Every so often, the NexGoal recruiting team encounters a story from working with job candidates and corporate clients that provides a lesson for both current and future job seekers alike. While sometimes these stories are good and shine a light on a new job seeking tactic, in other cases they provide lessons on what NOT to do if you want to get hired. In this case, we’re focusing on the latter.
Recently, our recruiting team helped land a candidate an interview with one of our corporate clients. As our staff always does, the recruiter helped prep the candidate before the interview detailing what to expect, salary range, job duties, etc. The client wanted to meet this individual after detailing previous work experience and abilities, so both parties were already somewhat familiar with the other.
The day of the interview came and, as is usually the case, the client called our recruiter to recap the conversation. This, however, was unlike previous conversations for a variety of reasons. For starters, the candidate requested more money than previously discussed, both with our team and with the company. While not an immediate disqualifier, a red flag was raised. However, the next part all but guaranteed that he was not getting the job.
The client went on to detail how the conversation took a turn, with the candidate asking some off-topic questions, such as where she lived, if she wanted to go out some time, etc. I know what you’re thinking, and yes, the candidate was using the interview to hit on our client. Needless to say, he did not get the job, but this instance got the content team thinking of how you should handle inappropriate or awkward advances during a job interview, from either side of the table.
According to The Balance Careers, “the best response to inappropriate questions depends on the nature and severity of the interviewer’s transgressions.” When you get asked an uncomfortable question, you have a few options:
- You can ask, in a polite manner, what the question has to do with your suitability for the job.
- Try to steer the conversation in another direction by asking a follow-up question about a certain part of the job.
- If the question doesn’t seem too harmful, you can answer briefly and change the subject.
- If inappropriate questions continue, refuse to answer.
- For an interviewer, you can end the conversation and interview all together, which basically signifies the candidate did not get the job (as in the case above).
- For an interviewee, a last resort might be to report your experience to a person in a superior role to the interviewer.
When an interviewer or interviewee asks you to spend time alone outside of the interview or shares personal information such as a phone number or address, it can certainly be alarming. If you find yourself in this situation, there are a couple things The Balance Career recommends that you can do:
- Decline any invitations and mention that you’d like to keep things professional.
- If he or she persists, state your discomfort, end the interview and report the incident to an authority figure at the employer.
Getting a job is difficult enough as it is, so you want to do everything you can to take advantage of an opportunity at hand. In this case, the candidate all but guaranteed that he was not getting a job the moment he started hitting on the interviewer. Not only did he damage his chances of working for this company now and in the future, but he also could have damaged his chances of working in the industry in general. Have you had any inappropriate advances during an interview setting? If so, how did you handle them?