hiring managerYou just got the call you’ve been waiting for.

A hiring manager is interested in interviewing you in the next few days. Considering today’s saturated job market, you’re probably beaming with excitement. And, like most job seekers, you’re probably also wondering what to do and say during the interview.

Wouldn’t it be helpful to know what hiring managers really think about the hiring process? I caught up with a few seasoned managers who shared these super helpful secrets:


1. We Know All About You Before You Walk Through the Door

In today’s social media-driven world, you shouldn’t be surprised that hiring managers admit to doing Internet searches on candidates before they meet them. In fact, some managers even solicit information about you from people in their network. This helps them become more familiar with who they’re considering hiring.

What this means for you

Be mindful of the online and offline trails you’re leaving, because they’re easy to find. If a manager searches your name and finds drunken party pictures from Cancun, they’re not going to hire you — no matter how qualified you are (unless you’re applying for a job to get drunk in Cancun). And if a manager gets negative feedback about you from someone in their network, they’ll think twice before they offer you the job.

What you can do about it

Google yourself and see what comes up. Then view your results through the eyes of a potential employer by asking, “Would I hire someone if I read/watched/viewed this about them?”

If your answer is no, work on deleting forum posts, articles, personal websites and/or videos that may be viewed as unfavorable or offensive to potential employers.


2. We Won’t Hire You If We Don’t Like Your Look

Thinking about wearing a mini-business skirt, a trendy plunging neckline or painting your nails green? Think again. These are just a few examples of what some hiring managers listed as interview wardrobe don’ts.

“We need to revisit the definition of ‘dress for success,’ because a lot of candidates get it wrong,” said one New York-based manager.

What this means for you

Your look could significantly reduce your chances of getting the job. When dressing for an interview, remember to follow the rules of your specific industry. For example, if you’re interviewing in a conservative industry like law or banking, a plunging neckline or miniskirt isn’t appropriate interview attire.

Want the managerial rule of thumb? When in doubt, err on the side of caution. (Yes, this means ditching the green nail polish, too.)

What you can do about it

Before you go on your next interview, do some research on your potential employer’s dress code. You can start by checking the company website, asking business associates in your LinkedIn network or asking current employees for tips. (For instance, “What is appropriate attire for an interview at your company?”)

Again, when in doubt, err on the conservative side.


3. We’re Tired of Hearing You’re a Perfectionist and a Team Player

You know all those interview answers you just memorized? Forget about them!

Why? Because hiring managers are sick of hearing the same ol’ generic answers to their questions. They understand that being interviewed isn’t the easiest thing to do. However, they discourage against prepping for interviews through memorization. After all, they don’t want to hire a robot. They want a real (albeit qualified) person who can hold a real conversation — flaws and all.

What this means for you

Hiring managers really want to get to know you. Granted, they don’t necessarily want to know you watch 9 hours of reality TV on Sundays. But they do want to know you have a unique, likeable personality behind that dry-cleaned suit and close-to-perfect resume.

What you can do about it

During your next interview, try to relax and be yourself. I know this is very difficult to do when your dream job’s at stake, but a good place to start is to ditch those interview answers you memorized and attempt to respond to the interviewer’s questions in your own words.

Instead of saying “I’m a perfectionist,” for example, tell them about a time when you used your unique skills to perfect a difficult paper, project or proposal. This will certainly help you stand out in a crowded sea of sameness.


4. We Don’t Always Hire the Most Qualified Candidate

In an ideal world, the most qualified candidates would automatically win hiring managers over. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes the most qualified candidates aren’t what managers are looking for.

For instance, someone may have the perfect resume, great credentials, a wealth of experience and all the right answers. Yet if they lack enthusiasm, respect or integrity, they may not get hired. As one hiring manager shared, “If someone lacks the necessary experience, but shows great enthusiasm for the job, I may consider hiring them over someone who’s more qualified.”

What this means for you

Don’t assume you’ll get hired simply because you meet all the posted job requirements. Hiring managers consider all factors when making a final decision.

What you can do about it

Identify your weak spots and work on improving them. For instance, if you have a killer resume, amazing experience and great credentials, but you tend to avoid eye contact during interviews, practice making eye contact several days before your next interview.

You can start by doing mock interviews with a career development professional or someone you trust. After they “interview” you, ask them to describe the way you come across, then work to get better. Do you slouch? Break eye contact? Ramble? Roll your eyes? Lack enthusiasm? The more you practice, the more prepared you’ll be during the actual interview.


5. We Really Want You to Like Us, Too

Hiring managers appreciate candidates who demonstrate why they love their company. No, I’m not talking about excessive cheesiness. I’m referring to genuinely demonstrating why you’d rather work for them than anyone else.

Hiring managers never want to feel like they’re just another company you sent your resume to. Instead, they want to see that you’re genuinely interested in contributing to the growth of the company. If they sense you’re just looking for a paycheck, you won’t get one. (Like this thought? Tweet it!)

What this means for you

During the interview process, hiring managers want to know you did your “homework.” In other words, they want to see that you took the initiative to research their company, understand its unique challenges and demonstrate how you can help them get better.

What you can do about it

At the risk of sounding painfully obvious, become very familiar with companies before you interview with them. And during your interview, use what you’ve learned to demonstrate why you want to work for a particular company and what you can do to make it better. Otherwise, you run the risk of looking like just another job seeker (and we certainly don’t want that!).

Hiring managers, what else do wish job seekers knew about the hiring process? Share your insider tips in the comments!

Image: Flickr