What Hiring Managers Really Want to Know

Interviews can be stressful. You have such a short window of time to make the case for why you are the best possible hire and fit for this company. First impressions are always important, but in a hiring scenario, they’re even more so because, often, there will be no second chance.

That’s why the recruitment experts at Apex Staffing pulled together this short checklist of what hiring managers are really looking for during the interview process. Because no matter what the job is, they are all essentially looking for the same three things:

1. Are You Capable?

An interview is a chance to showcase what you’re good at. Your talents, your work history, your career objectives – they should all be front and center in your conversations with the hiring manager. Personal chit-chat is fine at the beginning of the interview but keep your answers brief and to the point. Now is not the time to share your whole life story. The interviewer needs to know that you are capable of performing the job you’re applying for.

To demonstrate that you are capable, you need to show the hiring manager that you are knowledgeable, confident and that you have ample relevant experience. Job experience in the field is certainly helpful here, but it’s not 100% necessary. Even if this is a new career path, you can study the position’s responsibilities and daily activities and relate them to your current skills.

For instance, you may not have experience with their current graphic design system, but the principles of design remain the same no matter what tools you’re using. Emphasize your design skills and adaptability.

If the dreaded, overly broad “Tell me about yourself,” pops up, don’t panic! This is actually the perfect time to showcase your skills and relevant talents. Talk about the skills and experiences you can bring to the job and apply them to real-world examples of what you would be accomplishing at this new company.  For example:

“I’ve been in medical administration for twelve years and I think the organization and communication skills I’ve picked up along the way would serve me very well in a customer-facing role.”

While job experience is important, what interviewers are really looking for is an indication of how you’ll perform in the future. So make sure you explicitly tie all of your stories and answers to how well you’d do in the position for which you’re interviewing.

2. Are You Interested?

This is often overlooked by job candidates because they assume that applying for the job and interviewing is a pretty good indication of their interest. But especially in a competitive job market, what stands out to hiring managers is passion. They want to see that you are interested and invested in the company and the subject area. Make it clear that you are a fan of the company and its mission, and that you would love to accept the job if it is offered.

There are so many ways to show that you are interested in the position. Firstly, show that you’re prepared. Research the company before your interview and ask very specific questions about the role to show that you’ve pictured working there. Read up on the organization’s goals and mission and relate your own experience and talents to them. Explain what you could contribute, both to the team and the company at large.

The enthusiasm in your voice and facial expressions can also impact your evaluation. Make sure that you are making eye contact, asking questions, leaning forward, and smiling – all of which indicate interest and excitement. You don’t have to push it past your comfort zone – people can generally feel when you’re not being genuine – but do make an effort to be open and friendly. And if you have a naturally monotone voice or have difficulty expressing your emotions, make sure you say something like, “I am very excited about this opportunity to work for a company I’m passionate about. I would love to talk to you again.”

3. Do You Fit?

After learning that you are capable and willing, the next thing a hiring manager wants to know is, will you fit in with the company culture? Do you compliment the team’s values and work style? Do you believe in the company’s mission and vision? When all else is equal among candidates, “fit” is often the deciding factor in whether or not you’re hired.

There are some things you can’t control about how people respond to your personality. But you can prepare ahead of time and prove that you’d be an asset to the team if you’re hired. “Fit” doesn’t mean you have to be an exact replica of everyone that works there. Instead, it’s more about how your ideas, perspectives, and abilities add to the team. So make sure you come across as comfortable voicing your ideas, confident, and invested in teamwork and you should be fine.

Sometimes the chemistry just isn’t there, but being authentic, prepared, and putting your best foot forward increases your chances of getting any job.

Looking For a New Job?

Apex Staffing can help! We are always recruiting new candidates to match with the job opportunities our clients send us. They hire us to find and screen candidates so they only get the best matches for their company. We coach you through the resume and interview process step-by-step to give you the best possible chance of finding a job that you love. Contact us or send in your resume and we’ll reach out as soon as possible!