Tricky Tactics Employers Use to Evaluate You

You've prepared and practiced all of your interview p's and q's, but hiring managers are no longer settling for taking what you present at face value. They're digging deeper and using any information that surfaces to determine your worthiness as a candidate for the job. Find out if your bases are truly covered when you discover the tricky ways some hiring managers evaluate applicants below.

  • They Watch Your Waiting Behavior - Your interview process begins well before you actually meet the hiring manager in person, and it includes your behavior as you wait your turn. Mind your mannerisms as you wait (sit up straight instead of slouching and lay off the nail-biting) and patiently review your notes and resume. Be courteous to the receptionist and try and be conscious of how often you check your watch.
  • They Contact References Outside Your List - Employers can and do reach out to personnel at your previous employers who may not have been included on the list of references you provided. It's sneaky, but some hiring managers want the scoop from people you haven't chosen to speak on your behalf. Some company policies limit the amount of information any reference can provide, but others allow their staff to answer any questions as long as they're relaying truthful information.
  • They Read Your Blog - You might think only friends and family read your little old blog, and that might be true - until you've applied for a job. If your name is attached to your blog there's a good chance it will come up in a Google search. When you're applying for a job that asks for a writing sample and you provide your blog, think hard about whether or not there are inappropriate posts an employer might read.
  • They Call Their Own Contacts - If you happen to apply at a company where the hiring manager has her own contacts, then don't be surprised when she calls her pals to ask about you. This is just one of the many reasons why it's best to keep your bridges intact when leaving any company.
  • They Look at Your Facebook Profile - How could you deny the hiring manager's request to become your friend? Use a respectable profile picture, and by all means, make sure none of your friends have tagged you in their inappropriate photos. Watch your language and make sure you haven't badmouthed a previous employer or made remarks about how much you hate work.
  • They Ask Off-the-Wall Questions - Yes, it's annoying when interviewers ask questions like, "If you were a tree, what kind would you be," but some people use this tactic to see how well you're able to think on the spot and roll with the punches. If you're asked a question like this, take moment to collect your thoughts, and then proceed with your best answer.
  • They Watch Your Eating Habits - If you're called in for a day of marathon interviewing, don't assume they'll give you a break to have lunch alone. You'll eat through an interview, and your fellow diners will take note of your eating habits. Pull out your most polite table etiquette and remember, napkins are your friends.
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