Your first goal when looking for a job is to get an interview. You offer your candidacy by submitting your résumé. The challenge is that you’re in competition with a large number of very qualified applicants. If you’re lucky, your résumé gets you an interview. The decision to invite you for this coveted meeting was based on the appearance of your résumé, its overall content, the skills it reflects you possess, and, mainly, the accomplishments you highlighted via a format of bulleted lists. But now the second competition starts. It consists in you versus the other candidates vying for the same job.
Look at the situation from the hiring manager’s vantage point: the manager needs to make a selection. Say there are five very qualified and handpicked applicants with great skills and with lists of appropriate accomplishments. So, what’s going to be the differentiator? The answer is the fit. The hiring manager who is the ultimate decision maker has a series of pertinent questions and is answering them subjectively. Some of those questions might be:
- What do we have in common?
— It is known that people like to hire others like themselves.
- Are we sharing the same values?
— For example, what’s your attitude toward customer service? Are you innovative when solving problems? Is cost cutting an important goal of yours?
- What is your work style?
— For example, are you in the habit of working long hours? Do you keep an open-door policy? Are you working well as part of a team? Are you competitive?
- What image did you leave behind after the interview?
— Did you carry yourself well during the interview? Were you dressed properly? Did you bathe yourself in perfume? What was your accent like? your speech pattern? your tone of voice? your speech volume? What about your walking pace? your posture? your air of confidence–or lack thereof?
- What kind of personality do you have?
— Are you confident? Would you fit in well with company team members? Would you get along?
- Can we afford you?
— Are your salary expectations aligned with the company’s budget for this position? Are you flexible about compensation? Can we make a deal that both parties will feel good about?
As you can see, the fit component of the hiring decision-making process is not only complex and driven by the psychological makeup of the hiring manager but also biased and subjective.
Good luck in your maneuvering through this maze. The best advice for winning the hiring manager over is to get input from a professional counselor who can offer you unbiased information based on factual knowledge and years of experience.