the candidate experience; the rejection letter.  

Reflection on Rejection

Reflection on Rejection

Almost 60% of job seekers report having a poor candidate experience. (Source: Future Workplace and WorkplaceTrends.com)

Many candidates report no follow-up or acknowledgment of their progress during the application or job interview process. 

Additionally, many job seekers have been frustrated by the “cookie cutter” automatic reply that has little or no empathy or understanding of their experience in the process.  It is not uncommon that a rejection letter is received immediately (as little as 20 minutes) after spending time applying online and in the worst case scenario, no feedback or followup after preparing for and executing the phone screen or face-to-face job interview.

With the use of applicant tracking software and standard generated replies, it appears something has been lost;  hiring managers and organizations have failed to put themselves in the shoes of the job seeker.  Hiring with Heart™.

While it is true that everyone must be treated equally and with no hint of discrimination or bias in the hiring process…does it mean that solutions cannot be formulated to meet compliance and enhance the candidate experience while leaving your company brand in good standing with those seeking to be a part of your team? 

The team at the  Society for Human Resource Management offer several resources and tools for crafting thoughtful responses using the Interview Rejection Letter or the No Interview Rejection Letter you may find the templates of value and here is one example from their site:

Dear [Insert Name]

It was a pleasure meeting with you to discuss your background and interest in the [Job Title] position within our organization. We appreciate your time, attentiveness and patience throughout the interview process. We did have several highly qualified candidates for the position and it has been a difficult decision, but we have chosen to pursue another candidate for this position who we feel is best qualified.

We value your interest in [Company Name] and we wish you good luck in your future endeavors.

Sincerely,

[Name]

[Title]

[Company Name]         (Source: Society for Human Resource Management, May 2016)

Final Thoughts.  Delivering rejection can be difficult and uncomfortable and the idea of hiding behind technology may be easier to manage than seeing people for more than a bullet point or task…isn’t time to rethink the conversation as shifting talent markets and increased competition make it more challenging to engage qualified candidates?  

Are you a job seeker?  Do you have a story regarding your experience with rejection in the hiring process?  If so, share, and help hiring managers understand the value of Hiring with Heart™.

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Etiquette 101: Getting Hired Over Lunch.

An instant career killer that may cost you a paycheck?  Inappropriate behaviors that may be deal-breakers during a job interview over lunch.

In a highly competitive job market many job seekers are invited to an interview lunch; the interview is actually conducted over a meal. This tactic separates equally matched candidates from the competition and may come at a high price; getting hired.

Dining Image

Silver Platter Hiring.

Useful tips to kick-start a successful job interview over lunch:

Show up on time and at the correct location. Be sure to map out your route if going to an unfamiliar location. BE ON TIME. Heads up! Some hiring managers select a difficult location and have used this tactic to challenge and determine the ability of a job seeker to navigate effectively.

Tip:  When possible, drive by the restaurant the night before and scope out the area; avoid getting “lost” and have a plan for parking, projected mishaps or construction delays.

Unable to resist that piece of gum? Gum chewing becomes an issue when you do not know what to do with that sticky glob once seated at the table before serious discussion. Additionally, the hiring manager or recruiter may face Chiclephobia (The fear of chewing gum.), just ask Oprah Winfrey, no one was allowed to chew gum in her studio when she was a talk show host.

Tip: Opt for mints.

Waving, pointing, or flailing the silver? When engaged in conversation do not wield the knife and fork around as you are speaking. This creates a distraction and is seen as unprofessional.

Tip:  Never, never, never, lick the last bits of mashed potato or other delight from the blade of the knife, at the table, during the job interview (or any other time, for that matter…).

Do you salt or pepper your meal before taking a bite? Think again. This action has been known to send a non-verbal message of making hasty or rash decisions and could cost you that job. Why? You “assumed” the meal needed salt or pepper prior to tasting.

Tip:  Always sample a small bite before adding salt or pepper. In addition, use caution when dousing ketchup, dipping sauces or other condiments to a meal, it may send off a “red flag” and can be seen as an insult to the chef.

Remember, you were not invited to the meal because you are hungry!   Avoid ordering expensive menu items, finger foods and difficult to manage items (ribs, lobster, fried chicken, spaghetti, etc.). Also, if a food item is difficult to eat, you spend more effort on eating the meal and less on building rapport with emphasis on the main mission; GETTING HIRED.

Tip: A salad may be cumbersome, not all leafy greens are cut into bite size pieces; opt for the soup instead.

Avoid alcohol. Alcohol inhibits the ability to recall important details, impairs the ability to remember names (especially in a networking setting), may cause improper conversations to emerge, and is not advisable when being considered for a job.

Tip:  Sparking water and a lime make a good substitute.

The purpose of the interview lunch? To determine your social savvy.  Many times this form of interview is one of THE determining factors in hiring.

Tip:  You are an extension of the company brand when hired; demonstrating good manners set you apart from the competition. It is NOT about the food; it is about the relationship building process and “how to be” may determine “cultural fit” depending on the industry and/or position you are seeking.

These are just a few dining etiquette fundamentals and if traveling abroad be sure to research each culture and the differences when conducting business or a job interview over a lunch or a meal.  Good luck!

Job Interview Strategy: Employment and Facebook Privacy.

Employment and Facebook Privacy.∗

There have been recent reports that companies are asking prospective candidates for their username and passwords to their social media content. This is in direct violation of the terms of service agreement that a user has made with the social media provider and compromises not only their information but also compromises the privacy that is expected by all of the connections/users.

How do your respond to such a request? Example: “While I respect the fact that you would like access to my account; unfortunately, I must adhere to the Terms of Service Agreement presented by (insert social media provider, i.e.Facebook) for the privacy and safety of my account and those connected to my account and therefore will be unable to do so. As you can imagine, I would also not provide the username and passwords that would be issued by this company, in the event I am hired, and I hope you can appreciate my integrity in this matter.”

Also consider, this could be a test to see how trusted you would be in situations that could compromise the security and policies of the organization. How? Well if you are too quick to give up your Facebook username and password, not to mention violating the Rights and Responsibilities as a Facebook user, would you do the same with their company information too? Something to think about.

Ethics and Integrity in the workplace are valued commodities and you would want to question the ethics and integrity of an organization that would choose not to hire you in the event you stood firm on your commitment to avoid relinquishing or compromising your privacy and the privacy of other Facebook users.

DO NOT relinquish your Facebook or social media username and passwords to a prospective employer as a precondition of hire , in this case, you would be violating your agreement to the Facebook Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and compromising the privacy of your connections. Even if you feel you have “nothing to hide”, this is not only about you, but the expectations of privacy on behalf of your connections as well.


Registration and Account Security∗∗

Facebook users provide their real names and information, and we need your help to keep it that way.  Here are some commitments you make to us relating to registering and maintaining the security of your account:
1.  You will not provide any false personal information on Facebook, or create an account for anyone other than yourself without permission.
2.  You will not create more than one personal profile.
3.  If we disable your account, you will not create another one without our permission.
4.  You will not use your personal profile for your own commercial gain (such as selling your status update to an advertiser).
5.  You will not use Facebook if you are under 13.
6.  You will not use Facebook if you are a convicted sex offender.
7.  You will keep your contact information accurate and up-to-date.
8.  You will not share your password, (or in the case of developers, your secret key), let anyone else access your account, or do anything else that might jeopardize the security of your account.
9.  You will not transfer your account (including any page or application you administer) to anyone without first getting our written permission.
10.  If you select a username for your account we reserve the right to remove or reclaim it if we believe appropriate (such as when a trademark owner complains about a username that does not closely relate to a user’s actual name).

∗Disclaimer: This is strictly the opinion of Denise Anne Taylor and should not constitute legal advice, if you question your rights please seek legal counsel.

∗∗Extracted from the Facebook Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.

Job Interview Strategy: Ask Questions.

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The job interview process is a two-way street; dialogue is the key to a successful encounter.

Remember the Five “P’s”, Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.

Questions for consideration include:

1. What happened to the previous employee or why is the position available?
This will allow you to determine if the employee was promoted (This is a good sign and may indicate future opportunity if the company promotes from within.) or did they move on (This will indicate that you may have to dig deeper in your questioning to determine management style and corporate culture to determine “fit”.) or is the job a newly created role and the question can reveal the amount of turnover in the position. Beware:  If the position has had five people in that role in the last four years this may be a “red flag”, especially if they are no longer with the company, it could signal management or leadership concerns, etc.

2. What type of on-boarding or initial training is provided to ensure success?  Does (insert name of organization) support continuing education or certifications?  
This question allows the company to express the fundamentals they have in place to ensure your success through a detailed on-boarding and trainee program, continuing education, and resources or certifications for continued professional growth and development.  Ongoing training programs are proven to increase employee engagement.

3. What is the preferred management style of the (insert department, company, etc.)?
This will determine if the role is that of a “worker bee” with minimal contribution or does the culture support input allowing you to contribute concepts and ideas for growth and development of your role and the organization.

4. Would you paint a picture of the typical day in the role of a (insert job title)?
This will allow the organization to provide a snapshot of the role and what you can expect. Look for defined, confident replies.  Some companies allow for job shadowing to determine if a role is a good fit for you and the company. 

5. What challenges/problems/concerns are associated with (insert the department, the role, the company)?
This will reveal the pain they need to address and may open the opportunity for you to share background, skills, or abilities that may assist in overcoming the various challenges revealed and/or mentioned in the job posting.  How can you be of immediate benefit to help the team and the company achieve their defined goals and objectives?

6. How are expectations measured?
This will allow you to get a sense of how your progress and success or failure will be reviewed.  Does the company provide 90-day feedback and review? 6-months? or Annually?  The employee review allows for periodic feedback to assess your contributions and keep you on track for success in your role.

7. What are next steps in the hiring process?
This question should be asked at the end of your job interview. You will gain insight as to the hiring manager’s processes for moving forward and you will be able to navigate your next steps for outreach and expectations.  Should you follow-up by phone? email? When will they be making a decision? 

It is “OK” to ask questions. It is necessary and required! You are interviewing the organization and their team just as much as they are interviewing you. Why? Because you need to also determine “fit”, to learn if this organization’s culture and leadership environment “fits” with your work style and career goals so that you can flourish and succeed and contribute in a productive and meaningful capacity.  Good Luck!