Insider Secrets: 4 Things Hiring Managers Want

Have you ever been to an interview and left not really knowing how it went?  Sure you have.  We all have.  It is not uncommon to leave an interview, and think “what the heck just happened?”

It can be difficult trying to figure out what is going on inside the head of the hiring manager.  Even if you get a good vibe from an interview, you can still leave with a degree of uncertainty.

We will discuss what hiring managers are looking for to help you feel more confident as you work on your next job search.  This way you will know that you are putting your best foot forward in your resumes and interviews.

What hiring managers want

Understanding what is going on in the hiring manager’s head is critical to your ability to get the jobs you want

What hiring managers are looking for
Having been both a job candidate and a hiring manager, I can tell you that there is a confidence that goes with knowing what the person on the other end is looking for.
Hiring managers are people just like you
Whether you submit your resume online or hand it to someone, there is an actual person who is going to review it.  Someone (the hiring manager) is going to decide if the person represented by your resume is a good fit for the team and will be able to do the job.
Simply put, the hiring manager is looking for someone that will make them look good, and he (or she) will want to feel like they made the right decision.
To help you frame what is going through a hiring manager’s head when they are making decisions on who gets the job, here are four basic things that hiring managers want.
1.  Approval of their boss.  In many cases, the hiring manager for a position will also be direct manager for the position.  This means a hiring manager you interview with will typically be your boss when you get the job.  Don’t forget that the chain continues, and your potential new boss reports to someone else and wants to look good to that person.
No one wants to be told they did a bad job or made a poor decision.  Especially not by their boss.  Oftentimes, hiring managers are thinking about whether or not the boss will approve of their hiring decision and make decisions based on what will please their boss.

You want to convey that you are someone who will add to the team, get the job done well, and make your new boss look good to her boss.
2.  Trustworthy co-workers. Work is no fun and certainly not rewarding if you can’t trust the people you work with.  This is even more the case when you are responsible for those people because they report to you.  It is important to hiring managers to trust you not just as a seemingly honest person but also be able to feel confident that you will be able to do the job. 
The decision to bring on someone new to a job is important.  Hiring managers want to know that the person they are bringing on is trustworthy.  If not, I can tell you that it is absolute mess trying to clean up.  This is why it is critical to showcase yourself as a person of your word who is capable of getting the job done.
3.  Desire to avoid extra work.  No one likes to do more work than is necessary.  When you are in a situation where you feel like extra work has been dumped on you, the last thing you want to do is give yourself additional work.  This line of thinking is in a hiring manager’s head for every job she hires for.
Let’s frame it this way, most likely a job is available because quit/left (for whatever reason) or the job was created because of a need for more people to get all of the work done.  Either way, the hiring manager typically has extra work on her plate. 
Even the most capable, experienced perfect candidate is going to need training (aka work) to get up to speed and capable of doing the job.  This means that you to convey that you are someone who will be able to get to speed quickly and will need little supervision to do well.
4.  Good reputation.  We are all defined by the choices we make and the work we do.  For a hiring manager, the decisions he makes about who to hire have a lasting reminder.  Everyday he comes to work the person that was just hired is the reminder of either a good decision or a bad decision. His peers and boss(es) are reminded of that decision as well.
When applying for a job you want to make it clear that hiring you is a good decision that will make your potential boss look good and that you can be trusted to get the job done.

In our next lesson, we will discuss how you can better showcase yourself as an ideal candidate with the traits, skills, and talents to fulfill the needs of what is going on inside the hiring manager;s head.

Last updated : August 7 2014