Job Seeker Question from Facebook: Background Check Concerns

Posted: June 21st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off on Job Seeker Question from Facebook: Background Check Concerns

Clients, fans and job seekers often ask questions via Twitter, Linked In and Facebook. This one comes from Terry who posted this question to me via Facebook:

“Hi Adriana. I have an important interview coming up in two weeks with a very high-profile former pro athlete for an Executive Assistant position. He requires a background check, and I know that if he pulls my credit score it’s not going to be good, and I’m afraid it might affect my viability as a candidate.

Would you make reference to it beforehand? Or just leave it alone? I really, really want this job (I know I’m the best candidate) and want to do everything right.”

Great question, Terry.

Pre-Employment Background Checks

First things first, while an employer may mention a background check is required, you have to complete paperwork and sign it prior to them being able to pull either a background or credit check.  This guarantees you’ll know in advance if you’re being checked on.  However, 85% of employers Google you before, or after, an interview and often times this can lead to discrimination and job offers being rescinded. They can Google you without your permission so take measures to protect your online identity.

Employer Credit Checks

Often times employers will check your background without checking your credit. If you’re in a financial position or financial services industry, you’re more likely to face a credit check. The best way to handle this is by being upfront and honest with the prospective employer. Put yourself in their shoes, Would you want to hire someone that left you with a surprise to find?

Terry’s Answer: Proceed With Caution

If you notice the interview is going well and you’re getting positive indications, you’d be wise to mention that you saw the requirement for a background check. Do this in a way that focuses on his appreciation for due diligence, focus on the fact that you understand his need for security given his public profile. Let him know that you’re aware that background checks sometimes include a credit report and, given that, as an Executive Personal Assistant you’d be working closely together, so in the spirit of full disclosure, your credit score is lower than you’d like it to be which he may find on the report he pulls. Continue by saying that you’re actively working on a financial plan to increase your credit and you look forward to this position becoming part of that plan.

Be careful to avoid going into any other details about your personal financial, or credit, situation. Don’t offer explanations, provide what he might find, etc. Less is more in this case.

Stick to Facts
Remember that you’re in an interview, it’s important to focus on facts that are business-related. If an employer pushes for details because, in Terry’s case, this is a personal/executive assistant position, let them know that the more you work together the better acquainted you will become on a personal level.  Convey your appreciation for handling confidential situations and information in any position, especially this one, and remark that he can surely respect you maintaining a level of professional confidentiality during the interview process.

Social Media Mastery for 50 Somethings Live Event Today

Posted: June 9th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Personal Branding, Social Networking | Comments Off on Social Media Mastery for 50 Somethings Live Event Today

I’m delighted to be the Keynote Speaker today for the Executive Network Group of Chicago. For those of you wondering “What’s Social Media got to do with me?”, today is a great event that you’ll want to join us for!

I’ll be speaking about how to use social media and personal branding as essential job search tools. Join over 100 Executives today as I dive into topics that include:

  • HOW Twitter, Facebook and Linked In are Essential Job Search Tools…at any age
  • REAL Life Career Stories from Twitter, Facebook and Linked In
  • WHAT the actual number of employers that are on social media is (stats!)
  • WHEN to log off the computer and engage in live personal networking
  • HOW to create a  healthier life style and lead to a healthier job search
  • WHAT it takes to create a powerful personal brand (it’s easier than you think)
  • HOW a clear personal brand can make, or break, your job search
  • MAKE the most of your online time

Note: Members from the ENG “C” level group will be available to discuss your elevator speech and resume so take the opportunity to get quality input from senior executives afterwards!

After I finish, the ENG is holding three formal thirty (30) minute networking sessions to assist with target company contacts and referrals. Then it’s time to polish up those networking skills for some socializing and enjoyment at Peggy Kinnane’s Irish Pub. I look forward to seeing you this afternoon – please stop by to say hello personally – and if you’ve got a copy of my book “Career Sudoku”, I’ll be happy to autograph it as well!


Time: 12:00 – 5:30p.m. (Keynote Session: 1:00 – 2:00p.m.)

Location: Arlington Heights Memorial Library, 2nd Flr, 500 N. Dunton Ave., Arlington Heights, IL

Cost: ENG MEMBERS $5.00. GUESTS are $20.00 for the day, which can be credited toward full membership if done within 30 days.
Pre-registration is not required.

Complete Agenda:
12:00 – 1:00: Registration and Informal Networking
1:00 – 2:00: Keynote Speaker
2:00 – 2:30: Announcements
2:30 – 2:45: Break with Refreshments
2:45-4:30: 3 Networking Sessions
4:30-5:30: Peggy Kinnane’s Irish Pub (4 blks from Library)

Phone Interview Horror Stories

Posted: June 3rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Acing the Interview, Interview Tips, Phone Interviews | Comments Off on Phone Interview Horror Stories

In the past weekphone interview horror story alone, there have been media requests, client questions and hiring manager horror stories pass through my office all related to phone interviewing. The worst stories can sometimes be the ones that give us the most insight which led me to the idea of writing this blog post about phone interview horror stories.

Horror Story #1: Not-So-Smart Phone
With a name that starts with “Ad…” I get pocket-dialed all the time and that’s precisely what this candidate, or her, not-so-smart phone did in this case.  Just hours after being interviewed via phone for a professional position at a financial services Fortune 500 company, Juliana* was having a conversation with a friend about her plans to possibly spend the summer in San Diego or Los Angeles. That sounds like great fun, unless you’re a hiring manager that’s interested in keeping turnover low and the position you were considering Juliana for is based in Chicago. How did he know about the conversation with her friend? Her phone dialed his number back automatically from her pocket and, thankfully he didn’t answer, but his voicemail recorded the entire conversation. He also knows she’s got a new dragonfly tattoo.

Phone Interview Tip: Lock your phone during your job search to avoid pocket dialing.

Horror Story #2: Costly Distractions

Thanks to Emma Simmons for posting this phone interview horror story on Linked In. “The best examples…that I have seen so far? General wind problems including constant burping with no apology….to loud yawning during a telephone interview on numerous occasions.” It sounds like these candidates needed a refresher course from Emily Post. Burping and yawning? Gross.

Phone Interview Tip: Get a good night’s sleep and avoid soda before the interview.

Horror Story #3: Breaking It Down

After 6 successful interviews, this candidate was one step from a new job as a Manufacturing Plant Manager. Many times the last step in the process is merely getting a sign off from another executive which is why the interview takes place over the phone. In this case, even the CEO had already approved the candidate and was excited to bring him on board, until this happened.  Ring, ring. Hello. Begin crazy, unexpected interview. Rather than talking “shop”, the candidate began to talk about his recent separation from his wife. Despite the manager’s attempt to shift the conversation, several times, he continued to describe the details of their relationship until he had a full emotional breakdown. As he continued to cry, loudly, he went into the details of how he and his wife were making love the day of their divorce when her dog jumped up onto their bed with a pair of boxers in his mouth – that weren’t his! Let’s just say, he didn’t get the job and the manager had to report back why the supposedly superstar candidate his CEO and 6 other managers thought highly of was, less than stellar.

Phone Interview Tip: Stick to business-related topics.

These horror stories merely highlight how things can go completely awry during a simple interview that otherwise would be the first step toward a great new job. If you’ve got a phone interview coming up, check out these  Top 10 Phone Interview Tips to make sure you don’t end up as the subject of a horror story.