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10 Steps to Help Recent College Graduates with Interviews

Picture this scenario: Your young graduate sends out her resume to several potential employers hoping for a great job to open up. Lo and behold, three job offers end up coming her way. But which should she choose?

Such a decision seems more stressful than it was in past generations.

More and more young professionals (or students) feel ill-equipped to handle turning a job down. Candidates hate to negotiate or say “no” to an employer. They’re inexperienced and don’t know what’s appropriate.

So…young people just may ghost that employer.

Why Ghosting Can Hurt Them

“More job seekers are juggling multiple offers at once, creating sticky situations for all involved. How well candidates manage them can shape their long-term career satisfaction, and their professional reputations,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

“More than one in four workers say they’ve backed out after accepting a new job, according to a recent survey of 2,800 employees by the staffing firm Robert Half. While job seekers of all ages might ghost or back out on employers, it’s most common among those with two to six years’ experience,” says Paul McDonald, a senior executive director at the executive search firm, Birmingham Group, in Berkley, Michigan.

Just like teens may “ghost” their girlfriend or boyfriend because they don’t know how to break up with them, too many reach employment age and still don’t know how to have a difficult conversation, with candor and transparency. I spoke to an employer in my hometown who said he offered a job to a recent college graduate. The young man said thank you, but then asked if his friends could come and work with him as well. My employer friend was surprised and said he didn’t have an opening for a “group,” just for an individual.  The candidate said he understood and replied that he would take the job. He ended up coming to work for a week, but then, disappeared. The young man never gave a notice; he just “ghosted” his new employer. It must have felt easier than having to acknowledge he didn’t like the realities of the job.

But this can come back to haunt that young job seeker.

In this day and age, word gets around quickly, both about jobs and job candidates, among employers and recruiters. Being unwilling to let someone down can have negative implications just like saying “yes” and then changing one’s mind. Soon, a young candidate gets a reputation for being uncommitted, or unsocial or of being narcissistic or a poor teammate. Jilted employers can take this personally (just like job candidates) and advance that poor reputation of the job seeker. It may even be hard the next time he interviews.

Five Steps to Take in a Job Interview

If you’re a job seeker, follow these steps through the interview process:

  1. Clearly communicate what you’re looking for in a new job.
  2. Be transparent if you’re looking at more than one job offer.
  3. Inquire about the time line for which the employer wants a decision.
  4. Weigh out all the details of each job offer and compensation.
  5. Always express appreciation and gratitude to each potential employer for the opportunity to interview and be considered.

Five Steps to Avoid in a Job Interview

As you seek the right next job, work to prevent these pitfalls with interviewers:

  1. Don’t evade honest and hard conversations about compensation.
  2. Don’t communicate important decisions via text message or email.
  3. Don’t base your decision solely on salary; include your long-term plans.
  4. Don’t react to a job offer by announcing you have a competing one.
  5. Don’t delay in communicating or responding; even if you need more time, communicate immediately what you need so they’re not in the dark.

Our current Office Manager and my executive assistant is a vivid example of how to interview well. We hired Lyndsay last year and she walked through each of these steps very well—with humility and transparency.

She was honest about why she was leaving her previous position; what attracted her to our organization, Growing Leaders; and had several questions for all who interviewed her, after we asked our questions. She was personal yet professional. When we made the offer, she thanked us, then asked if she could take a day to think it over. When she replied, she asked some candid questions about our reasoning for the compensation package and what her possible opportunities for growth were on our team in the future. After the conversation, she gratefully said yes and has been a stellar example of a good team member and leader ever since.

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10 Steps to Help Recent College Graduates with Interviews