Why Do Employers Ask This?
Employers may face challenges when evaluating candidates strictly on work history. In many cases, multiple candidates often share similar work experience, which makes choosing one person over another difficult. To better differentiate candidates, hiring managers may inquire about participation in certain organizations or groups. Some jobs may even require enrollment in trade groups in order to earn employment.
How To Answer the Question
Group affiliation makes candidates favorable for employment depending entirely on the desired industry or specific job title. For example, being part of the Consumer Bankers Association may greatly benefit anyone interviewing for a banking job. Candidates typically do not need to mention all groups associated with and should only highlight relevant trade groups or organizations participated in. Additionally, candidates want to talk about the most recent groups participated in, as current or recent enrollment looks the best to employers.
Understand What the Employer Can Legally Ask
Applicants should note the difference between trade groups and organizations and social organizations and clubs. Employers can legally ask about involvement in trade groups but may not inquire about participation in social organizations or clubs. In most cases, participation in social groups and clubs rarely benefits job seekers, so candidates generally want to avoid the topics. Applicants may decline from answering the question and should refrain from volunteering information concerning social clubs altogether if irrelevant or overly personal.
Candidates may feel compelled to exaggerate involvement or fabricate participation in groups to improve hiring chances. As always when interviewing, candidates should avoid providing false information. Employers may ask further questions about group involvement, which may expose falsehoods. If lacking hands-on experience in groups, applicants may talk about regularly reading or subscribing to relevant trade publications or newsletters.