Tech & Work

Beware of crazy recruiter tricks

One CEO has his receptionist check out the state of a job candidate's car as a means of gauging his or her "character." Read about this and other crazy interviewer ploys.

As I write this blog, I have sparks coming off my head. No, I'm not currently on fire, but I am very angry about something I just read — Hiring tricks that job seekers must know, by Maria Hanson for LiveCareer. I'm not blaming the author because I think she was just quoting her sources, but oh my gosh, what a bunch of pretentious snobs she interviewed for this piece.

Let me start by saying that there are certain external characteristics a job candidate should be concerned with when going into an interview — be neat and clean, turn your PDA off during the interview, and leave the pint of Jack Daniels in your briefcase.

But seriously? One of the article's sources claims she knows a corporate president who would find out which car belonged to the candidate he was interviewing and have his receptionist check it out to see how neat and clean it was. In this case, the CEO considered a messy car a sign of a bad character.

Hmm. Maybe the owner is a working parent who has a hour-long commute to and from work every day, and the rest of the time uses the car to transport kids to soccer games and dogs to the vet and all the other things that should take priority over Armor All-ing the dashboard. But I'm not bitter.

The second trick? Some recruiters keep job candidates waiting so they can see how they handle their spare time. Playing games on your phone is apparently cause for concern. A source for the story advises, "Take care in choosing an appropriate activity. For example, reviewing your resume or an industry publication would be a good choice." I'm a little concerned about how they're watching you. Is there a camera hidden in the receptionist's stapler, or is the receptionist herself or himself a member of the Gestapo?

Last, be sure you watch your manners because some recruiters are keeping an eye out. One in particular did not hire a person because during a lunch interview he cut his meat all at once instead of one piece at a time. Unless he was hiring for Emily Post, what possible difference would that make?

One good piece of advice in the article is that recruiters will sometimes try to bait job candidates into gossiping. Do not sink to that even if the recruiter seems to be alright with it.

The good thing about these recruiter tactics is that it allows job candidates to weed out the loser companies they wouldn't possibly want to work with anyway.

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About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

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