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You’ve just aced an interview for a role you really want. What next? In the period between shaking the hand of your interviewer goodbye and the company’s next step in the hiring process, you can send a thank-you note. Before you think that it’s pushy or old-fashioned to do so, let’s talk about why it could be the move that lands you your dream job.

Show Your Interest

Many people apply to multiple jobs that they are not 100 per cent interested in, just to cast the widest net and see what offers they can reel in. Interviewers know this too. In order to make sure your name is still at the top of the list of candidates, tell them you are actually interested! Hiring managers will appreciate that you are serious about the role. The earlier you send a thank-you note, the better. Ideally, you should leave the note in their inbox within 24 hours of your interview.

Stand Out of the Crowd

You may be one of the hundreds of candidates that have applied or interviewed for the job. Remind the company of who you are with a follow-up note. It adds the personal touch and reminds interviewers that you are a human being, not just a name on a list. A handwritten note will make you stand out, but email is more efficient — you can determine the best format based on company culture. A tech company will expect online communications, but an old-fashioned office may be more inclined towards paper and pen.

It’s Classy to Be Polite

Displaying etiquette will let your interviewer know that you know how to behave in a professional setting. Soft skills are harder to view on a resume, but easy to demonstrate in real life. Politeness is an underrated quality that people always appreciate. People want to work with pleasant employees. Even if you don’t get the job, you’ll create a connection. When the next job opening comes along, the hiring manager may remember you and reach out if you are a good fit.

Note that the hiring process at many companies has become so automated that you may never get the contact information of your interviewer. In order to get around this problem, you can consider going to the office and leaving a note with the receptionist to deliver or looking up the email address of the hiring department on the company website. Carefully gauge what is appropriate and don’t breach anyone’s privacy.

How to Write a Thank-You Note

  • Start off with a simple greeting and make sure you spell the interviewer’s name correctly!
  • Thank them for the interview and show them that you appreciate their time.
  • Remind them what you talked about and which role you are in consideration for.
  • Restate why you would be a great candidate and highlight the relevant parts of your resume.
  • Sign off with another thank you and leave your contact information beneath your name.

Rose Ho | Junior Writer

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Blog

Earlier this year, Chris Hughes, a Victoria man, was awarded payment from Transport Canada after the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled in his favor, demanding Transport Canada to compensate him with the salary and benefits he would have earned as an intelligence analyst— the job he applied for 13 years ago.

After admitting he had a mental illness during the job interview, Hughes’ candidature was rejected by Transport Canada. The company then blacklisted him and sent emails to federal government departments that tainted Hughes’ image, resulting in him becoming unable to find a job in his field.

Hughes’ case is a great example of hiring discrimination based on implicit bias toward mental illness. It’s possible for anyone to have implicit biases about something or a group of people. Unfortunately, whether we’re aware of our attitude or not, rejecting an aspiring worker based on beliefs and stereotypes not only hurts them, but also hinders the employer’s potential of finding the right candidate.

Chris Hughes’ case is also a human rights violation. Employers are required by law to give equal treatment without discrimination based on ethnicity, gender, age, disability, citizenship, and more. They must also give equal opportunities to women, Native American peoples, people with disabilities, and visible minorities. On top of that, employers must accommodate workers in a way that reduces or prevents discrimination in the workplace (including job duties). But workplace discrimination is highly common, and some of the most prevalent forms include racial bias, ageism, and mental health stigmatization.

Some may be rejected because of their non-western name alone. Resume whitening is a term referring to workers adopting anglicized names (or shortening their names) on their resume to seem more attractive to employers. Philip Oreopoulos, economist and researcher at the University of Toronto, conducted research in 2015 in Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal about resume whitening. Resumes were submitted online across several disciplines with applicants’ real names, and other copies were sent with a mere name change. With all three cities combined, the study concluded that resumes with western names were 35% more likely to receive a call back than resumes with Indian or Chinese names.

The same study asked recruiters why they believed employers discriminate against applicants with non-western names, and they stated it was because employers worry that such applicants lack proper social skills and language fluency.

But just because someone’s native tongue isn’t English, doesn’t mean their language skills aren’t strong. Having workers from different ethnic backgrounds may bring in new customers or solidify relationships with existing ones if they see that there’s someone who looks like them; customers will feel more comfortable speaking with that worker, maybe even talk in their native tongue. Cultural diversity also brings in different perspectives, which creates innovation.

Older workers may be afraid that their age will be a barrier to employment. While employers might think that older workers aren’t up to speed with technology, the use of any tech device can be taught. Older workers are more likely to stay at the company for several years and remain loyal, unlike younger workers, who are usually more interested in moving up the corporate ladder, which means changing companies when a more attractive opportunity arises. Senior workers may have a larger and stronger network of professionals to tap into than their younger peers as well. On top of that, having several generations working together allows young workers to learn from older ones and vice versa.

According to CAMH, 39% of Ontario workers indicated that if they were facing a mental health problem, they wouldn’t tell their managers. Aspiring workers with mental illness fear confessing their issue will blemish their professional image. However, many people at work secretly have mental health problems they either hide from their employer or developed while working there.

It’s understandable why someone will want to hide their mental illness— employers could fear late starts, sudden absences, or erratic behaviour. But there are ways to lessen such behaviours. The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) released a report in 2018 that included solutions to hiring and retaining aspiring workers such as allowing flexible hours, extending lunch (for better rest), and discretionary use of sick days.

Again, sometimes biases are unconscious, but that’s no excuse for treating someone unfairly. Educate yourself and your employees on discriminatory workplace practices. There are several ways to prevent unfair hiring:

  • Include a thorough discrimination module as part of employee training in every department, followed by open conversations amongst coworkers.
  • Use software to screen applicants or mask the names of all applicants while reviewing resumes.
  • Implement bias interrupters: small adjustments to your hiring criteria, performance evaluations, worker compensation, and other systems that prevent or reduce discriminatory guidelines.
  • Design the work environment with people with disabilities and mental health challenges in mind.
  • Have an open heart and lead by example.

It’s important not only to educate yourself on hiring discrimination, but to continuously seek learning opportunities that will help you dismantle what you think you know about a particular group of people so that you can better your cultural knowledge and overall wisdom.

Joséphine Mwanvua | Contributing Writer

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Blog, Human Resources
Finding the right employee can be difficult in even the best of circumstances. Poorly thought out search criteria can make the job that much harder by making it difficult to determine who the best available candidate is. Whenever you’re looking to fill a position, consider the following before you make a hiring decision.   Define Job Requirements or Qualifications   Be careful that your job requirements aren’t exclusionary or discriminatory towards other cultures or religions. For example, a rule that your employees must be clean-shaven. This would prevent you from hiring someone from the Sikh community even if you did not intend for it to do so.   To avoid issues with discrimination, be proactive about designing job requirements in such a way that only the absolute essentials are included: things that are required to do the job. This will ensure that your requirements fall under “bona fide” or government approved and will protect you from lawsuits and unflattering publicity.   Prepare a Detailed Job Description   A good job description will communicate the role’s responsibilities as clearly as possible to job seekers. It also allows them to get a better understanding of what their most important duties will be, and how they will be asked to prioritize. Ideally, the job description should also establish how the goals of the position contribute to the overall mission of the company.   A clear, detailed, well-written job description is not only useful for discouraging applications from less qualified applicants, but it can also help hiring managers better identify who has the most desirable characteristics for the job. For example, companies can learn more about where an employee might need more training by gauging their attributes against the job requirements.   Tailor Your Interview Questions   Avoid using the same tired old questions and instead draft specific questions based on the most important criteria outlined in your job description. You want to leave the interview with a good idea about how well the candidate will perform in the role and whether they will be a good cultural fit for your organization. You want to avoid using generic questions, so that they don’t just end up giving you the answers you want to hear.   Establish Employment Tests   Thorough background checks will protect you and your company from litigation over negligent hiring or a “failure to warn” if the employee ends up doing something violent or controversial. You have a duty of care to your employees, which means you can be held accountable if you hire someone who harms or threatens them. Aside from running the standard criminal background checks, it’s always a good idea to conduct a Google search for their LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter accounts. By doing so, you may get some insight into what type of personality the candidates have and the kinds of associations they maintain. Some firms also utilize credit checks to better gauge how stable a person is in making important decisions.   Strong search criteria will allow you to quickly identify who has the most desirable traits by providing you with a system where the most important attributes are properly emphasized and the vetting process naturally requires the candidate to showcase the knowledge you need them to have. As your criteria becomes more and more well defined, the hiring process will become proportionately easier as well. Save yourself some work later by putting in the effort to develop the right criteria early.   Salman Allidina | Contributing Writer
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