3 things hiring managers want to know about you
Here are some common situations you have likely experienced in your job hunting:
You sent out your resume to hundreds of companies or job sites, but no response at all
You felt terrible about your interview. You could not answer some difficult questions. And there was no connection between you and the hiring managers.
You felt great about your interview. You talked a lot, answered all questions well, and thought this position was created just for you. But a day passed, a week passed, two weeks passed, No News! Finally, you received a standard HR rejection letter like this: “Thank you for your interest. But we decide to proceed with other candidates whose skills and experience more closely match this role.”
What can you do to solve these common job-hunting challenges? Updating your resume, learning a new skill, or getting a certification?
Those help. But to achieve the best ROI (Return of Investment) of your career development, you need to first
Think like a hiring manager
After you understand what hiring managers want, you will have a much better chance to land your dream job!
But wait, you may ask: “How can I think like a hiring manager?”
I am new; I just started; I have never hired anyone. How do I know what a hiring manager wants?
OK, let us ask a different question.
Can you think like a buyer? For example, when you buy a car, what kind of things do you want to know?
You may have some hard requirements like the budget is under $20K, it is an SUV, the mileage is under 80K, etc.
If three cars meet your basic needs, you may ask: what is special for this car compared with the other two? New Tires, Larger Trunk, or Leather Seats?
Finally, a car dealer will invite you to do a test drive. Why? Because they want you to experience the future. How do you feel when driving this car? What can this car do for you, your family, your friends in the future?
A similar thought process happens to the hiring process.
3 things hiring managers want to know about you
#1. Are you job-ready?
Do you meet all the essential requirements for this job? For example, for a cybersecurity analyst position, do you have practical experience in Risk Assessment, Threat Assessment, or Vulnerability Assessment, etc.? Are you familiar with some standard security tools? Do you have some relevant security certifications?
There are things called “Must-have” and “Nice-to-have.” While a job posting may list ten requirements, hiring managers usually have 3-5 hard requirements in their minds to qualify the candidates.
#2. Are you special?
After the shortlist, there are ten candidates left. They all seem to be job-ready. Then what makes you unique? For example, you got a GPA of 3.9 in the university; you won a cybersecurity contest; you published a book, etc.
It does not mean you must have something big. Things like volunteering to some industry events, contributing to an open-source project, writing some blogs about a relevant topic, all demonstrate your uniqueness and strengths.
#3. Are you future-fit?
The first two questions are related to your past. This is the question about your future.
While your background and experience look amazing, the hiring managers want to ensure you fit the culture, the projects, and the teams. At the end of the day, you are hired to do the job in the future.
Of course, it could be ten things or thirty things hiring managers want to know about you. But the above are the three main categories.
You know what? We can even consolidate these three things into one: Are you the RIGHT ONE for this job?
“Think like a hiring manager” could answer many of your job hunting questions, for example:
Why no response to my resume?
Does your resume cover all the essential requirements for the specific job posting?
What should I put into my resume?
The things hiring managers are interested in knowing about you.
What is the best format for my resume?
The format helps hiring managers quickly find what they want to see.
How to make my resume more attractive?
Talk about you are job-ready, and you are special.
How to prepare for interview questions?
Give examples to demonstrate you are job-ready, and you are special.
How to engage with hiring managers during the interview?
Listen carefully to their needs, sell yourself for the future.
Of course, there is no absolute answer in your job hunting. Each person is different; each job is different; each company is different. But “Think like a hiring manager” gives you a valuable perspective on your resume, interview, and career development. It may save you weeks, months, or years of effort to land on your Dream Job!
To learn further on the resume writing, I suggest you read my blog here: "The missing link of your resume - why general resume tips don't work?"
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About the author
Bryan holds CISSP, CCSP, CEH, CND, PMP, CBAP, and several other professional certifications. He is a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) specialized in Azure Cloud Technologies, and EC-Council Certified Instructor (CEI) for the courses like CEH and CND.
Bryan has delivered numerous cybersecurity courses & seminars at the organizations such as RBC, Manulife, CIBC, CPA Ontario, OCE, ORION, EC-Council, University of Toronto Rotman School of Management, York University Schulich School of Business, Lambton College, ventureLAB, City of Markham, etc.