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What every hiring manager wants to know

by Shannon Houde

My clients often wonder how they can stand out in a large sea of job applicants. The secret is to put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes. In this blog post I will help you do just that.

Tony Hsieh, CEO of online shoe company Zappos.com (number 6 on Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work for in 2015”), says that when he screens all candidates it is through two interviews. The first one is about skills, experience, abilities, etc. – the standard stuff. The second interview is about intangibles – questions range from “what superhero do you want to be” to “what your theme song would be”. In other words, he wants to understand whether the candidate’s values and traits are compatible with the company’s. Even though all companies might not be as fun loving as Zappos, all hiring managers are trying to answer two simple questions: ‘Can you do the job?’ and ‘Do I want to work with you?’ You should prepare to answer both with convincing gravitas, passion and impact:

1. Can you do the job?

Prove to the hiring manager, on your CV with ten strong accomplishment statements, that you can do the job. A lot of the competition may have the skills, and even proven relevant experience, to actually do the job. But you need to convince a hiring manager in your CV that you, not only, have the five relevant skills they have asked for, but also, that you excel at using them to create value and deliver results. I advise my clients to group their accomplishments into skill categories to make them stand out.

An accomplishment statement needs to start with an impressive verb and include tangible results and specifics of what you (not the team, the project, or the company) actually did. An example of a ‘before’ and ‘after’ accomplishment statement is:

Before (vague):

Supporting new business development activities including writing proposals and presentations to prospective clients.

After (specific, with results and scope):

Won £50k of new business over six months from retail and FMCG clients through identifying client needs, writing proposals, and delivering pitch presentations.

2. Do I want to work with you?

This is where you get to show off your values and traits. On your CV you should make it easy for a hiring manager to see your top five key skills, values and traits. Values will reflect how you fit their corporate culture. Traits are characteristics to show how you add value in using your skills. Here are two tips for working your key values and traits into your application:

    • Be yourself. Let who you are as a person shine through in your CV and cover letter. Formality is important to a certain level but actually a hiring manager wants to know you as a person. So you need to use language that relates to them, words that resonate about who you are that tie to the language they used in the job description.
    • Make it simple for them. Once you have identified 5 key words for your top VALUES and 5 for your TRAITS, make them relevant to the hiring manager, the company, and the role. Use single words, not sentences. Let the words for your top five skills, values, and traits jump off the page. Make them easy to access. Make sure they are relevant to the hiring manager and the job description.

So if you are in those shoes of the hiring manager, and you have the job description and your CV in front of you…would you hire you? Be honest…and keep rewriting the story until the answer is, Yes!

This article originally appeared on Acre

Photo credit: Anne-Onyme via Pixabay

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