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August 12, 2011

OfficeTeam Reveals Five Hiring-Manager Secrets

What's going through a hiring manager's mind during a job interview? The answer may surprise you. OfficeTeam, a leading administrative staffing service, has identified five things job seekers should know about the interview process -- from the interviewer's point of view.
"Many job candidates may not recognize that hiring managers can be as anxious as they are during interviews because of the pressure to find just the right person," says Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam. "Hiring mistakes are costly, in terms of the time and money invested and the toll on staff morale. Interviewers are looking for subtle clues the applicant has the right job skills and work ethic, and will fit in with new colleagues and the corporate culture."

Hosking adds, "Job seekers who do their homework and remain poised throughout the interview process will be able to engage in more productive, relevant conversations with prospective employers."

Here are five things most hiring managers may be thinking about the interview but won't tell you:

1. I haven't prepared in advance. You may have spent hours creating your resume, but there’s a good chance the hiring manager doesn't remember exactly what’s on it.

Advice: Always have an extra copy of your resume handy, and offer to walk the potential employer through the highlights, particularly if he or she seems at a loss for questions.

2. I'm wary of phonies. Think again before you claim that your greatest weakness is that you "work too hard." Most hiring managers have heard it all before. Inauthentic responses are a red flag to employers.

Advice: Come to the interview with several job-related anecdotes in mind that reveal the real you and speak to how your specific talents can help the business. Don't be afraid to show some personality.

(Read "What Are Your Greatest Strengths and Weaknesses?" for more tips.)

3. I love to talk about my company and myself. Interviewers are advised to let the candidate do most of the talking. But hiring managers are only human and enjoy discussing things they are passionate about, including their careers and interests.

Advice: Ask the prospective employer about his or her professional advancement within the company; this can yield valuable information about growth potential at the firm and get the conversation going. You don't have to wait until the end of the interview to ask questions.

4. I may intentionally make you uncomfortable. Job seekers often rush to fill in awkward pauses between interview questions. Hiring managers hope that if they keep you talking, you’ll reveal more of yourself. They also may throw curve-ball questions to see how you react and to gain insight into your thought process.

Advice: Rather than rambling and potentially saying something you regret, keep your responses concise and on point. It's OK to stop and collect your ideas before you begin to speak. Don’t be too concerned if you’re stumped by a tough interview question. Showing your reasoning skills is often more important than finding the right answer.

(Read "100 Potential Interview Questions" for more advice.)

5. I'm going to ask my assistant about you. Six in ten executives surveyed by OfficeTeam said they consider their assistants' opinions important when evaluating new hires. It should go without saying, but make sure you treat everyone you meet with respect when you arrive for an interview. You never know who may be weighing in on the hiring decision.

Advice: If the administrative professional isn't busy, make polite small talk while you wait. Also, avoid irritating behaviors, such as loud cell phone conversations.

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Posted by Charles Purdy on August 12, 2011 at 11:07 AM in Career Development , Interview , Resume , Salary | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)


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Interesting and true. I have sat in on enough hiring committees to verify!

Posted by: steveB | Aug 12, 2011 11:53:22 AM

This was an interesting read. I definitely agree with the points presented here.

Regarding no. 5, I have heard a HR manager say that he would actually ask the receptionist how the prospective candidate spoke to her, and if he didn't treat her nicely, then candidate had shot himself in the foot right at the beginning!

A tip that I would recommend is to keep a separate and dedicated email id for correspondence with prospective employers. Keep this id simple (preferably your name with a number). Most prospective employers would be put off by zany email ids that are in vogue today.



Posted by: Brian | Aug 15, 2011 9:33:32 PM

Good advice, Brian -- thanks for your comment!

Posted by: Charles Purdy | Aug 16, 2011 8:58:44 AM

Thanks for the tips you shared!It really makes a difference to know some of the valuable things that may present confusion for some.

Posted by: Ergonomic Chair | Sep 1, 2011 3:09:32 AM

Absolutely spot on on the issue of office staff opinions. You better believe that most professionals will hear about a job candidate from their administrative assistant and possibly other staff whether the feedback is positive or negative.

A lot of candidates really blow it when they come into a reception area where the assistant may be behind a desk 'manning' the phones, among other tasks, and they assume this is a low level employee, so... no need to give attention or extend any courtesy. Huge mistake. In most companies, the administrative assistant are sometimes the real gatekeepers. They have the inside scoop on much of what is happening in the company and they tend to be very well plugged in with their boss and other executives around the office. If they don't offer their opinion on a candidate, the interviewer will most likely ask how the interaction and impression was in the lobby.

So, always, always treat everyone, no matter their perceived position in the company, with friendly respect and courtesy - it could make it or break it for a candidate.

Posted by: Brad | Dec 16, 2011 3:00:01 PM

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