Interview tips: What do hiring managers really want to see in an interview?

What do hiring managers really want to see in an interview?

Your job search has led you to the perfect role, you’ve applied by sending a great cover letter and CV, and good news; you’re application has impressed the hiring manager enough to secure that all-important interview.

With hiring managers sometimes receiving hundreds of applications for the same job role, just getting through to the interview stage is something you should be very proud of, as it shows the company has a genuine interest in you, and feels that you could potentially be a good fit for the job.

However, your hard work isn’t over. As many of us know, interviews can be daunting and they can go wrong for a number of reasons. The most common being that you’re late, you’ve let your nerves get the better of you (leading you to forget the answers you’ve prepared in advance), and sounding unsure of yourself because you’ve not done enough research on the company and the role you’ve applied for.

So, what do hiring managers want to see in an interview? We’ve asked the experts, and some of their answers might surprise you…

Show you’re a good fit for the company

You may think your experience is the most important factor when making a hiring decision. However, making sure you’re a good fit for the company is one of the main things a hiring manager will look for.

Managers are people too, so they’ll want to ensure that they and their colleagues will enjoy working with you. Unfortunately, this is something that’s tricky to determine from even the most well-written CV and cover letter.

This is something that Paul Solicari from SweepSmart agrees with. He says: “A collaborative company where everyone is passionate, helpful, and is able to get on well with each other equals a happy one. I want my employees to enjoy coming to work each day, so I feel that the interview process is a great way to gauge people’s personalities and working styles, as well as their skills and experience, to ensure they match up.”

Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses

Hiring managers also want to know that you’re a positive person, and that you’re honest- yes, even if you have gaps in your CV or you’re lacking hands-on experience in one or two areas. One of the most important things to ensure is that you’re able to explain how your existing skills can be utilised instead, though any experience you share should be relevant to the role.

This is something that is vital for Dean Van Es, the CEO of Fast Cover. He says: “you should be as honest as possible, and stick to mentioning only the skills and experience that directly relate to the job you’re interviewing for. We don’t want to know about your past relationship history, any accidents you’ve had, or anything else that could be interpreted as ‘too personal’.

“It’s perfectly okay to not know something, and saying so shows honesty, and a willingness to learn.”

Convey the right attitude

Most of us are aware of standard interview etiquette, such as shaking the interviewer’s hand at the start and end of the meeting, maintaining eye contact and smiling as much as possible.

However, although they say that actions speak louder than words, what you say, and how you phrase your answers to the questions you’re been asked is also extremely important.

Mike Irving is the founder of Advanced Business Abilities, and he has been recruiting for roles for over 20 years. He advises: “The one thing I’ve found to be most important is character and attitude. These matter more when hiring than pretty much anything else, including skill level, so I pay attention to the way the candidate speaks. For example, are they highly critical of previous employers or colleagues?

“My advice is to ask about a time they faced a real challenge or problem, without specifying that you’d like to hear how they overcame it- just ask about a problem they’ve faced. Leaving that question open ended might leave you surprised by what you hear from them, and it can give you insights into how they think and what their real attitude is.”

Neil O’Conchuir, holistic coach believes the right attitude is needed, “PMA, positive mental attitude. In any aspect of life and of course the workplace, a positive mental attitude is required. If you can keep your focus, then you will be on the right path to success”.

Clean up your social media profiles

When hiring managers are asked about the first thing they do when recruiting new staff, many of them admit that they look at candidates’ social media profiles, which can make for some awkward questions if you’ve posted things you’d rather a potential employer didn’t see.

Dean Van Es from Fast Cover offers the following advice to candidates: “Google yourself and clean up your public social media profiles. Your prospective employer will almost certainly check you out online before booking in an interview, so make sure nothing comes up that could affect your chances.”

Keep to your agreements

Finally, don’t think that your work is done because the interview is done and dusted! As well as sending a follow-up email to thank the interviewer for their time and ask if they need anything else from you, you should complete any additional requests given to you.

For example, hiring managers will ask candidates to carry out a task after the interview, so make sure this is done in a timely manner! This not only shows that you can be trusted to complete given work, but it also reiterates how much you want the job.

Bowen Eldridge Recruitment acts as a specialist agency for Accountancy Practice, Finance and Marketing Recruitment.