When conducting a job search, you want the process to go as smoothly as possible. To put your best foot forward, consider the following advice from the perspective of hiring managers. These tips can help you make a positive impression and ultimately land the job.
If you’re not searching for a job currently, this guidance also applies to business meetings; your professional contacts or colleagues wish you knew these tips, too!
Advice from Hiring Managers
- 1. Don’t arrive too early.
While you should never be late for an interview, being too early can be detrimental, too. Often, the hiring manager has something planned for that time, and your early arrival may cause distraction once they know you’re waiting for them. Arrive a little early (10 minutes is optimal), but if you’re very early, wait in the building lobby or get a coffee nearby.
- 2. Of course I Googled you!
Don’t think that a hiring manager hasn’t Googled you, reviewed your social media presence or asked people in their network about you before an interview. Google yourself regularly (results change), so you’re fully prepared with a response. Acting shocked about something a hiring manager easily found online won’t help your candidacy. Also, delete any social media posts that are questionable or inappropriate, as they can automatically take you out of running for a job.
- 3. Not knowing what’s on your resume or LinkedIn profile is ridiculous.
Hiring managers express frustration when they ask about something on your resume or LinkedIn profile, and you have no idea as to what they are talking about. That’s a good way to score negative points quickly! Everything is fair game for discussion, so know what you wrote about and prepare to speak intelligently about it.
- 4. Lack of enthusiasm won’t get you hired.
If you answer questions well, but appear stiff or unenthusiastic about the role, you may take yourself out of the running. Managers want to hire someone who is genuinely interested and excited about the opportunity and company. At the end of the day, hiring managers may extend an offer to someone who’s less qualified, but more enthusiastic to be part of the team, rather than to someone else who’s more qualified, but less eager.
- 5. Your cell phone isn’t more important than me.
Unless you have an emergency (and inform the hiring manager in advance), silence and put away your phone. Keeping it out during an interview implies that there’s something more important than your being there. It’s also disrespectful and rude. Those glances at the phone that you think are subtle – aren’t. If a text message or Facebook post outweighs giving the hiring manager your full attention, you’re sending a signal that the job opportunity isn’t a priority for you.
- 6. Research is more important than you think.
If you don’t do some good digging on the company beforehand, you’ll show lack of preparedness and interest, which may lead a hiring manager to doubt your reliability on the job. You can only fake being a well-informed candidate for so long. They can tell when you don’t have a solid understanding of what the company does, what products/services it provides and who its customers and competitors are.
Prepare yourself for a thoughtful discussion. For example, familiarize yourself with a pending acquisition that will affect your area of business, their missed earnings this quarter or a recent announcement about entrance into a new market.
- 7. I don’t want you to fail.
Hiring managers want to fill the role as much, and as quickly, as you want to land it. They want you to do well in the interview because, ideally, they want to hire you and have you begin work soon. However, this doesn’t mean they still won’t ask tough questions and delve into your experience to be sure you’re the right hire. They’re not out to get you and trip you up. When hiring managers ask you challenging questions, it’s because they’re relevant to the job in some way or the company has several candidates in the running and wants one to shine so that it leads to a job offer.
- 8. Filling this position isn’t my only job.
Getting hired for the job for which you’re interviewing is your top priority, but it isn’t necessarily the hiring manager’s. They have a lot on their plate and filling the role to which you’ve applied is just one of many responsibilities. If the hiring manager is the department head or a corporate executive, take into consideration all they need to do on top of hiring you.
- 9. Timing for a hiring decision can change.
The timing for filling a position may shift. Even though the hiring manager may have told you that they hoped to make a decision by a specific timeframe, things can happen that can cause other priorities to come first. For example, a large-scale project, technology implementation or landing a major new client can affect when next steps, or an offer, are forthcoming.
- 10. Don’t call me, I’ll call you.
If you email and call frequently, hiring managers may distance themselves from communicating with you. Or they may pass your anxious check-ins on to an associate, who may not have the answers you’re looking for. Be patient. There’s usually a reason why a hiring manager hasn’t contacted you yet. Rarely will your fourth email prompt a sudden response.
Think strategically about how to make positive impressions on hiring managers during the job search process and on professional contacts during meetings. Put yourself in their shoes and consider how they’ll perceive your actions and attitude. This insight can make the difference in your landing your next role or business opportunity.