It’s the moment of truth: you have found a role that speaks to you and you’re trying to evaluate whether to apply. You can’t do everything the position requires. Should you apply?
Here’s the skinny on hiring:
It’s a myth that the most qualified person usually gets hired. Hiring managers tend to select people who are enthusiastic and confident, easy to relate to and are clear about what makes them a fit for the position. Rapport, ability to connect, and interview skills often trumps competence!
It’s a myth that you have to be able to do everything in the job description. You should be able to perform key job-doing tasks. You will likely have to learn new skills. If you can do about 75 percent of what’s in a job and feel confident in your ability to learn more, go for it!
Hidden gem: employers have been working to reduce bias in hiring practices by using a “blind” resume and pre-interview question review. These approaches reinforce the importance of researching companies, keywords and using critical thinking to develop materials that match the company’s needs. Their success is still being evaluated.
Hidden gem: when you have an “in”, that makes you more trusted than someone who comes into a job cold. Some companies give hiring bonuses to staff who bring in successful hires. Use your network and outreach skills to get introductions to a company (see Section 3).
What do hiring managers look for?
Hiring managers and recruiters are trying to determine that you will be successful in the position. They want to hire people who are skilled, knowledgeable, motivated and easy to manage. They don’t expect you to be able to do everything. But they do expect you to be able to do essential job tasks and to be resourceful and smart about figuring out the rest. So, show that you have thought about how to succeed in the role.
What can you do to increase the chances of getting hired?
Show that you CAN DO the JOB: CONVEY CONFIDENCE, DO YOUR HOMEWORK
• Know the company: make sure you’ve thoroughly examined the company’s website so you know the mission, culture and priorities. Use their career vocabulary to describe your skillset in your resume, cover letter and interview stories.
• Know the company’s landscape: take time to think about what’s influencing the company’s priorities. Are there policies, political initiatives, or trends that might be affecting their priorities and strategies? (When it comes to COVID, think about the opportunities and threats posed by the pandemic and economic crisis and ask how the company has been repositioning and adapting.)
• Know the skills it takes to do the job: think about the purpose of the position you’re after. At the end of the day, what are you striving to accomplish? Imagine yourself in the position and ask, what do I need to be good at to be effective in this role? What training is required? What technical skills do I need to use? Make notes and write examples from your experience based on those thoughts.
• Know what you don’t know: most people are not a perfect fit for a position. Be honest with yourself about where you might need to grow. When the interview comes, you may say- here are my strengths and here’s where I will put attention as far as skills and training to grow into the position. It’s okay not to be able to do everything! Remember that the hiring manager is going to choose the person who’s the best fit both in terms of job-doing skills, job fitting-in skills and manageability.
Demonstrate that you’re driven: Show your MOTIVATION
Get clear about your motivation for the particular position and company. And, get clear about your interest in learning, growing and moving up the ladder. Refer back to your Career Search Criteria and Goals. Write down what you’re excited about accomplishing, and be specific. What skills do you enjoy using? What makes the mission a good fit for you? How does the organizational culture match your values? What do you like about their approach toward staff development? Teamwork? Innovation? What are you excited to learn?
Be ready to communicate in words and through your energy what in particular motivates you to work in the organization, with the team.
Be able to communicate how the role and the company mission fits in with your career objectives.
Show self-awareness about HOW YOU WORK WITH OTHERS and GET THINGS DONE
People want to hire people that are motivated to succeed, and don’t need a lot of direction or correction! Be able to demonstrate to hiring managers that you know what it takes to do the job and that you’ve thought a few steps ahead (for example, what preparation would help you to be effective). Be prepared to answer the question of the conditions where you’re most productive so a manager knows how much or little direction works for you. And be thinking about how you can demonstrate that you communicate with managers about project status and challenges in a timely, direct manner so that jobs get done on time and challenges are handled effectively. Be prepared with a story that shows you know how to communicate with managers to avert problems (and why that matters — e.g. saving money or clients). A word of warning: don’t talk trash about past jobs, bosses or co-workers. For more about answering questions about how you work well and what you look for in a manager go to Section 4, Interviews.
What can you do to increase your hiring odds?
Be a smart researcher. (see Sections 1 and 2) From your resume to your interview, you have demonstrated that you understand the company, the role and the context. You have thought about how you’re a match and used the language and documentation to show it. You have done your homework.
Connect to your Network (see Section 3). When others refer you, your resume is more likely to be looked at and you are more likely to be chosen over someone with no connection to the company. You don’t have to work so hard to earn trust and credibility!
Be friendly! (see Section 4) People who are easy to talk to and able to build rapport get hired because they are relatable. Managers have a better idea that they will be able to work together. Practicing your interview skills out loud with others will help you relax and connect.
Have healthy self-esteem. Self-confidence inspires confidence in employers. Managers hire people who communicate with confidence in body, voice and words. Sit up straight, look others in the eye, and take the time to show hiring managers that you have done your homework. Know your value — the skills and qualities and track record that makes you a valuable addition — and trust in your ability to do excellent work.
Well-rounded interview skills. (see Section 4) Hiring managers choose people who convey positive energy, confidence, ease and who respond with clear, succinct responses. Need we say more about practicing, learning how to think on your feet and being able to show how your skills and accomplishments match up with the position.