What Do Hiring Managers Really Look For?

What Do Hiring Managers Really Look For?

A Hiring Manager’s Job Never Changes

With all the bells, whistles, tweets, and tools out there to throw in your job search portfolio these days, one things remains the same: the role of the hiring manager.

Since the beginning of time – or at least, human resources departments – the hiring manager has held a critically important role: to single out the most viable candidates based on their potential for success. And what determines this potential for success? The key skills, experience, and knowledge most relevant to the requirements of the position; those typically set forth by the final decision maker.

Stick to the Basics

While we have more tools at our disposal than ever, fueled by a digitally-driven job market and constantly evolving business environment, the basic components of a hiring manager’s job remain the same – identify key criteria within a resume that deem a candidate potentially suitable for the role. Or at the very least, an interview with the internal clients to whom it is HR’s responsibility to source and provide quality talent for the job.

While presentation is important, the message and content that you are selling and communicating weigh much heavier. So while a flashy visual resume may look sleek, is it making the hiring manager job – to find the information that matters – any easier? Probably not.

A video resume may seem cutting edge and representative of your multimedia skills, but does a hiring manager have 2.5 minutes to watch your pitch, as they sift through a stack of resumes designed to convey that same message in 6 seconds? Probably not.

Will a long-winded cover letter telling your life story provide a unique angle to your personal brand? Maybe. But will they read it in the interest of time and efficiency? Probably not.

The Medium is the Message

So while the medium may continue to change, the message needs to remains the same. Regardless of the company, regardless of the industry, and regardless of the position at hand, the hiring manager’s job remains firmly rooted in a singular goal: Identity the key information they’re looking for that will help them sell a candidate’s potential to their manager or internal client.

And how you choose to deliver that information is just as important as what you say. How you structure your resume, your profile, your letter, or any other job search marketing tool, needs to represent a solid understanding of that goal. And in turn, a respect for the time and process of the hiring manager, the person responsible for reviewing and passing forward your application.

The Common Thread

Every resume is different, as are the requirements of the role, and it’s no longer enough simply to list out the requirements and keywords that resonate with the job description. Obviously, you will need to speak to certain core aspects, and also convey your unique value and most marketable attributes. But the one common thread that exists throughout the hiring process for any job is relevance – do you have the right qualifications, are you communicating them effectively, and are they speaking directly to the needs of the organization? If the information is there, and presented in an effective way, then you minimize the chance of your message being missed, or misconstrued.

My goal is certainly not to diminish the efforts of hiring managers and recruiters down to a basic science (I was one once, after all). On the contrary – it’s a complicated process that requires a precise talent for recognizing, well, great talent! But understanding the goals and process of the hiring team can help position you for an advantage.

Keep it smart, simple, and to the point, and you might just find yourself ahead of the competition.