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What hiring managers want you to know

By Jana Angeles

Looking for a new job is never easy. In fact, 37% of job seekers are not sure what their ideal role looks like, which can make it an emotional and frustrating process. 

On average, a job search takes about 82 days. It’s been found that Gen Y (millennials) job hunters can find their next job very quickly, with 38% finding a role within one month of looking for a new job, compared to only 30% of Gen X and 25% of Baby Boomers finding a job in a similar timeframe.

While preparing for a job interview can be tough, preparation is key when answering the most commonly asked interview questions. Nerves can get the best of you, so it’s worthwhile thinking about how you can impress the hiring manager when talking up your skills and experience. It’s important to think about your key personality traits, what type of company culture you fit in and your ability to learn new processes and responsibilities when it comes to a job. 

Here are some of the things hiring managers are already wanting to know about you as soon as you sit in for a job interview, according to Harvard Business Review

What hiring managers want to know about you

  1. What type of person you are beyond your skills and experience.
  2. Your willingness to learn.
  3. If you take initiative when it comes to work.

1. What type of person you are beyond your skills and experience.

team collaborative concept

When a hiring manager looks at your resume, it’s clear that they have shown interest in your capabilities when they invite you for an interview. It’s important that during the interview, you’re answering the questions to show some personal flair when it comes to your interaction with the hiring manager. It’s important to reflect upon your best personality traits such as kindness, humility, integrity, honesty, trust and respect. 

Don’t be surprised if the hiring manager you’re engaging with is asking you questions about the way you deal with difficult people and how you work in a team. Despite being “the real deal” on paper, they need to ensure that you’re a great culture fit - something beyond what your skills and experience already unveil. 

Having a positive work culture embodies more engaged employees and increased productivity at work, so for a hiring manager to ask you questions about company culture and how you could potentially fit into the workplace comes hand in hand with your skills and experience. 

2. Your willingness to learn.

Have you been the type to not apply for a job because you believe that you don’t tick off all the skills and experience? Do you have bouts of fear and feel like an impostor in your current job? The good news is you don’t need to meet every single requirement for a position. Even when you have all the qualifications under your belt, or come from a high academic background, there are skills in the workforce that cannot be learnt from books

A study that was conducted by global staffing firm Robert Half found that 84% of HR managers would be open to hiring an employee who had skills which can be further developed through training. The survey also revealed that 62% of employees were offered a job even though their skills and experience didn’t exactly match the job’s requirements.

Hiring managers need to know that you’re someone who has a willingness to learn. Even though you don’t tick off the job criteria, you may encompass soft skills that can help you succeed in the job you applied for. During an interview, hiring managers may ask you the following questions:
  • How do you deal with change?
  • What steps did you take to solve a problem?
  • Can you work in a fast-paced environment?
If you find yourself at a roadblock when answering a question during the interview process, do your best not to panic. It’s more important to be honest than bluff your way and give an answer you’re not proud of. Art Markman writes on Harvard Business Review, “Good interviewers can smell a phony response.”

Not knowing the answer does not make you appear “weak”. Even then, you can turn around and give a quality answer by saying that although you do not have the knowledge and skills, you’re willing to learn. A hiring manager wants to know this information because they may be considering you for the job despite not meeting all the requirements. 

3. If you take initiative when it comes to work.

people putting hand up

Do you consider yourself a self-starter? It’s worth knowing that hiring managers need to know that you’re willing to put your hand up when required. In any given job, you need to be flexible with change and be prepared for additional responsibilities. 

For example, you could be interviewing for a role in sales but after a year into the job, you could be promoted to account manager and have other responsibilities to tend to. They may ask you the following to see how much effort you’re willing to put into the role:
  • Are you comfortable taking on extra responsibilities?
  • Can you provide me an example of when you had to showcase your leadership skills?
  • How do you prioritise your work?
Hiring managers want to know that they can depend on you when it comes to completing tasks on time and this also gives them the opportunity to understand your work ethic. Knowing that they have someone on board who is enthusiastic and dependable is what they’re after. If you’re a self-starter and come prepared during the job interview, you’re already making first impressions of taking initiative at the first point of contact already.

Want to improve your chances of getting hired?

Whether you’re looking to boost your current skillset or thinking about a job change, Upskilled has a great selection of courses in a number of fields that can help you improve your chances of getting hired. 

Courses are designed to be completed within 12 months, giving you a chance to gain a relevant qualification to suit your career needs in a short time. 

With the flexible delivery of online courses, you can pace your studies around your current work schedule and other personal commitments. Get in touch with an education consultant and learn about the other benefits online study has to offer.
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