It is no secret that it is a job seeker’s market out there. Unemployment is at a contemporary low and sustained economic expansion in Canada dating back to 2010 has put employees at a premium.
Many job applicants, who are in their twenties or early thirties, may not even have a recollection of a pre-2010 world where jobs were scarce and the economy an adverse headwind. As such, finding employees is often difficult and finding qualified employees even more so.
Yet, we all know that things change and capitalism, as an economic model, comes with its adverse cyclical cycles. Sooner or later either the economy will stall, or worse, the recession will return and it will become an employer’s market again.
Either way, job market participants need to be ready and keep their skills sharp. Employees deserve suitable workplaces that speak to their needs and potential. Equally, employers too deserve dedicated and contributing workers who step up and go beyond merely showing up. This is not always the case, however.
There are hundreds of books, articles, experts, and videos on the art of interviewing and selling oneself to employers. It should be elementary by now. Everyone has seen these and had the chance to read or watch them.
Yet, it is astounding how job applicants’ interviewing quality currently is. With this unhappy reality in mind below is a ‘best of’ actual accounts from recent interviews to remind the readers of a few rules of interviewing.
The interviewee obtains the job but does not arrive at work on his start date. After several telephone calls, the no-show employee admits his current manager matched the new offer and he will not be starting at the new workplace.
Be honest and communicate. This recommendation extends to after the interview process. Call the employer and let them know you have accepted either another offer or a counter-offer. Rescinding your acceptance of an offer is not ideal, but it is better than ghosting or burning bridges.
The interviewee shows up and explains that he left his job because the “old man” (referring to his father) did not grant his wishes, which lead to his quitting the job, which in turn lead to a fight with his now ex-wife and his divorcing the ‘expletive’ (referring to his former partner) and also adding, for the sake of being complete mind you, that he does not live where his resume says he lives because too many “Indians” live there and have pushed up car insurance rates due to fake accidents and insurance fraud.
Racism, sexism, and ageism have no place in our society and they certainly have no place at job interviews. Be mindful of your etiquette and, more importantly, clear your mind of generalizations and discrimination that casts a pall over an entire group.
Interviewee tells the interviewer that the reason she is there – even though she currently has a job – is because “I am considering my options.”
Do not waste time. Do not waste the interviewer’s time. Do not waste your own time. Honesty is always preferred, but feign some enthusiasm at an interview. Tell the interviewer why you would be a good fit and how excited you are to be there.
Candidate for the job attends an interview and asks whether he is required to be in the office. When asked why he is asking the question he notes he lives too far from the office and moreover has his eyes on municipal politics, which require him to be present in his riding, knock on doors and campaign.
Do not discuss working remotely even before there is an indication that you are being advanced in the search process. Much more pertinently, do not inform the company that you have other priorities than, er, working there. Actually, earlier we advised that you be honest. Do inform the company. They appreciate your candor as it helps them make the right decision by not hiring you.
Candidate has done a good job interviewing and feels confident as he is leaving the employers’ offices. He pauses to ask one more question (Advice 5.5: good candidates have good questions for their interviewers). The question? “Where would I be sitting? Privacy is important to me.” The candidate does not like to be sitting anywhere where people walk by, there is foot traffic or can be seen.
While being accommodated at work is necessary and logical, there is a time and place for it. Moreover, all such requests should serve a pretext that serves the work required of the employee. Sell it within the context of what is good for the employer and not as a demand that does nothing for your prospective manager or employer.
When asked why she is considering departing her current employer the candidate badmouths her current manager and says the supervisor has no talent or business being a leader of people.
Do not attack your current manager when speaking with a prospective one. The hiring manager may perceive you as a malcontent. Instead of trash talking someone explain how certain behaviors (not persons) are not conducive to achieving goals and cushion it with stating that you are open-minded and always willing to be proven wrong.
No matter the state of the economy or the job market, there are certain guidelines that make sense and are helpful to you as a candidate. Honesty is important. In fact, it is necessary. Ditto on staying focused on the needs of the prospective employer.
As for the title of this article? An actual quotation from an employee uttered to her manager in 2019.