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Before her phone rang on the day of the scheduled interview, Nashville recruiter Karen Scott thought she’d found a good candidate for a job opening at a commercial real estate firm in town.

“But when I picked up the phone,” explains Karen, who heads up Refined Recruiting, “my client (the commercial real estate firm) said, ‘You need to cancel the interview.’”

The reason? The client, who had done some preliminary background checking on their potential hire, didn’t like a tweet on the candidate’s Twitter feed.

Job hunting? Make sure our online presence is a positive reflection of you! Image: iStock

“The first thing hiring managers do these days when they want to see the real somebody, instead of just a professional profile on LinkedIn, is they go to Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram,” Karen says.

As a result, she tells job seekers to clean up social media accounts first, before they polish their resumes. But that’s not the only piece of sage advice Karen dispenses to candidates. In her 20+ years as a recruiter, she’s also garnered several interview tips that anyone on the hunt for a position will want to take to heart.

“We have 300 people a week moving to Nashville, and the job market is hot right now,” Karen says. “Hiring managers have gotten a lot more picky because they can, so it’s really important that candidates present themselves well.”

“The first thing hiring managers do these days when they want to see the real somebody, instead of just a professional profile on LinkedIn, is they go to Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram.” — Karen Scott, Refined Recruiting

First, she says, just as companies research candidates, candidates should research companies. Job seekers should spend time on the potential employer’s website and pay special attention to news releases and other recent updates. When it’s time to get dressed, candidates should don conservative attire. Karen recommends suits for men and a skirt or pantsuit for women, and she says men should be freshly shaven, and women should pull long hair up or back so it’s away from the face. She also stresses the importance of arriving five minutes (not 15 minutes!) early.

“Being early is not appreciated, and being late is unacceptable,” Karen says.

After greeting the interviewer with a smile and a firm, short handshake, a candidate should wait for the interviewer to tell her where to sit. Then, Karen says, let the interviewer begin the conversation. She warns that when it comes to interviews, less is more, so candidates should answer all questions adequately and precisely but should not offer extra information.

“You can really blow it by talking too much,” she says. “People can talk themselves right out of a job.”

If the interviewer asks for questions, which is common practice, candidates can ask very pointed questions that are relevant to the position.

“If you feel the interview went well, ask the interviewer how he or she feels your experience would fit the need of the position they are looking to fill,” Karen says. “If this information seems positive, ask when you could expect to hear from them and what the next step would be.”

When the meeting is closing, thank the interviewer for his or her time, and do not linger. Finally, that very day, write every interviewer a handwritten thank you note.

“Be sure to mention some of the interview points and how you feel that your background is a good fit,” she adds.

“Being early is not appreciated, and being late is unacceptable.” — Karen Scott, Refined Recruiting

But in the end, if a candidate nails the interview and ultimately gets a job offer, it’s usually, Karen says, because the prospective employee and employer feel they’ve found a good “culture match.”

“A lot of people may have the skills, and everybody has an MBA and maybe a background in the industry, but the company wants someone who can fit in, too,” Karen says, and she has the experience to back it up.

The mission of Refined Recruiting is to “refine” or streamline the candidate search for its clients. Though Karen initially finds qualified candidates for her clients through networking, LinkedIn and job boards like CareerBuilder or The Ladders, she then works hard to determine if candidates fit the bill in terms of culture. She prides herself on getting to know her clients and understanding what type of person each client wants.

“I’m not one of these recruiters who sends 10 resumes and hopes that a client will pick one or two of them,” she says. “When I send a resume, I send it because I’m sure the client will want to see that person, and nine times out of 10, they’ll hire that person.”

In fact, before she presents a candidate to a client, she, too, makes a point now to comb through social media sites for information that might ruin a candidate’s job chances. So, job seekers — brush up on those interview skills, but don’t forget to tend to those social media accounts as well. Better yet, don’t post anything you wouldn’t want a prospective employer to see!

If you’d like to learn more about Refined Recruiting or schedule an appointment with owner Karen Scott, visit

This article is sponsored by Refined Recruiting.

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