Candidates spend many hours of their lives on personal passions that help define them such as not-for-profits fighting against disease, cultural awareness, religious affiliations, volunteer programs, and social awareness organizations. Logic would indicate these are good things for a candidate to include on a resume. However...
because so many of these are now protected classes, it can prove challenging for a hiring manager to properly navigate legal channels when interviewing, and the candidate to best position themselves for hire. Many candidates do not realize how frequently business owners and execs are fearful of inadvertently saying the wrong thing during an interview and triggering a legal landmine that can cost them for years. Candidates who understand these challenges maintain the best odds of success.
"I shared every skill I could."— Three yellow flags may be a red one.
Everyone understands that protected class laws were created for the right reasons: to help protect certain classes of individuals from negative discrimination. Candidates must understand that these "protected classes" have grown to an extensive number federally and are regulated by the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). Additionally, they also further vary by state. For hiring managers, it requires continued awareness to stay risk-averse. They are NOT legally allowed to discuss, note or be influenced by any details that pertain to classes. For the candidate, the challenge is writing a resume that allows them to stand out and NOT highlight these aspects, because with each reference to a protected class on a resume, a yellow flag goes up somewhere deep in the mind of even a well-intentioned hiring manager. While they are not red flags, with each yellow flag the hiring manager approaches a zone requiring superior HR law knowledge. When attempting to gain an interview, candidates of the protected class who are significantly experienced (over 40) should consider including less experience on a resume. In our society "40 is the new 30," and yet 40+ workers are technically a protected class. Religious references of any sort are inappropriate unless applying to an affiliated organization. Details like these may be the flag getting candidates subconsciously passed over out of fear of litigation. Right or wrong, it is reality. Over-specific resumes may mean inadvertently overprotected from interview opportunities.
"My palms are so sweaty!" — Honestly, everyone is nervous.
Candidates who take time to understand the HR process are the ones who do best in the job search. This understanding is what makes many candidates become prospects. Most large organizations have HR staff or outsource these duties, while small to midsized organizations often do not. When an ethical acting manager/owner is initially given the task of hiring, they enter into a dichotomy of conflicting objectives: find the perfect hire fast, and legally eliminate without any unintended discrimination. Either of these alone is a challenge, and they often have other managerial responsibilities. Unless they have had HR training, they may not have any idea how to follow these laws. However, they do know the result of making a mistake. With so many factors at play, sometimes the fear of a mistake in the interview or a bad hire can become paralyzing. Candidates should understand that there are unscrupulous people who prey on these accidental mistakes made by hiring managers, which create legal nightmares that impact the ease of hiring for other candidates. This complicates everything. Candidates should first understand that they are not the only ones who are nervous during an interview. Secondly, a candidate should avoid bringing up protected class points that create a distraction from their true qualifications. A candidate's awareness can go a long way toward creating an effective interview environment.
"I think they appreciated my candidness." — Not really.
For the same reasons, candidates must also understand that private or medical issues should never be discussed during interviews. Even when attempting to put the hiring manager at ease, it can cause undue challenge for all involved. A good rule of thumb is to avoid any discussion of things that have caused high stress. Candidates should use interviews as a focus on the next chapter of their professional career, not therapy sessions from the last, and should remain focused on business success and promise.
"It is So Much Easier than it Looked." — Help us pronounce the tough ones.
Because another protected class is National Origin, drawing attention to an inability to pronounce someone's name can create both a natural awkwardness and a legal fear. Candidates with a difficult name may consider simply adding a phonetic pronunciation
on their resume. "Sybesma [Si-bez-ma]" shows that this is a common struggle and puts the hiring manager at ease when trying to call a prospect to interview.
It's all about Demonstrating Promise
Candidates who have an appreciation for legal challenges faced by hiring managers are the ones best equipped to sit across from them in an interview. Each frequent change in the law makes this awareness factor required for successful candidates in the future.
It is this proactivity, coupled with technical prowess, and resource awareness are what make the right candidates amazing prospects for Indiana Businesses
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