A few unmanaged loose ends at the end of a job search and you’ll never know why you didn’t get the job of your dreams. They are: Background checks, references, inconsistencies, a social media gaffe and honesty.
Background Checks – Some people don’t think a company will look microscopically at their past experiences. Think again. When a company is looking for the perfect candidate, they first need to screen out those that fudge on their dates, schools, degrees, certificates, past companies or responsibilities. If you have a problem area, you have two choices: Either leave it out or come clean early in the process. Don’t lie or you’ll never make it to the next step.
References – Don’t provide references until you know you’re a finalist candidate. You don’t want to overwhelm them. Your reference should be your best supporter. Help them remember your most outstanding performance by giving them a list of accomplishments that parallel what the hiring company is looking for. You don’t want references to draw a blank when they get the call. Draft a script for them. Understand that up to 50% of references are rated poor to mediocre by companies. Make sure your references are top notch.
Inconsistencies – One of the ways to get eliminated from a job candidacy quickly is to have different information in different places: Resume, interview, Facebook, LinkedIn, and so on. Surveys of hiring organizations have found that about half of all applicants have inconsistencies or worse. Crosscheck and look for holes in your resume. If you don’t, the hiring company will.
Social media gaffes – About half of hiring companies check social media. What are your friends saying about you? Be careful about inside jokes that can be misinterpreted. Scrub out your past either by eliminating questionable items or add articles to bury them.
Honesty – Be honest, but tilt information to your advantage. When asked for your compensation target, give a range not a specific number. Benefits, incentives, bonuses, and commuting costs may have to be factored in. You may have an Associate Degree leading to a full college degree. Leaving it off isn’t a lie. Put your highest degree, not an intermediate one.
What if you have a problem? You can preempt issues by surfacing them early so you’re not hiding anything. It’s all about how you present the information and when. If you have a “hole” in your dates, present it as a positive: “took a year off for a travel, education and language emersion “, “took 6 months to care for an ailing parent”, “started a doctorate program”, “was promised a position that went away with a merger”, successfully sold time-shares after the merger to keep my sales skills sharp”.
Not managing these loose ends may cost you big time. You can’t win the race until you cross the finish line.
Send comments to: Mygreenerfuture1@cox.net