15 Ways Employers Check You Out Before Saying, "You're Hired!"

iStockphoto.com |  busracavus

iStockphoto.com | busracavus

You want the job. You're qualified for the job. Why can't the company just give you the job?

Did you really think it was going to be easy? Employers want to know who they're hiring, and they're going to be intrusive in checking you out before extending an offer. And companies have many ways to vet job candidates before bringing you on board.

  1. The Resume - Your resume is a spelling test. It's a grammar test. It's a Microsoft Word publishing test. It's an honesty test. Reviewers make several judgments about you just based upon that simple 1 or 2 page resume.

  2. Interviews - These grueling meetings often include the hiring manager, peers, human resources, internal customers, or anyone with a stake in the hiring decision.

  3. Criminal Background Checks - Employers want to know you can be trusted with the keys to the company car, or if you're going to take it straight to the chop shop the first time you drive off.

  4. Employment Verification - Did you really work at the company, in the role you indicated, for the pay you detailed?

  5. Credit Checks - Another measure of trustworthiness. How do you handle your finances? If you've declared bankruptcy or have overdue bills, what does that say about your ability to manage company resources – in other words will your expense report be padded to cover your personal expenses?

  6. Physicals - It's rare, but not unheard of to be sent to the doctor for an evaluation if either your job involves a great deal of physical activity, or if you're considered critical to the organization.

  7. Skills Testing - The job requires you to be good at Microsoft PowerPoint - would you be willing to take a timed exam to see just how skilled you really are?

  8. Psychological / Personality Testing - These come in many flavors, but the purpose is the same - to see how well you’ll fit within the culture of the organization, and your predicted behaviors and predilections.

  9. Polygraph - The lie detector. Legal in several states, another test of your trustworthiness. Don't be surprised to take one of these when applying for positions in security or law enforcement.

  10. References - The company speaks with former supervisors or coworkers to find out more about your work habits.

  11. Informal References - This is when somebody at the company says, "Hey, I know somebody who used to work with that guy at my old employer! Let me get the skinny!" Then they do this without the applicant's knowledge or consent. It’s a gray area, but it happens more often than you’d think.

  12. Deep Background / Character Investigations - Applying to a position requiring access to top secret data? You might get an investigator poking around, asking your neighbors about your most personal details.

  13. Asking Around After The Interview - The hiring manager may ask the folks in the office who interacted with you how you behaved. Better have treated that receptionist with dignity and respect...

  14. Your Social Media - Who says they won't find those pictures on Facebook from your drunken escapade in Tijuana? And do you know what comes up in Google when somebody enters your name? How's that picture on your LinkedIn profile?

  15. Drug & Substance Testing - About that trip to Tijuana...


There's a lot of information about you out there, and companies won't be shy about gathering as much as they can before deciding whether to offer you a job. Be prepared.


Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, career coaching services, and outplacement services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercareerstrategies.com.

Minimize the Sting of Separation – No Matter Why an Employee is Leaving

iStockphoto.com | Chris Ryan

iStockphoto.com | Chris Ryan

In the United States, salaries are climbing and unemployment is at 3.7% – the lowest in 49 years. It shouldn’t be a secret to employers that job seekers have more leverage than they’ve had in years.

Employment branding – how a company portrays and differentiates itself as a great place to work – is more important than ever. This is the age of Glassdoor, where reviews of employers are abundant and readily available, and many firms invest a great deal of money in their employment image as they recruit talent.

Despite this investment, these employment branding efforts often diminish at the end of the employee lifecycle, as an employee is on his or her way toward exiting an organization. That’s a mistake. Managing employment branding at the point of separation (whether the employee is being laid off, leaving voluntarily or even being fired) is essential, regardless of the reason for separation. Employees are very sensitive (and perceptive) about how their exits are handled.

Former employees tend to talk freely about their impression of the company, and remember, everybody knows somebody. If an employee separation is handled with dignity and respect, the former employee is more likely to speak positively about their time at the company. Conversely, if the employee is unceremoniously pushed out the door, the net result could be bad feelings, accompanied by the spread of negative feedback online and across the broader talent market.

Here are some ways for employers to effectively manage employment branding at point of separation:

  • Demonstrate empathy and dignity. There are many valid reasons an employer might want to initiate a separation – whether layoff or firing – but it’s important to remember that, for the employee, losing a job is a painful and emotional experience.

  • Perform an exit interview. Asking a separating employee to talk about her or his experience at the company can provide valuable information about the environment, the culture, and the work itself. It might also yield valuable insights into what factors led to the employee’s separation. Build a standard set of open-ended questions, and have a skilled interviewer probe tactfully into the answers. The employee’s description of their work situation and performance may vary in substance or accuracy from the company’s, but it’s important to hear the employee out.

  • Consider offering outplacement services to ease the employee’s landing. Outplacement can include resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, job search coaching, and other tools designed to help the employee get back on his or her feet quickly. An outplacement package can increase soon-to-be-ex-employee satisfaction by demonstrating empathy and providing assistance. It can reduce employer risk by giving the separating employee something of value in exchange for releasing the company from any separation-related liability (always consult an attorney, a good lawyer will help you work through such a release). And, a separation package helps the individual focus forward on the next role, rather than backwards – and the faster he or she gets back to work, the less time will be spent thinking about being unemployed and trying to assign blame.


Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, career coaching services, and outplacement services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercareerstrategies.com.

You Can't Tell Them Your Boss Is A Jerk – Explaining Why You're Looking For A New Job

iStockphoto.com |  AntonioGuillem

iStockphoto.com | AntonioGuillem

A common reason people look for new jobs is because they hate what they’re currently doing. It could be that the work is a grind, the boss is a jerk, and the pay is insufficient for the level of responsibility – or some combination of these factors.

If you’re in this situation, it’s understandable that you’re on the job market.

But here’s the problem. They don’t want to hear you say that your current work is a grind, the boss is a jerk, and the pay is insufficient.

When you’re in an interview with a potential employer, he or she is looking for a candidate who is upbeat, positive, and would add to the overall morale of the office. Negative talk about your current employer could knock you out of contention.

It’s not that your reasons for seeking new employment opportunities aren’t true – they are all probably quite valid. But appearing to “trash talk” can raise concerns to a recruiter or hiring manager, such as, “What is this candidate going to say about us when he discovers something he doesn’t like?”

The interview process is a dance, and answering the question “Why are you seeking new opportunities” is a step in this dance. And. like any dance, it’s best to approach it with finesse so that you don’t step on any toes in the process. Here’s how to prepare to answer this difficult question.

  1. Understand Your True Motivation For Changing Jobs. Every job comes with its own annoyances and frustrations; we tend to tolerate the negative aspects of the position because they’re often outweighed by the positives. Dig deep and ask yourself, “What is it about the position that’s truly making this job more trouble than it’s worth?” The rest is just noise.

  2. Identify The Aspects Of Your Current Job That You Have Enjoyed. Maybe you truly love your day-to-day core duties, or perhaps the company has given you great training opportunities, or they’ve exposed you to new career growth avenues.

  3. When Presenting Your Reason To A Potential Employer, Sandwich The Negative With The Positives. By starting and ending your explanation the the things you like about your current job, you provide valuable context and soften the negativity.

Here’s an example:(Positive) In my current role as a project manager, I absolutely love the scope of responsibility I have – I’m able to work on a variety of programs with some truly wonderful customers. (Negative) As the years have progressed, the company has gone through several reorganizations which have made the role more difficult. (Positive) I’m very grateful for the opportunity the company gave me – I’ve been promoted multiple times and I work with wonderful people, but when this role with your company was posted it seemed like a good fit for the next stage of my career.”


Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercareerstrategies.com.