It might not be what you think
When in an interview with a hiring manager, the stakes are high; after all, this person could be your next boss.
So, what’s important to them specifically?
We asked hiring managers what they look for when interviewing candidates. Here are a few things that stood out.
Time is Precious
First, let’s get a glimpse into a Hiring Manager’s World. While their primary responsibility is to fill the open position with the most qualified candidate, hiring managers often juggle competing priorities and deal with tight time constraints. Adjusting already hectic schedules to accommodate interviews is a common occurrence.
The average interviewer spends less than 5 minutes reviewing resumes before the interview. One hiring manager mentioned, “Most interviews are squeezed into the day. I don’t have time to look at all the details or compare this program to that program.” A good reason to be specific and concise with your resume.
I only care if they show they are serious
Competency & Resolve
One recurring theme from hiring managers is a focus on understanding and mindset:
- Do you understand the role and requirements of the position?
- Can you express how your skills and experience align with the role?
- What have you done to improve your skills and build knowledge of the role?
One manager mentioned they are not as concerned with a particular educational program, or how much it costs, “I only care if they show they are serious about the role, about the profession. That they took the trouble to participate (in a program) tells me this person is a serious candidate.”
How they react to mistakes, theirs and others
Curiosity & Compatibility
Open-mindedness and collaboration are traits highly valued by hiring managers:
- How willing are you to take on challenges?
- How adaptable are you to new ideas and perspectives?
Mentioned often was the importance of learning from failure – how candidates react to mistakes, theirs and others – as was how they approach problem-solving scenarios. You may be asked to walk through how you might approach a challenging situation.
Conducting interviews is not an everyday occurrence for most people. Many times, especially with a group, the interviewers are not well informed, rushed, and frankly don’t have much experience with the hiring process. “This is not something they do every day,” said one hiring manager.
This is your time to shine, so take advantage. Be respectful yet confident, showcasing your competence, resolve, curiosity, and compatibility, and you should stand out from other candidates – before the interviewers think about what they are having for lunch.
Hiring managers operate in a world of competing priorities and time constraints. By aligning with their priorities and showcasing your unique strengths, you’ll stand out as the candidate they’ve been searching for.
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