Are You 'Awesome' For The Job, According To Hiring Managers?

You got the resume in the right hands, the recruiter loved you during the phone screen and now, it’s time to talk with the hiring manager. Before you go in there, you should know that hiring managers have their own ideas of “awesome for the job” and sometimes they do not align with that recruiter’s vision of the position. Related: 6 Things Job Seekers Do That Hiring Managers LOVE So many times, this is where a prospective hire goes north or south. Because it is ultimately the hiring manager who you’ll be working for, and his or her thoughts on the interview and you as a candidate are what’s going to matter. And throughout the process, the hiring manager is going to be thinking one these things:


  1. I don’t know exactly what I want until I see it.
  2. I am not sure how you’ll help me.
  3. I am meeting with you as a courtesy to the HR team.
  4. I have another candidate in mind.
I know, totally unfair and not very cool, but it is true. The good news, here's how you overcome each and every one of these objections, and how you can leave the interview and follow-up situations in the best possible position to be selected for the role.

1 & 2. I don't know what I want until I see it/I am not sure how you’ll help me.

In my role as hiring manager, I have to admit; I am really bad at reading resumes. They don’t work for me for a variety of reasons. Mostly because they are generic and I think the job I am hiring for is very specific. Plus, I like narratives and visuals and those are hard to execute in a resume. So, to overcome this hiring manager thought you should do two things: one, ask direct questions about the role and the tasks and working with me. Get at my expectations for the role and when you get there, tell me stories, or show me examples of how you did that for someone else and totally rocked it. Then, I will start seeing you as what I want AND how you can help me. Two objections handled via one tactic. If you want to read more about what questions to ask: read this.

3. I am meeting with you as a courtesy to the HR team.

This one is tough. We trust our recruiting partners to bring us the best candidates. Sometimes we aren’t feeling it, but it is very easy to overcome this one by showing me why you killed the phone screen. Chances are you did great in that scenario because you were energetic, excited, and had excellent answers to their questions. You bring that same level of energy, excitement, and focused answers to questions, it is easy to overcome this objection.

4. I have another candidate in mind.

Of all the objections, this is potentially the toughest to overcome. First, because you don’t know that this may be the case and two, it is impossible to elegantly ask about it. So, the advice here is this: Assume that there is someone else who is also awesome from a skills point of view, and focus your energy on determining if you and the hiring manager can connect and grow the role and company together. I am a big believe in hire for attitude/culture train for skill. If you and I hit it off in an interview and I can see working with you and growing my company with you, the other candidate will have something to live up to. Keep in mind that getting a job is a two-way street. You need to be impressed with the hiring manager, too. So, if they do not read your resume before hand, or fail to respond to your follow-up message, that is a reflection of their approach, and should be taken into account if and when you get an offer. Write a great resume in 15 minutes! This post was originally published at an earlier date.

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