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Interviewing & Job Hunting Questions

I realize that the job-applicant process has been automated by many, maybe most, construction employers of midsize and up. One of the things I'm not sure about is whether comments made by the original interviewers get passed on in the automated systems. That is, if you have a series of interviews at a construction employer, do subsequent interviewers get to see what the first interviewer said?

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Yes. At the dawn of the Applicant Tracking System industry a dozen years ago, there were only a few pioneering products such as Resumix, Restrac and SmartSearch. Today there are dizzying numbers of ATS products, and most are Web-based.

Much like the interviewers' handwritten evaluations that, in the old days, were placed in relative obscurity within steel filing cabinets, today's recruiters and screeners may enter comments in the notes section of ATS software and place them in cyberstorage, where many eyes involved in hiring decisions can see them. Information about your interview can spread because it's much easier to issue a password than to truck around physical paper folders.

With the spread of data transmission come words of caution to recruiters and construction employer interviewers about the notes option. The electronic notes can be considered legal documents if a construction employer is audited or sued for discrimination.

Some lawyers advise recruiters not to keep ATS notes, period. Others say the notes are OK, but they must be job-related and consistent, evaluating all comers equally. Wary interviewers don't allow notes to become subjective - bad attitude, didn't like, poor appearance, stutter, slow to respond and so forth.

An alternative view about notes is held by some executives, who insist that legal personal information may be relevant to making a deal. This viewpoint argues that lawyers are overcautious, that recruiting is overly sanitized and that the impersonal approach treats individuals as automatons.

The bottom line for the job seeker is that you can't do anything to impact ATS note-taking other than to make a good impression on your first screener, whose passed-on opinions may color the way you are perceived by additional interviewers.

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