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What Hiring Managers (HM) actually want to hear from you, the Candidate, during the interview and some extra important info to help you get that Offer!

Have you ever wondered what goes through the Hiring manager’s mind, when you’re being interviewed? This is a summary of many different findings in the industry.

HM Question: What are your weaknesses?
HM Answer: Be honest. We all have weaknesses. Tell me about them with a realistic assessment of areas of improvement – this is to see if you “fit” – no other reason

HM Question: Is a phone interview important?
HM Answer: It is critically important – it is not a casual chat. Are you lying on the couch? It comes across the phone and will definitely take you no further in the interview process. I want to hear that you are keen, not overly, yet not stiff.

HM Question: Do you check other references apart from the given ones?
HM Answer: Definitely – the one’s given, are the best ones – make sure that your references check out and are aware that someone might be calling them

HM Question: “Tell me a little bit about yourself”?
Preferred Answer: He/She should give a brief summary of their experience, highlighting their abilities that relate directly to the job. The HM wants to hear that you know something about the company – that you’ve done your homework. The HM wants to know what makes he/she a qualified candidate for the job. Candidate Don’ts: Long, rambling answer that goes nowhere. No personal information. The HM does not want to hear the entire history of you, starting with high school – just discuss your relevant experiences, starting with the most recent.

HM Question: What is the most impressive thing a candidate can do in an interview?
HM Answer: Be fully prepared. By that, I mean, prepare questions that show you’ve taken the time to learn about my company and that you are interested in it. Don’t just tell me your strengths; prepare stories that illustrate where you’ve used those strengths successfully in past work experiences. So many job candidates think they can just wing it in an interview. Be prepared!

HM Question: What are the “hidden hiring criteria” that can’t be written in a job description?
Preferred Mindset: The most experienced and qualified candidate does not always gets the job. You may match the job description perfectly, but that doesn’t mean you’re the best candidate or are entitled to the job. The job description is only a small part of the hiring decision. How you “Fit” is probably the most important hidden criterion. An employer wants to know that you can do the job and do it well, but they’ve asked you in for an interview, so they probably already think you can do the job. The big question is: Are you an effective and valuable addition to the company?

HM Question: How do you determine “fit”?
HM Answer: “Fit” takes into account a few of the candidate’s abilities, as well as important qualities such as one’s capacity to learn quickly, maturity, sense of humour, attitude and confidence. Will the combination, complement the rest of the team? What is the HM’s gut feeling about you as a person?

HM Question: What has a candidate done to blow you away in an Interview?
HM Answer: Silence and thinking about the answer. The silence indicated the ability to think and formulate an educated answer which showed confidence and maturity. A candidate could also do a power point presentation as to why they should be hired.

HM Question: What’s the most annoying thing a candidate can do in an interview?
HM Answer: Checking the time. The interview ended abruptly.

HM Question: How must a candidate talk about gaps in his/her CV during an interview?
HM Answer: Many candidates have gaps in his or her CV. These gaps will be questioned, but all one wants is an honest answer. Simply tell the truth. Eg: 1) You took time off to care for a child. 2) You got laid off. 3)You didn’t get along with your boss. These are understandable for any experienced interviewer. If you get fired or laid off, especially after a short time on the job, it’s really not your fault. A “bad hire” is the hiring manager’s fault. After all, we pick you; you don’t pick us. Every interviewer wants to minimize the possibility of a bad hire, hence all the questions asked. When you date someone for the first time, do you ask questions? Yes, it is a natural thing to do, to see if you will be a “fit” in the path ahead. It’s the same in the interview process.

HM Question: Is a cover letter important, before interview stage?
HM Answer: It is very important – the fact that a candidate takes the time to sit down and carefully motivate his or herself, speaks volumes. The same is said for the presentation of their CV. A sloppy cover letter and/or CV is overlooked immediately.

HM Question: Do you get annoyed if a candidate arrives too early for interview?
HM Answer: Yes. 5 minutes before is perfect – I do not want to feel obligated to push aside my busy schedule.

HM Question: Do candidates that give long answers annoy you?
​​​​​​​HM Answer: Yes. It is a clear indication that their thoughts are not organized. Always remember the golden rule: We have two ears and one mouth!