All you job seekers out there could benefit from what a hiring manager had to say about interviews, resumes, and professionalism.

If you're fresh out of school or just looking to head towards greener career pastures, it's always beneficial to consult those who are in the business of hiring personnel. For what they've experienced over the years, you can imagine all the different personalities and situations that have come into their office.

We collected a variety of different job hunting questions and sent them to our friend and longtime hiring manager, Alice, who gave us some helpful insight to what to do and what not to do when on the prowl for a new gig. 

woman in job interview

What are some things that should never be on a resume?

Anything about personal characteristics, protected classifications, and no pictures.

I committed a misdemeanor offense over 10 years ago, do I have to disclose this to potential employers?

It is always best to be truthful if asked about these types of things, especially if the question is on an application form that you are certifying to be true. Chances are this type of record will no longer show when a background screening is completed, but it is best to tell the truth.

I’m three months pregnant and interviewing for a job next week, do I have to tell them I’m expecting?

Pregnancy is a protected classification and it is against the law for a prospective employer to make hiring decisions based on protected classifications. Honestly, they shouldn’t ask about it either or they could be putting themselves at risk. But again, the truth is always best, so if you are asked, you should be truthful. However, if that factors into their decision to hire you or not, you could have a legitimate claim against them.

What is the best response when asked why I’m leaving my current position?

This is really a personal decision, and is based on the circumstances of your departure. I advocate for honesty, but I also don’t believe in burning bridges. A fine balance, if you will. As a hiring manager, I always prefer my departing employees to tell the truth about why they are leaving, even if their input is negative. These are the types of opportunities that provide a means for us to improve. Of course, my preference would be to obtain this information, whether it is positive or negative feedback, during the course of employment, so we have an opportunity to address it and do better, if necessary.

What questions do hiring managers ask a candidate’s former employer?

This is widely varied. We ask things like, dates of employment, duties, quality of work, whether the person is a team player, why they left, and whether the employee is eligible for rehire.

Are employers really looking at my social media profiles?

Yes, they could be, but know they should be careful about who is looking and the means for doing so. It is not okay to require the prospective employee to give up login information, as that is an invasion of privacy. Again, there is a risk in seeking information related to protected characteristics that should not be considered in a hiring decision. The best solution is to use a background screening company that utilizes a compliant process to review social media and only reports acceptable information back to the company who is hiring.

What’s the best way to turn down a job offer?

Good question! I would say, politely and professionally, and always thank them for their time and consideration.

How do I address having a disability?

Yes, honestly and upfront. Employers have an obligation to provide reasonable accommodations for disabilities, so they should work with you. However, do keep in mind that depending on the circumstances, some employers may not be able to make the accommodations that are necessary if it creates an undue hardship.

I think my interview went great, should I follow up with a phone call or email? If so, how long should I wait?

I am an advocate of sending a thank-you note or email immediately after the interview. I think it sends a great message that you are interested and that you appreciate the opportunity. If you haven’t heard something in a week, I would say it's okay to follow up.

How do you spot a “scam” job post?

I think the most telling way is if it appears too good to be true, then it probably is. I also look for grammar and punctuation errors. I say to always trust your gut. If it doesn’t seem right, trust it and maybe do some research on the side about the company to see if they advertise jobs on their own career page, or if they have any negative comments on the internet about scams, etc.

Have a question for Alice? Let us know in the comments!

Hey, Millennials! The Boomer Generation has some helpful work tips, too.