Searching for a new job has never been easier. Through the power of the Internet, you are mere clicks away from scanning hundreds of opportunities. You can sift, search, and scan to find the exact right fit for you.
But…all this speed and precision also makes searching for a job as hard as it has ever been. Why? Because the other side of the equation is also using the same techniques to sift, search and scan for the perfect applicants. Or, at least, those that fit a pre-set list of criteria.
How do you navigate this maze and get noticed? What are some pro tips for handling an interview?
Fortunately, Netquote published the results of a survey of 800 hiring managers. We’ve included a link to a deeper article but here are some of the highlights:
First, get your resume right. An entire industry has been created to help you craft the perfect resume. However, the hiring managers revealed a couple of helpful hints. 42% of those surveyed recommended you do not include a head shot. That did vary by industry as those in the government, legal or healthcare fields preferring no headshots. Creating a non-standard, “artistic” resume had mixed results with equal positive and negative responses.
Brevity is genius. Hiring managers are extremely busy so do your best to keep that resume to one page. 23% said two pages were too many while over 50% did not want to see a 3+ page document.
Be mindful of any employment gaps. Their negative impact on your prospects vary by industry. For example, the construction industry accepts over a two year gap while IT does not like to see one longer than a year.
A personal side note – don’t get cute when delivering your resume. True story. I once had a job applicant deliver their resume to me via a belly dancer. While it did entertain the entire office it did not land them the job.
Once you’ve navigated the above minefield and been granted an interview, the hiring managers had a few more suggestions.
Watch your language. Buzzwords can often be buzz kills. Be prepared and be conversational. But, avoid saying “stuff or things”, “like or um” and “low hanging fruit”.
Now for the really scary part. 60% of HR professionals said they actually read a resume before the interview. That means 40% have absolutely no idea about who you are or what you do. Further, 71% have interviewed a candidate with no intention of hiring them. While this may be a depressing statistic keep in mind that every interview is practice for the next one. It provides you with valuable experience in the process.
When it comes to questions the most valued – from the interviewers’ side – are “tell me about a time when you managed a conflict” and “tell me about a time when you learned from a mistake”. Having a concrete example for each will go a long way towards making a strong impression. Conversely, two of the least important questions are about your previous salary and how you learned about the opening.
The most important personality trait they are looking for is “problem-solving”. The least? Patience.
There is a gender difference in interviewers. Female interviewers tend to value collaboration, communication and time management. Male interviewers prefer creativity, leadership, and discipline. Of course, this also varies by industry.
Hopefully, this helps you gain some insight into the thought process that hiring managers use to make a decision. While it is not a foolproof system, any advantage you can glean could put you ahead of the competition. Good luck!