Employment Application Dilemma

Dear Future Employer,

Why do you ask me if I have been terminated, laid off, or resigned and not include an “other” option? I know how important it is to find out so you won’t hire someone in your organization that will wreak havoc or cause problems, but there has to be a better solution or question that can be asked. How about another option for people to use?

Sometimes jobs are not a good fit for the employee.

Sometimes the employee is leaving a toxic manager or environment.

Sometimes employees are not a good fit for the organization.

Sometimes employees are asked to do things that are in opposition of their personal and business values and morals.

This is the tough one. What happens if an employee was asked to do something illegal and wouldn’t do it? Is that insubordination? It could be seen as such, but in my opinion it isn’t. There are toxic work environments and shady leaders out there and we must be mindful of them and the employees that work in them and for them.

Certain positions require the utmost ethical and moral behavior. When it is tested you must prevail with your ethics intact. The problem is, you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. If you give in to the request of the leader, then you risk having it backfire on you and end up being thrown under the bus when shit goes sour. If you don’t give in to the request you end up getting terminated. This is where looking for a new job is difficult.

So, I ask you first….PLEASE stop asking people to do things that are not legal, moral, or ethical. Easier said than done, right? Wrong! Just don’t.

When we answer truthfully that we have been terminated on your form, don’t use this as a reason to not bring forward for an interview. Instead provide us with a drop down comment section to write something that will give us a chance to explain and ease your mind at the same time. This will provide you the ability to ask more questions when you interview us. Remember too, we may be under legal documents that prevent us from saying anything against our former employer (release documents). That doesn’t mean that we are bad employees. That doesn’t mean that we are trouble makers. It could mean the employer had something to hide and this was the easiest way to deal with it. If you read the information we provide and you deem it to be legitimate then you already have a glimpse of the person you are thinking of bringing into your organization and the higher standards they strive for. Don’t you all want an upstanding employee with high integrity? I surely do.

Think of it this way, can you imagine how hard it must be for them to have lost a job for doing the right thing? For following the law? For standing up?

So future employer, not only should you update your applications with legal items, you should update this termination question section too. Please do the right thing.

Signed, Everyone.

The Art of Resume’ Reading

Looking at resume’s seems to be a lost art form these days. The more technology we use to parse out words and phrases, takes away the humanity of the resume itself. After all, this is about the human. The people we want to bring in to our organizations.

I’m a bit old school and like to look at every resume. I look at details like length of service at each job, duties they performed, skills they may have, people they managed, and what their education is. I’m sure you all check out these details too.

Technology

Resume readers, and I mean the robot kind, are programmed to look for key words and phrases that match up with the job description. That’s fine but what a robot doesn’t do is see experiences that may not match exactly to the current job applied to, but have related experience that transfers to the posted job requirements.

I like to look for these types of details because it shows flexibility and their potential range. Now some might say that looking at each resume might be deemed as discriminatory because of the title names sounding “ethnic” and that would cause me to not pick them for interviewing. Well that would be true if I was a BAD HR Director. But since I’m NOT, I don’t worry about it. I always start with the job description and match skills and experience. If you take a chance on someone that is really close to your requirements as well, it may surprise you.

So now you have a pool of candidates…

Let’s do a phone screen interview. I have used a specific phone screen template for many years now and I always start with the “housekeeping” questions. What are they you ask?

  1. How did you hear about this opening? *This allows you to track and report where people are finding your ads to make sure you are getting your money’s worth.
  2. If chosen, what is your availability for an in-house interview? *This give you a firm grasp of when is best to schedule with this candidate. It is very helpful especially if you are planning for multiple interviews in one day.
  3. Do you have a wage in mind for this position? *I know in some states it is illegal to ask what someone is currently making per hour so I don’t ask that question. Asking the candidate what they are looking for is perfectly legal. It gives you a chance to see if their expectations are within the pay grade range you have set up for this position. If it is too high you can tell them what the range is and ask if it fits within their budget. If yes, great! Continue the interview. If its not, then politely say that we didn’t want to waste their time and they didn’t want t o waste ours. End the interview at this point.
  4. If you were to be hired for the position, when would you be able to start? *The answer to this question can give us many clues. If they say “I need to give 2 weeks” that is a standard time frame that most companies ask employees to respect. If they say “anytime” they are most likely not currently working (so check their resume to see if it jives). Now, some positions may require longer notice periods but for the most part the answer to this question helps you and the hiring manager.
  5. Why are you leaving your current position? *If in #4 they answer “anytime” , you can assume they aren’t currently working but I have heard many reasons for this question. I personally don’t take offense or read much into it, I just like to know why if they are willing to tell me. It can be for reasons like lay-offs, personal growth, “I always wanted to work here”, or just moved to the area. Remember from my first article, sometimes people leave their bosses. That is a big reason.
  6. Are you available to work at our xxx location? *You want to be sure to tell them where they will be working in case you have multiple locations and you know where this particular position will work.

Meat and Potatoes

Now that the housekeeping questions are complete, you can get into the “meat and potatoes” of the job to see if the candidate really knows their stuff. I like to put together questions pertaining to the job title and then work with the hiring manager to come up with a few questions that they want to know up front before face-to-face interviews. I suggest about ten questions. It shouldn’t take longer than 30 minutes of interview time. The last three questions are usually the same for me.

What kind of manager to you like to have? *Most people will say that want communication with their manager and no micro-managing.

Why are you the person for the position? *I like to hear people respond with confidence here such as, I “know” I’m the right person because…. If they use, “I think I’m the right person…” then it shows less confidence in themselves and possibly their ability to do the job.

What questions do you have for me? *This is a good tool for getting more information about where the candidate is coming from. What they are really interested in. I find too, if as the HR person I don’t know the answer, it is an opportunity for me to ask the hiring manager so I have a better understanding of the role and the department. You learn something new everyday.

Now that the phone screen is over…

After each interview, I like to type up the responses and send them along with the resume to the hiring manager. From there, the manager can see we have asked each candidate the same questions and they can pick from the group who they want to bring in for the next round. I usually step back in when the manager has made a decision and wants to make an offer. Of course different companies have different recruiting and hiring processes but this gives you some ideas to use.