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    7 Interview Questions You Never Have to Answer (& How You Should Respond)

    When you’re interviewing for a job — and particularly one you really want — it can be tempting to tell your interviewer everything they want to hear. But some seemingly innocent questions can actually be inappropriate (and often illegal). 

    First things first: An interview is about your qualifications for the job

    Understanding whether a candidate fits a certain position and the company culture is a primary task of employers throughout an interview. Along with aptitude assessments, screening, and testing, questions are a key evaluation tool for HR teams and hiring managers. Yet, there are some fine legal lines between what’s acceptable and what’s not when it comes to job interviews. The general rule of thumb is anything you’re asked should relate to your qualifications for the job in question.

    At a high level, regulations around interview questions and employment decisions are designed to protect potential employees from discrimination unrelated to their ability to do the job. Some jobs have mandatory qualifications, referred to as Bona Fide Occupational Qualifications (BFOQs). These may initially seem out of line but are valid in the context of a certain employer or role. 

    Asking someone’s age, for example, is generally off-limits. However, it may be permissible to ask airline pilots as broader safety regulations exist around this. BFOQs are related to hiring based on age, sex, race, national origin, or religion. Most tech roles, however, shouldn’t come with any BFOQs so a feeling of discomfort is more than likely signals an inappropriate ask.

    What’s actually off-limits?

    Companies are not allowed to make hiring decisions based on any of the following (excluding in the case of BFOQs): 

    AgeMarital and family statusDisabilitiesRace or colorGenderReligionBirthplace, nationality, or ancestrySalary history (in some places—check your state and city regulations)

    While many seemingly innocent questions appear to be the interviewer’s attempt to get to know you (and may well be!), answering questions about your family status, religion, etc. may unfairly bias your interviewer and distract them from the real topic at hand: whether you’re the best candidate for this role.

    Be prepared to answer questions related to education, work experience, motivation, personal qualities, and future career plans. Be wary of questions violating personal boundaries. Employers are actually not entitled to ask such questions, and you do not need to answer them. As a jobseeker, this right is protected by the law.

    Whether you’re being asked maliciously or not, here’s your guide to handling inappropriate questions if they come up in an interview.

    1. Are you married?

    It’s unlikely you will come across such a direct question. In fact, all questions related to a candidate’s marital status are technically illegal. However, some employers might overstep boundaries and ask about plans for marriage or work after the birth of children. This could be in an attempt to tease out answers about a candidate’s commitment to the company in the future. 

    According to research, only 12% of respondents said they were asked in an interview about their future plans for marriage. As many as 28% reported the interviewer asked about their marital status. 

    How to respond

    In order to shift the conversation back to a work-related topic, you can respond with:

    “I’m not quite ready yet for this discussion, but I’m very interested in career development in your company. Could you tell me more about this?” 

    This will demonstrate your motivation and commitment to career growth, while simultaneously setting boundaries.

    2. Do you have children? If not, do you plan on it? 

    Often, employers ask probing questions about family in a misled attempt to understand the candidate as a potential employee. Women, for example, receive questions about having children amid a common stereotype about employees with small children taking more time off and sick leave. 

    Studies show 25% of interviewers asked women if they had children. Since, in the modern world, a man can also go on maternity leave, such questions are invalid, inappropriate, and even meaningless. 

    To some candidates, this question is unacceptable and discourages them from working with a team where personal boundaries are violated.

    How to respond

    One of the possible answers:

    “Yes, I do. However, I’d prefer to keep this conversation focused on my professional skills”, or “I know it can be challenging to find the right work-life balance. However, I can assure you I do not allow my personal life to interfere with my professional duties.”

    3. What was your salary in your last job?

    A potential employer can discuss with the candidate financial issues relating exclusively to salary expectations for the position the company is interviewing. 

    The employer does not have the right to share information about wages at the previous place of work. Currently, it’s illegal for some or all employers to ask you about your payment history in several cities and states. It’s called a salary ban.

    What is a salary ban?

    Salary history bans are policies preventing employers from asking about a candidate’s previous salary. The bans aim to reduce pay discrimination in hiring decisions and are a step toward promoting equal pay. 

    Jobseekers may rephrase the question regarding salary expectations into a current salary negotiation. Candidates can also share a figure of their expectations if they think it will work in their favor. 

    How to respond

    For instance: 

    “I’m not comfortable discussing my salary history, but I do know my target salary for this position is X amount” or “My previous employer was very strict about privacy and security. Thus, I’m not entitled to disclose information about the salaries they offer.”

    4. How would you handle managing a team of all men/women?

    Unfortunately, gender discrimination is still far too common in the labor market. It’s especially visible through wage inequality. While there are myths and stereotypes related to “male” and “female” professions, and the ability to perform certain jobs, interview questions related to these matters remain taboo. 

    During interviews, employers may ask candidates to prove their ability to perform tasks they believe are appropriate for members of the opposite sex. In this case, candidates should focus all attention on their achievements and results.

    How to respond

    In this case, we advise dropping the gender aspect and focusing on your managerial skills in an answer. For example: 

    “I’m very comfortable in a management role. In fact, in my last position, I managed these responsibilities well for over a year.”

    5. What country are you originally from?

    Many employers may have trouble hiring employees who are legally prohibited from working in the country. This has led companies to take tougher measures in finding out more about the origin of future employees. 

    But the only legal way to find out is to ask directly: “Are you legally allowed to work in this country?” Phrasing the question as “Where were you born?” or “Where are you from?” and making citizenship inquiries are illegal. 

    According to a CareerBuilder and Harris Poll survey of more than 2,100 hiring and Human Resources managers, about 20% unwittingly asked candidates illegal questions in an interview. 

    How to respond

    Candidates can gracefully evade this by saying: “I have lived in different places, but by law, I have the right to work in this country.”

    6. What religion do you practice?

    The employer does not have the right to demand an answer about which church you go to or whether you go at all. 

    If you do decide to answer this question, pay attention to how important it is to the interviewer. Ardent adherence to a certain idea may indicate an unhealthy atmosphere in the company.

    How to respond

    You can note you have your religion, but also respect that of others. To eliminate the abusive effect of this question, you can say: “I’m certain I’ll be able to work the schedule you need for this position, so no worries.”

    7. Do you have any physical impairments or disabilities?

    Some companies require future employees to submit medical certificates about their health status. It can be a measure of concern for potential employees. 

    But employers cannot be interested in your well-being and chronic health problems in the interview out of idle interest — to estimate how often you will take sick leave, for example. This information is confidential and only applies to you and your doctor.

    Candidates can disclose their disabilities in advance if they feel comfortable doing so. If you are curious about disclosing a disability in the job search, read this guide. 

    How to respond

    For instance: 

    “I believe I have all the necessary skills and abilities to fulfill the responsibilities related to the role.”

    Moving Forward

    At the end of the day, innocent-enough intentions are behind most interview questions. However, illegal or inappropriate questions may be a red flag in regard to the company’s HR professionalism and culture as a whole. Directly answering them can violate your personal boundaries and/or lead to discrimination. Don’t feel obligated to answer questions that detract from what matters: your qualifications, interest in, and ability to do the job.  More

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    How to Foster Psychological Safety in the Workplace, from Interviews to Management

    Why it’s Important to Create an Environment for Employees and Candidates that Welcomes Feedback

    The workplace hasn’t always felt like a safe space to speak up or out. Because of that, issues can go unaddressed and ideas can go unmentioned. Savvy organizations know an environment strong in psychological safety is more conducive to innovation and employee satisfaction. Haven’t heard of psychological safety before or don’t know what it is? Learn why it’s important in the workplace from interviewing to managing teams. Find out how to establish and nurture it within your company.

    What Is Psychological Safety?

    According to Harvard leadership professor Amy Edmondson, “psychological safety is a belief that it’s absolutely ok, in fact, it’s expected, to speak up with concerns, with questions, with ideas, with mistakes.” Everyone feels comfortable being themselves at work. There’s no fear of punishment or humiliation for one’s thoughts or ideas.

    This doesn’t mean work is sunshine and rainbows all the time. Conflict will happen. The difference is people are willing to speak up. There’s mutual support with psychological safety.

    Psychological safety lays the groundwork for innovation and adaptive performance. This can occur at all levels of an organization. It establishes an environment where team members feel comfortable expressing concerns. They ask tough questions because everyone’s input counts. They’re not afraid to throw out ideas for fear of rejection. When team members feel safe, they’re more likely to take risks, share new ideas, and challenge the status quo.

    Anabel Morales, VP of Talent Acquisition at Worksome describes psychological safety in a nutshell as “really just having the ability to speak your mind and being open to candor.”

    Tyler Parson, Head of Talent at Chili Piper explains how creating this space stems back to the organization taking initiative. “If you create a culture where it’s okay to say those things, then it takes all the fear out of it, or at least most of the fear out of it.” 

    Company Values & Culture Foster Psychological Safety

    Reinforce and promote psychological safety through the company’s values. Doing so allows you to set the tone for its development throughout the organization.

    Worksome’s company values are “Speak data, be brave, and have fun.” Anabel Morales explains how these values work to build an environment of psychological safety. 

    “Being brave really connects to letting people be authentic, speak their minds, and have fun. I think it’s not just about social events and team building, but it’s also about actually having a passion for your work and having fun at your job because of what you’re doing.” 

    “Our cultural framework is made up of trust, transparency, and inclusion. We try to approach everyday interactions with our colleagues in this way and also throughout the candidate journey.

    Culture promotes psychological safety for internal employees seeking changes too. Tyler Parson shares how this works.

    “What we’re trying to build at Chili Piper and have been successful in doing so far is creating a culture where if you want something new, you always ask for it internally first. If it’s in the realm of possibility and our growth plan, then we try it.”

    With clear values and a positive culture, employees can feel comfortable expressing themselves in the workplace and building trust with the company.

    Psychological Safety in Interviewing

    For far too long, an interview hasn’t always felt like an opportunity to speak up without fear of backlash. Or worse, getting the boot from the recruitment process. Building psychological safety in interviewing will change that.

    Anabel explains why Worksome makes an effort to provide psychological safety in the interview process. “We want to ensure people feel free to speak up and share failures as well as successes because we know that’s really where the learning happens and that’s just important to share.” 

    This welcomes the opportunity for candidates to share the adversity they overcame to achieve success!

    So, how do you set a precedent of psychological safety for a candidate in an interview? It starts with the interviewer.

    Tyler shares that Chilli Piper ensures during “interview trainings, hiring managers are equipped with how to create a basic positive candidate experience. Part of that is understanding how to make candidates feel comfortable, welcomed, and [empowered] to talk about their experiences in a way that doesn’t shy away from talking about their failures.

    Gauge a candidate’s ability to foster psychological safety in the workplace. Ask questions focusing on empathy and respect. Assess if this person will be a good fit in a culture of psychological safety.

    How do you go about building trust with your team?Provide an example of how you showed empathy in your current role.How would you help someone progress after a failure?Share how would you respond if someone else’s view on a task or project differed from yours.

    Psychological Safety for Management

    Creating a psychologically safe workplace starts with strong leadership. Leaders need to model the behavior they want to see in their team members. They need to encourage open communication. Give employees the space to voice their opinions.

    Anabel believes “top leadership” setting a precedent has a ripple effect throughout the organization. “I think if they are living out their values then it will naturally trickle down to the rest of the company.” 

    “You can always use the values when you are trying to make tough decisions and when you reflect on the values, it’s [even] helpful in navigating your day-to-day.”

    “When we hire managers or if we promote somebody into a management role, right away we introduce them to our leadership principle, educating them on just how to live up to those values.”

    Tips to Build Psychological Safety

    Here are 3 important tips from Amy Edmondson to create psychological safety as a leader: 

    Frame the work as a learning problem, instead of an execution problem. Needing everyone’s involvement creates a rationale for speaking up.

    Ask more questions to invite sharingActively request opinions from those who tend to stay quiet

    Acknowledge your own fallibility to create more safety for speaking up. Tyler Parson supports this saying, “It starts with… you as a leader practicing vulnerability”

    Apologize when you make a mistakeAsk for help when you need it

    Model curiosity and ask a lot of questions to create a necessity for voice.

    Promote equal speaking time for everyone involvedEncourage feedback sharing and use it to build on ideas

    Psychological Safety Is the Foundation for Innovation

    Psychological safety establishes a baseline. Everyone can feel safe to speak up and feel heard when they do. In this sort of environment, innovation comes easily with the free flow of ideas. 

    Want more insights into recruiting tips and trends?

    Tune into Hired’s podcast, Talk Talent to Me, to learn about the strategies, techniques, and trends shaping the recruitment industry—straight from top experts themselves.

    Finally, want to listen to the full episodes featured in this article?

    Editor’s note: at the time of the podcast recording, Tyler was Head of Talent, in June of 2022, she was promoted to VP, People. Congrats, Tyler! Likewise, when her episode was recorded, Anabel was VP of Talent Acquisition, in August of 2022, she became VP, People and Culture. Congrats, Anabel! More

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    6 Common FAQs from Jobseekers: Answers to Help You Prepare for & Dive Into the Job Search

    How Hired Helps: Ask Me Anything: Pathrise

    Jobseekers asked and we answered! Hired teamed up with partner, Pathrise, an online program for tech professionals, to bring jobseekers an AMA-style discussion that addressed their FAQs about the job search. Hired’s Sophia Koehl from the Partnerships Team and Nate Becker from the Candidate Experience Team joined Morgan Beatty, a Pathrise Career Mentor to share their expert advice. 

    Keep reading for answers to questions you may have as a jobseeker. Scroll down to watch the full discussion. 

    FAQ #1: When is the best time to look for a new job opportunity?

    Nate

    If you have a Hired account, submit your profile and go live to companies approximately 30 days before your desired start date. This is quite optimistic but it is an ideal scenario. Following this, make sure your resume and LinkedIn profile are uploaded and up-to-date. 

    FAQ #2: How do I get started networking on LinkedIn? Do I need to be more active before starting? 

    Morgan

    While you don’t have to be very active before starting, we recommend you have at least 100 connections. You want to give the impression that you know people. If you’re looking for people to connect with, start with your university, previous employers, and family and friends. They will be able to help you in your network and your search before you start posting. 

    Is it good to be active? Most definitely. Do you have to start from scratch and write your own post? No, you can simply re-share articles relevant to your industry. This will showcase your passion for joining that industry. Don’t forget to follow companies you admire so you can keep up with the content you’re interested in. 

    Nate

    You can also set your profile status to “open to work” to show you are actively exploring opportunities.

    Connect your LinkedIn to your Hired profile to show you are intentionally looking and are ready to start a new role. This also makes it easier for companies to corroborate your experience. They love to do that! 

    Note: The Hired platform is a closed, curated marketplace in contrast to a public platform like LinkedIn. On Hired you cannot browse roles, search companies, or apply to positions. We work the other way around. Once your Hired profile goes live, we match you to available roles and suggest you for good fits. Then, our companies reach out to you to request an interview. From here, you can accept or decline based on your feelings toward the company, location, pay, etc.

    FAQ #4: How do I know if I’m taking the right approach for the role I am seeking?

    Nate

    Be mindful of the role you are seeking. Lay out a story of yourself you can frame on paper. If you are a Software Engineer, highlight your hard skills, technical skills, and tech stack as opposed to the soft skills. Keep a finger on the pulse of where your industry is going by considering:

    What are the hot skills? What are the trends?What are you seeing when you look at job descriptions?What can you add to your skillset to be more competitive? What certifications would benefit you? What skills do others in the industry have? 

    Related: Discover the latest trends and most in-demand skills for Software Engineers in Hired’s State of Software Engineers report.

    Morgan

    Remember, don’t just chase skills because they are popular. Cross reference it with what you have a genuine interest in. Find the sweet spot and then upskill based on that. Your skills are not just for show — it is far more meaningful to develop what you need. 

    FAQ #5: Should I apply for a job when I only meet part of the requirements listed? 

    Morgan

    We’ve probably all asked ourselves this as jobseekers, right? Millennials, especially, face imposter syndrome but don’t let it hit you here. If you meet at least 50% of the requirements, apply!

    When you reach the interview phase, the hiring manager wants to see if you can do the work. If you can get your skills and stories connected to that, who’s to say they would not hire you? Don’t doubt yourself. This is an especially important question to address because great candidates often don’t apply because of self doubt. 

    Nate

    If there are requirements you don’t meet, you can address them and point to transferable skills. You can say, “I accomplished this in the past and that would work here” or “I also do this —  have you considered how that could be beneficial to the role?” 

    This is also an opportunity to upskill again. If the requirements you don’t meet involve something you are interested in, explore ways to get certified or trained in those areas. At Hired, we have partnerships with organizations that specialize in helping jobseekers upskill and develop hard skills. Take advantage of these resources to broaden expertise, especially when you repeatedly come across a job skill in your search. That’s your cue to take action and look to our partners for some help.

    Related: 

    FAQ #6: Should I wait until I’m in the country I want to work in to apply to positions in my field?

    Morgan

    The most important aspect when thinking about location is being prepared to speak about the sponsorship. This includes knowing what you need to live and work in that country. Know specifically what you need before you begin your application process. Then, you will know what to say when a recruiter or hiring manager calls you. 

    Nate

    If you are prepared to speak on this, it’s crucial to act quickly — don’t wait. On your Hired profile, you can indicate your current location in addition to cities you’re interested in working in. 

    Even if you are seeking remote work, you would list your current location but be able to indicate you are searching for remote work in a particular time zone. With this, you can target companies looking to hire remote workers in another country and time zone. When we match you on the platform, companies are aware of this.

    Go in understanding you will probably receive less interest than you would after you relocating. It’s important to not wait just in case you’re missing out on a great company that can support your needs and can work with you before you move. 

    Sophia

    The Hired platform is effective for getting candidates hired both locally and globally. Take advantage of the features that allow you to list out (in order) the cities you are willing to relocate to, and your preferred working hours and time zone.

    Related: Should I Stay or Should I Go? Workers Explore Relocation to Improve Quality of Life, Pay

    How to increase the chances of getting your Hired profile approved and showcasing your skills to employers

    Nate

    On Hired we see mid-level and senior-level talent achieving the most success based on the demand right now, as opposed to entry-level candidates. The platform caters to what active employers are looking for, meaning a smaller pool of skill sets are in demand on Hired as opposed to a public platform like LinkedIn. You’ll notice a more curated list of career path options to select from when you create your Hired profile. 

    When a particular area is not listed there and you find yourself having to click “other,” you will not go live on the platform. This means we currently don’t offer that skill set.

    We are focused on Software Engineers, Product Managers, DevOps, and QA as we see high demand for these areas. Be mindful that Software Engineering has the highest demand — it is like our bread and butter. 

    If you didn’t go live and you selected Data Analytics or QA, for example, there may simply be less demand for those skill sets at the moment. Resubmit your profile every 2 to 3 months to check if demand increased.

    A helpful tip is to focus your profile. We see a lot of folks list any employment they have ever had. However, if you’re targeting a specific field, keep it exclusive to full-time roles in that skillset. Hired does not support hybrid profiles so tailor your profile around a specific focus.

    For entry-level job seekers, you may fall below the two-year threshold that the platform accommodates. Make sure to keep your profile up-to-date with new opportunities or explore one of our partnerships, like a General Assembly to develop your experience. General Assembly graduates do go live on the Hired platform with less experience but still earn attention from employers.

    Related: Want More Interviews and Better Matches? 5 Key Tips!

    Watch the full discussion here.  More

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    Should You Disclose a Disability During Your Job Search? The Complete Guide

    Searching for a new job can be a stressful, anxiety-inducing process for anyone. If you’re one of the 61 million U.S. adults (26% of the population) who lives with a disability, a job search can be even more complex and worrisome.

    Are you legally required to share information about your disability in the first place? Can employers opt to pass over your candidacy due to a disability? When is the best time to disclose your disability during the application and interview process? How specific do you have to get?

    These are just some of the many questions that might be passing through your mind as you think about applying for your next job. 

    Luckily, being prepared is half the battle. By researching what to expect during the process, you can take some of the pressure out of applying for a job with a disability.

    What types of disability forms will I come across during my job search?

    The most common disability form you’ll encounter during your job search is the Voluntary Self-Identification of Disability form issued by the Office of Management and Budget. 

    A disability form is a government-required step in the application process for a company in order to provide equal employment opportunities for those with disabilities. In the United States, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforces Federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. An equal opportunity employer is one that pledges to not discriminate against employees based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetic information. Therefore, companies ask — but do not require — applicants to fill out this form.

    In a nutshell, this form explains the reasoning behind requesting the information, tells you which conditions qualify as disabilities, and gives you three options for answers: 

    Yes, I have a disability or have a history/record of having a disabilityNo, I don’t have a disability or a history/record of having a disabilityI don’t wish to answer

    Do I need to disclose my disability to employers in the first place?

    This question is often top of mind for folks. When the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law in 1990, it became illegal for employers to discriminate against hiring qualified individuals due to mental or physical disability. 

    On top of that, the ADA also requires employers to make “reasonable accommodations” to ensure that qualified individuals with disabilitiesf can perform effectively at work (e.g., putting in a wheelchair ramp to access an office building). 

    Unfortunately, despite the progress since 1990, discrimination is still common and not all cases get solved. In 2021 alone, 22,843 disability claims were filed nationally, making it the most commonly reported type of discrimination in the workforce. 

    Refocusing on the positives, know that you are in control of what to share. You are not legally required to disclose your disability status to a potential employer. 

    It’s also worth noting that you might not be required to get into the specifics of your condition — which might give candidates who don’t want to be associated with the stigma of their disability peace of mind. While the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) hasn’t issued formal guidance on whether employers can ask for the precise diagnosis, some states, including California and Connecticut, do not allow companies to ask for detailed information about your medical history. 

    Despite the legal protections that exist (more on this in a bit), it’s perfectly understandable why someone with a disability might hesitate to disclose that information. All other factors the same, might an employer opt to hire a candidate without a disability over one with a disability? It’s a very valid concern.

    Before we take a look at some of the scenarios where it makes sense to disclose your condition, let’s take a step back and examine your legal rights as a jobseeker with a disability.

    Legal protection for jobseekers with disabilities

    If you’re qualifed for the essential functions of the job you’re applying for and you have a disability, the ADA protects you from getting passed over due to discrimination. “Qualification” includes having the requisite education, experience, and skill set needed to excel in the position — and the ability to perform the job responsibilities, with or without accommodation.

    This means that employers cannot discriminate against you during the recruiting, hiring, and training processes, and they also can’t discriminate against you when it comes to promotions, benefits, pay, and job assignments. During the interview process, employers are also not allowed to ask you questions about your medical history or health, whether you’ve filed workers’ comp claims, or whether you have disabilities. They can, however, ask questions about whether you are able to perform job responsibilities with reasonable accommodation. 

    While this protection creates an ideal scenario, discirimination can be difficult to prove in many cases. In the event you feel as though you’re being discriminated against, you need to file a claim with the EEOC within 180 days of said event taking place. Read more on how to file a complaint. 

    When is the best time to disclose a disability while job hunting?

    When it comes to disclosing your disability to a prospective employer, there’s no such thing as the perfect time. Some people have found being up front about it from the get-go has worked well, while others say early disclosure isn’t the best move for everyone. 

    When it boils down to it, timing your disclosure is up to you. Generally speaking, if you’re going to disclose your disability, you’ll have three options:

    Before the interview – this could be ideal for candidates who have visible disabilities so the interview can focus entirely on qualifications and experience During the interview – mentioning your disability during an interview can demonstrate your confidence to prospective employers and reassure them that your condition does not impact your performance and ability to meet the responsibilities of the roleAfter the interview – if you’ve got a job offer and haven’t disclosed your disability, now could be the best time, particularly if you’ll need accommodations

    Keep in mind that, while the ADA prevents employers from asking questions about disabilities during the interview process, they are allowed to ask after they’ve extended a job offer — as long as they ask the same questions to other candidates offered similar positions. If you decide to disclose information about a disability after an offer, know the employer cannot revoke it unless you cannot perform the primary job tasks or present a risk to yourself or others.

    Before you decide your strategy, spend some time researching the company to determine whether they have any public stance on hiring individuals with disabilities. In the age of diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, many organizations are proactively searching for underrepresented individuals and putting effort and resources forward to foster a sense of belonging for all. In this light, revealing your disability could result in floodgates of support opening up. Not to mention, being your true, authentic self will really allow you to thrive in the workplace.

    If you’re still feeling unsure, we highly recommend clicking into the pages linked in this piece, as they go into extensive detail about various scenarios and may provide more specific information for your condition.

    Tips for discussing a disability during the job interview

    Catarina Rivera, disabled public speaker, offers guidance based on her experience with Usher syndrome. 

    Do not leave employers wondering whether you can perform the role. Explain to them how you will perform the tasks and functions essential to the position. Be confident and share your adaptations. This showcases your strengths and highlights exactly what you will bring to the table. 

    It is important, though, to avoid over explaining your diagnosis or disability. For example, if you have Usher syndrome. Instead of going into detail about what it is, you could say, “I wear hearing aids and have a limited field of vision due to a vision disability.” Don’t feel pressure to overshare or provide more information than necessary. You can keep it simple.  

    You have the right to request accommodations without stating your disability. For instance, as a person who is hard of hearing, you might say, “I benefit from closed captions. Can you please provide them during this virtual interview?” You can ask for what you need without elaborating or specifically having to say why. If the employer is truly inclusive, they will put in the effort. 

    If you’re feeling down on your luck, remember that you are not alone. There are numerous organizations that support people with disabilities in seeking meaningful work. Check out the resources below as you look for additional support and information.

    Diversability, an organization promoting disability pride

    Diversability is an award-winning ecosystem of over 70K (across all digital platforms) on a mission to elevate disability pride through disability community, visibility, and engaged allyship. Diversability works to break the cycle of social isolation and exclusion for disabled people, improving their overall wellbeing. Through the connections within the community and the work of the organization, Diversability aims to achieve representation and economic self-sufficiency for disabled people.

    Hired works with Diversability to provide community members a resource to find employment within the tech and sales space. This partnership aligns in the vision to create a world where all hiring is equitable, efficient, and transparent. Diversability encourages people with and without disabilities to check out their resources and community to connect with others, find support, or become an ally.

    Hired also partners with Diversability to educate the working world on disability representation and support in the workplace. If you’re an employer looking to make sure your organization creates a safe and accessible workplace for disabled employees, check out this article from Diversability: “Top 10 Disability Workplace Accommodations: How Does Your Company Measure Up?”

    Other resources for disclosing a disability during a job search

    Here’s to landing your dream job however you ultimately decide to navigate the process. Don’t forget to check out other listings on the Hired blog to assist with getting your job ready.

    Hired is the most efficient way to find a tech or a sales role you love today. With unbiased insights, DEI tools, skill assessments, and dedicated Candidate Experience Managers, Hired works with over 10,000 companies around the world to connect thousands of active and qualified candidates to employ their full potential. After registering, platform job seekers match with top employers thanks to better data, preference curation, and compensation transparency. Backed by The Adecco Group, Hired is rated by G2 as a leader in Recruiting Automation, Job Search Sites, and Diversity Recruiting. 

    Catarina Rivera, MSEd, MPH, CPACC, a disabled public speaker, DEI consultant, and content creator contributed to this article. More

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    8 Ways to Hire Faster & Build a Better Employer Brand

    What You’ll Learn

    How to fill positions more efficiently through tools, templates, and moreThe partnership making hires an average of 11 days fasterThe strategy that took an offer acceptance rate from 60% to 88%

    About this eBook, 8 Ways to Hire Faster & Build a Better Employer Brand

    In a panel discussion led by Hired CTO Dave Walters, talent leaders from Gem, Tanium, NBCUniversal, and One Medical shared their thoughts on trends and best practices for optimizing the candidate experience.

    They reviewed how to improve the hiring process by strengthening the experience and by extension, the employer brand. Now, we are covering eight of their strategies to consistently help their teams fill tech and sales jobs efficiently. Use them to take action with your recruiting goals! More

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    Interviewing After a Layoff? How to Be Confident & Become a Top Candidate

    The third article in our series to help jobseekers bounce back better than ever…

    Once you’ve absorbed the news of a layoff, organized your financials, and taken the next steps to kick off your job search, you’re ready. It’s time to begin interviewing after your layoff. Employed but concerned about the stability of your role or company? Use this article series to get organized and feel more prepared for changes.

    Win at Interviewing after a Layoff

    Securing interviews starts with job applications. Prioritize your job applications at a high volume, but what’s the best way to end with success? According to Pathrise Growth Marketing Associate Alex Macpherson and Career Strategist Mentor Ash Ayvar, it’s best to diversify your application sources by using multiple job boards and sending personalized cold emails to recruiters.

    Cold Email Tips and Tricks for Communicating with Hiring Teams from Pathrise

    Before you start sending out cold emails, there are a few things you need to know:

    Make sure to submit your application alongside or before you send a cold email.Focus your cold emailing efforts toward roles you feel passionate about and companies you would be excited to join. Narrow your focus to organizations with less than 500 people. This increases the likelihood someone will read and take action on your message.Stick to the weekends or early in the week when sending cold emails – if you send them on a Thursday or Friday, they’re less likely to be read. If you must, use ‘schedule send’ features, like in Gmail.It’s ok to send your cold email to multiple people within an organization, but keep the number of contacts to three or four at max. Choose contacts from different teams and divisions, too, or else you risk your email coming off as spammy. Don’t CC – send a separate email to each contact, even if your copy is the same.

    Pro Tip:

    These emails don’t have to be totally “cold.” Follow the guidance in Chapter 2 of this series, to grow your network through social media and informational interviews. That work may pay off in some “warm” leads on jobs or referrals. Proactive actions like this often reveal roles that haven’t been posted yet. In fact, this work cuts down on the outreach talent acquisition and sourcers need to do – you’re helping them!

    It’s worth noting, for technologists and sales or customer experience professionals who join the Hired platform, this type of outreach becomes unnecessary. Hired turns the job search dynamic upside down and once your profile is complete, we promote you to matching employers and roles. Employers search for you, requesting interviews with compensation information upfront. You decide which interviews you wish to accept – you can even pause your profile if you get too many interview requests at once. See how Hired works here.

    When Interviewing After a Layoff, Be Authentic and Upfront

    Many candidates suffer some anxiety and nervousness about discussing their layoffs in subsequent interviews. Fortunately, you really don’t need to worry so much about it. Be upfront and authentic in how you talk about the situation. Keep your answers focused – there’s no need to go into lots of information about the layoff and waste valuable interview time. 

    Do acknowledge the layoff and explain it with relevant context. It may be helpful to give specific details. For example, is there a factual number or percentage of how many employees on your team or overall were laid off? Weave it in. Doing so helps your interviewer better understand your situation and illustrates you were one of many. 

    Was the reduction in force (RIF) part of a merger or acquisition? If the employer is a publicly-traded company, they may have disclosed multiple reasons in shareholder communications or in published articles you could reference. Layoffs happen for a variety of causes and the point is not to dwell on it, especially when such workforce decisions are beyond your control. 

    In general, employers know layoffs are painful to talk about and will respect the information you choose to provide. Find a positive from the experience and lean into it. It might be how proud you were of your team while there, because XYZ. Or, how the time off allowed you to pursue a certification you didn’t have time for before. Maybe the change inspired you to do something you wouldn’t have done otherwise, like train for a marathon or pivot careers. Perhaps it allowed you time to spend with loved ones when they needed you. 

    Pro Tip:

    As part of your pre-interview research, study any “core values” or mission statements the company has. Do not parrot these, but think about how your experiences, while working and while laid off, align with these ideals and echo them in your answers. 

    For example, JPMorgan Chase & Co., says on their site, “In a fast-moving and increasingly complex global economy, our success depends on how faithfully we adhere to our core principles: delivering exceptional client service; acting with integrity and responsibility; and supporting the growth of our employees.” 

    When discussing your career or time during a layoff, could you share examples where you: 

    delivered exceptional service, or went above and beyond expectations? acted with integrity and responsibility, or did the right thing, even when it may have been difficult? supported the growth of employees, or facilitated the development of others, as a volunteer, a coach, or a parent? 

    Related: How to Answer “Tell Me About Yourself” Interview Question for Tech Talent, Video Interviews 101: How to Impress in the Digital Age

    Highlight Your Growth During Employment Gaps

    Resume or employment gaps are another area of concern for job seekers following a layoff, no matter how much time has passed. How will you explain that time? 

    Focus on how you’ve grown during this period and turn this gap into an asset. Highlight what you’ve done to enhance your skills instead of allowing them to fade during this period.

    Tell your interviewer about the things you’ve done to improve your skills and build new ones during the layoff period. Whether you took an online course or worked a temporary contract job, it shows you have been proactive. Maybe you volunteered your skills to a local nonprofit. 

    Employers know layoffs put individuals in less-than-ideal circumstances, so they appreciate an interviewee who has demonstrated commitment to professional growth and development in spite of them. 

    Related: Flip the Script: How to Handle an Employment Gap on Your Resume

    Spotlight Your Past Performance & Growth

    Share the value you’ve provided through your work, even on your last team. When you offer achievements and results, this information becomes more impactful to your candidacy than your layoff. Detail the metrics of your work and share highlights of your past projects establishing you as a valuable asset to your team or organization.

    Keep Your Head Up – You Can Do This

    The layoff period is often a humbling time for many. During these days, weeks, or months, you’ve likely done your fair share of reflection on your experience and your career. Share insights about what you learned during this period while highlighting your resilience and unwavering confidence. 

    No matter what you’ve been through during your layoff, it’s crucial to remain optimistic about the interview process. No matter what role you are interviewing for, character matters. Your positivity in spite of an unfortunate situation reflects best on your character. Resist any urges to speak bitterly about your past employers and focus on the new opportunities ahead of you.

    Interviewing After a Layoff is for You, Too

    Post-layoff job seeking can be tricky. While you want to secure a new job as soon as possible, don’t rush yourself too much. Balance this time between searching for new roles and making sure the urge to get hired right away doesn’t lead you to compromise your career goals.

    The interview can teach you a lot about your potential new work environment so you can decide if it’s the right fit – both culture-wise and in terms of job security. Here are some example questions to help you elicit this information when interviewing after a layoff:

    Why are you proud to work here?Do you feel supported in your career growth and professional development by this organization? How does the organization make you feel that way?What’s the process like for providing feedback to a team member?Is collaboration encouraged here? If so, how?Tell me about a time when you saw the company’s main values in action.Has this company ever gone through layoffs in the past? If so, how were they handled?Can you tell me about the company’s financial situation? Is it profitable? Are future investments secured? The company’s solvency is a legitimate question, especially if you’ve experienced layoffs due to cost-cutting measures. Be respectful, and read the room, but don’t feel like you can’t politely inquire at all. Also, do your homework. Don’t ask questions with answers available to you via Google. 

    Related: Ace Your Interview & Get Your Questions Answered

    Cheers to Your New Role!

    The discomfort of interviewing after a layoff doesn’t have to derail your future job search. Take the time to process the situation and decide what you want moving forward. Set yourself up for success during your job search by honing your network beforehand. When it’s time for interviews, be confident and highlight the positives you’ve achieved over this time.

    Related: Chapter 1: Part of a Layoff? Steps Jobseekers in Tech & Sales Need to Take First

    Chapter 2: Laid Off? Next Steps to Find Your Dream Job in Tech or Sales More

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    Laid Off? Next Steps to Find Your Dream Job in Tech or Sales

    The second article in our series to help jobseekers bounce back from a layoff better than ever…

    If you’ve ever been laid off, you know it’s a mixed bag of emotions. Refer to Chapter 1 in our series for the first steps to take once you’ve heard the news. After you’ve had a chance to catch your breath, think about how you’re going to use your time. While many throw themselves into an all-consuming job search after being laid off, it may not be the best strategy for you. To avoid added stress, divide your time between jobseeking, upskilling, and self-care. Consider spending time volunteering to benefit your mental health, keep your skills fresh, and expand your network.

    Once it’s time to start the job search – use these 9 steps to find the roles you want and make the most out of your mission.

    Laid Off Next Steps #1 – Tap into your Network

    Start your job search with the familiar – your existing network. In fact, your network is one of the best sources you have for job offers and hires. Do you know how powerful referrals are in helping you get hired? Referrals are 4X more likely to be hired, so lean into your network for them.

    It’s not always what you know but who you know that may help you land the job, or at least get your foot in the door. While this doesn’t replace having the right skills and qualifications for the role, leveraging who you know including acquaintances and friends of friends can be your ticket to landing that first interview. People may offer warm introductions to recruiters or hiring managers and if you ask them about their company’s referral program, there is a good chance they can cash in on you landing the job. 

    Do your research on open roles and make it easy for people to connect with you online as well as offline. If you’re not particularly social, consider joining shared interest groups. Practice cold outreach on LinkedIn to get out of your comfort zone while you are job hunting. 

    Related: Check out this list of community and networking partners available to jobseekers on Hired!

    Pro Tip: Networking goes both ways

    It’s most effective when you network even when you’re not looking for a new role. Keep in touch with your network to avoid contacting someone only when you’re looking for help. Reshare their posts. Connect them with other professionals in your network you think would be helpful to them. Are they hiring for a role outside of your position or specialty? Refer a qualified candidate to them from your network. Help them too.

    Laid Off Next Steps #2 – Leverage Social Media

    Get involved on social media to make connections, gain industry insights from other professionals, and learn about new tools to aid in your job search success. 

    When it comes to ‘laid off next steps,’ VP of Community Outreach, Raleigh-Durham NC Chapter of Blacks in Technology LaShawnda Rodgers suggests, “#techtwitter is a great resource to help you grow your tech career if you leverage it the right way. I agree tapping into your network is a plus but asking the right questions during informational interviews is profound. When I mentor people who want to grow in tech, I advise them to ask other professionals about: 

    “a day in their life” at their companystrengths needed for someone to excel in the roleif the company has events open to the public so you can continue to meet new people.”

    Related: Learn more about Hired Partner Blacks in Technology.

    Laid Off Next Steps #3 – Set up Informational Interviews

    Informational interviews are a great way to network with people working in areas that interest you. This type of networking allows you to establish valuable connections with contacts who can help further your career and help you land your new role.

    Informational interviews are just that – informational. You’re interviewing them – this is not a job interview for you. Expect an opportunity to share a little about your background and what you’re looking for, but overall, use these conversations as opportunities to learn more about a specific company, a role/job title, someone’s career path, and/or what it’s like to work for a start-up versus a global company of tens of thousands. Review their LinkedIn profile. Prepare questions, but keep it conversational. 

    Informational interview framework

    These informational interviews shouldn’t be long – about 15 minutes is ideal. Follow this framework to help achieve the results you want and gain referrals.

    Take a minute or two to build rapport with your contact.Next, spend a few minutes on introductions and the topic of the interview. Ask them about themselves and allow them to give their elevator pitch. Acknowledge what they’ve said and then give your elevator pitch. Once the introductions are done, tell them what it is you want to discuss and why.Now spend some time listening to the advice they give about your topic. Take notes!Finally, ask for what you want. Give a summary of the information you were just given to show value and ask about the referral process.Wrap up the conversation. Later on, thank them for their time and insight with a well-crafted email that expresses your goal and the value you offer. Update your spreadsheet. It will be easier to keep track of your networking activities if you track who you’ve spoken with, how you know/found them, what was discussed, and the next steps or action items. Plus, if you’re required to submit job search activities for unemployment compensation, this documentation is really helpful. 

    Laid Off Next Steps #4 – Join Professional Communities

    Professional communities are a great place to build your network and meet the people who can help you land the perfect new job. Here are some suggestions to get you started:

    Laid Off Next Steps #5 – Volunteer: It Pays in a lot of Ways

    If you want to achieve more than just an expanded network, consider taking some time to volunteer. Volunteering is a great way to improve yourself all-around and can even help you continue to develop new contacts. Helping others positively benefits your mental health, so why not use your time to give back and help yourself in the process? 

    There are many non-profits that may be in need of your skills. Use these opportunities to continue honing those skills and making good use of them. Plus, volunteer work provides the opportunity to expand your network and bank skills and experience for your resume. Plus, when interviewers ask what you’ve been doing during your layoff, you have great responses ready to go. Here are some organizations for volunteering ideas.

    Laid Off Next Steps #6 – Check Out Educational Resources

    If you want to pivot into a different career path or are interested in obtaining new skills, educational resources are another great place to build your network. 

    President of the New England chapter of Blacks in Technology Rosemary Garabot says, “Look around your community for free or low-cost events like BSides. Sign up to pursue a new certification in a program with hands-on labs so you can build new skills.”

    Related: Hired Partners offer upskilling, certifications, and bootcamps.

    Laid Off Next Steps #7 – Prep for Technical Interviews

    Rodgers suggests, “For those pursuing technical roles, it’s important to prepare for technical interviews. Take some time to work on collaborative projects, showcase your work, and get beneficial feedback. GitHub is a great resource where you can virtually work on projects and collaborate with others.”

    Related: Hired Partners, such as Educative, Exponent, Pathrise, and Interview Kickstart, offer interview prep. SitePoint offers a library of resources to prep and upskill in various coding languages. In addition, developers on the Hired platform can earn badges for their profile using Hired Assessments. Demonstrating skills through earning badges increases the chances of interview requests and better offers.

    Laid Off Next Steps #8 – Refine Your Resume & Elevator Pitch

    Your networking conversations and interactions are invaluable for learning the markers of success in the roles you want. Now that you have this information from your network of insiders, use these elements to further refine your resume and elevator pitch to help you stand out in your search.

    Laid Off Next Steps #9 – Lock In Your References

    Once you start interviewing, references will be critical to the success of your job search. Take time now to lock in key references reinforcing your job performance and work ethic. A reference from your previous manager is also a great tool to ease any concerns about your layoff during the hiring process.

    Ask former colleagues to write testimonials about their experiences working with you. You’re not limited to former supervisors. Colleagues you worked with cross-functionally, peers, reports, even former customers and vendors may be willing to testify to positive experiences working with you.

    With LinkedIn’s recommendation feature, you can ask for a one while offering to write one for them. Positive testimonials about working with someone never hurt, even if your reference is totally content in their role. 

    Ready? It’s Time to Tackle Interviews

    Maximizing your network is a powerful tactic to help you not only learn more about different roles and discover open positions – it may also be the key to getting hired. Get ready to win your post-layoff interviews with Chapter 3: Interviewing After a Layoff.

    Ready to find your dream job in tech or sales? Turn the job search upside down when you complete a profile on Hired. Employers filter based on your skills and preferences to match with you, and request interviews with the compensation information upfront. 

    Sign up with Hired today or re-activate your profile if it’s been a while since you were looking.  More