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The prospect of bringing someone onto the team is one that is exciting and full of possibility. I love talking with candidates. I enjoy learning about them and their passions and aspirations. Hiring should be something that is exciting and fun. The problem is it remains a process and processes are generally less fun and exciting. But, I can say that there are some things that candidates do that truly make the process more fun and exciting.


So, what are some things hiring managers love to see from a job seeker? Here are the six things that a candidate can do that make a hiring manager want to say, "You're hired!"

1. Following The Instructions

It is refreshing when a candidate does exactly what we ask when applying for a position. At my company, we require you to join our database. We only use our own tool to identify talent for our open positions. We don't take resumes. We don't believe them. That's our requirement. So, when people do what we've asked, we are happy. We look at their work samples and try to find the best hire based on what they've done.

On the flip side, when people send me a resume...I get really frustrated. It makes me unhappy. I feel it ignores what we are trying to do and that makes me feel like the candidate doesn't respect what we are trying to do. It also gives me the impression that they don't pay attention to details. So, the candidate that simply follows the directions is one that brings me delight.

2. Having Focused Communications​

Hiring manager listens to a job candidate during an interview

When a candidate tells me exactly what they are going to bring to the table to solve my business challenges, I pick up the phone and call them. And who doesn't love it when the hiring manager calls them directly to talk about their experience?

When you are writing your resume, try to keep the following in mind: "What's in it for the employer?" The best way to answer this question is by quantifying your work experience so the hiring manager knows exactly how you'll add value to the organization. When you focus your communication on solving the business problems, I love you for it. I can imagine you doing the job right away, because you get it.

If this makes you wonder what's in it for you, the candidate, well, when we get to the interview, it is up to me to convince you why you'd want to work for the company. So, keep your communications focused on how your skills will solve our problems.

3. Being On Brand With The Company

Job candidate talks to the hiring manager during an interview

Our company has a sense of humor. We like funny. So, I love it when people send me connection requests or inquiries that sound like someone here wrote it. This tells me three things: First, you took the time to research our company and understand our personality. Second, you understand our brand enough that the learning curve when you start isn't steep (I can already see you working here when you write in our voice). And finally, it tells me that you also see alignment.

Companies hire for three things: personality, aptitude, and experience. How you fit into the company culture is a huge factor in a hiring manager's decision whether to offer you the job or not. Therefore, being on brand with the company and having a real connection to what they do and being passionate about their mission will all signal to the hiring manager that you'd be a great fit.

4. Showing Examples

Hiring manager reviews documents from a job candidate

Nothing beats examples! Examples are awesome and help you stand out.

If you have a portfolio, SlideShare, CredHive, links to documents, spreadsheets, reports, project plans, ideas, and presentations from Dropbox, send them. I love to see examples of what you're passionate about and what you are good at. It helps me see what you've done so that I can better imagine you working on our team.

5. Asking Good Questions

Job candidate asks the hiring manager a question

The interview and its precursor communications should help you make a good decision during each step in the process. You should be curious about our company, its trajectory, my management style, and the team. You need to ask good questions to help yourself make a well-informed decision.

When you ask good questions, I can tell you are curious and that you are thoughtful. These are my top two desired soft skills.

6. Following Up Smartly

Job candidate on a virtual interview with the hiring manager

Nothing seals the deal like a smartly crafted follow-up message. First, there's the follow-up thank you note. Always send a thank you note. But everyone knows that.

After sending a thank you note, when a little time has passed after the job interview, the best way a candidate can stand out is by sending me a news article or blog post that is thought-provoking based on our conversation. This type of follow up almost always elicits a follow-up email from me.


If you're wondering what a hiring manager really wants to see in a job candidate, just remember the six points above. Follow these tips in your next job search and hiring managers will love you!


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This post was originally published at an earlier date.

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