Past Issues

November 14, 2011

How Employers Choose
The Right Job Candidate

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How Employers Choose Job Candidates

By Todd Goldstein, President of Resume2Hire

What factors do hiring managers make their decisions on when it comes to selecting candidates after the interview?

We interviewed a dozen hiring managers to uncover their hidden pet peeves, likes, dislikes, and what makes them hire a candidate. Below are the most common successes and pitfalls of first-round interviews:

1. SHOW UP ON TIME: Here's something surprising that we found -- don't show up twenty minutes early. Hiring managers are busy. They are in meetings, on conference calls, and, let's face it -- interviewing other candidates. Showing up too early for an interview, even if you sit in the waiting room and review your notes, puts the hiring manager under pressure and makes you seem too eager. (Of course, it goes without saying that being even five minutes late puts a sour taste in everyone's mouth). Leave ahead of time to ensure an on-time arrival and wait outside until it is time to walk in.

2. ASK BEFORE TAKING NOTES: Every interviewer is different. You might have a panel of interviewers all firing questions at you, or you might go from office to office. Your interview may be formal or informal. No matter the situation, don't pull out the legal pad and start writing down everything your interviewer is saying before asking, "Would it be alright with you if I took notes?"

3. OVERDRESS: Even if the company is small and you know ahead of time from your headhunter that the environment is casual -- go in a full suit. A candidate who arrives in a full suit with the same qualifications as a candidate who arrives in a blazer will get preference every time. Even if your interviewer is in jeans, it's better to be overdressed. If the interview is going very well, you can always remove your jacket and drape it over your chair.

4. BRING EXTRA COPIES OF YOUR RESUME: Companies can be disorganized when they're doing the hiring, but candidates don't have the same luxury! Our headhunters have seen countless situations where interview schedules get changed and candidates have to meet with more people than they anticipated. Your resume serves as your business card -- you wouldn't approach a meeting without one, so make sure you don't approach an interview without multiple copies on hand.

5. KNOW THE CONTENT OF YOUR RESUME: If your resume has been professionally updated, make sure that you know the document like the back of your hand. Don't glance at your resume or peruse it to search for a position when the interviewer asks you to describe an example of project management or team leadership at job XYZ. Hesitating or looking down at your notes at this critical moment indicates that you can't speak to what you have accomplished, or worse, that you have embellished on your resume. Know what is written on your documents explicitly before heading in.

6. ASKING QUESTIONS: Research the company thoroughly before going into the interview. This can include company website(s), news articles, or other internet or hardcopy research. Know the size of the company, the general corporate culture if you can locate information on it, and the products and services they promote -- especially any new items. Appropriate questions to ask are things like "What is the structure of the department this position would be working in," or "What are some of the biggest challenges this position will face," or "What are some of the core competencies you are seeking in a candidate for this position?" Never ask about money or benefits, and never mention commute as a plus or minus. Keep the questions to the mission of the company and responsibilities of the position.

Todd Goldstein has been in the recruitment industry for over 15 years and is the President of Resume2Hire, a resume writing firm that provides affordable resume and cover letter writing services from entry level to mid-management. Resume2Hire will review and analyze your information and you'll receive a first draft via email within 72 hours after placing an order. You then have an opportunity to provide feedback and they'll make any necessary revisions until you are completely satisfied. To learn more, visit Resume2Hire today.

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