Can I keep it real for a moment?
Hiring managers are lazy. They make it nearly impossible for you, a qualified candidate, to get ahead.
They are the final decision when it comes to getting a job with their company, and yet they do things that make no sense sometimes. Things like:
- They ask stupid interview questions and frown when you actually answer it with a halfway decent response.
- They lose your resume.
- They get aggressive during the interview process.
- They check their email or their make-up while interviewing you and half haphazardly pay attention to your answers.
- They criticize you for dressing up too much.
- They talk too much about how great they are during your interview.
- They lead you on like they’re going to hire you and then completely ignore you when you send them a follow-up emails.
- They’re super picky and want someone who has a ton of skills that’s also willing to accept chump change.
This does not make you feel good about interviewing with any hiring manager, right? I don’t care how desperate you are for a job, one bad experience can make you give up job hunting altogether.
But there is a way around that feeling.
If you know the rules to the job search game, it’s much easier to pass it. The problem is many job candidates go into an interview reactive instead of proactive. Let’s change that today.
So the next time you find yourself talking to hiring managers who seem lackadaisical, rude, aloof, and distracted in their approach to interviewing you, here’s how to deal.
- Remember, the juggle is real
Hiring managers are managers.
Which means,they’re juggling lotsa stuff at once. They have a few dozen people who report to them. They’ve got committees they’re running and budgets to oversee.
They’ve got ten meetings planned today before lunch.
They’ve got executives breathing down their neck about this quarter’s numbers and they’ve got a few unruly direct reports who can’t get their act together.
And oh, by the way, they just saw the reminder on their Outlook Calendar they are to interview a candidate in 15 minutes.
Not to give them an excuse, but realize this: hiring managers are busy people. Not to mention, they’re also pretty important to their organization.
They may come off as uninterested and distracted during your interview, but really, they just have a lot on their plate.
How to deal: Firstly, remember that the hiring manager’s demeanor may not have anything to do with you.
So don’t take their reactions, questions, tones, and/or lack of emotion, personally. And don’t let it affect your positivity while answering questions. (Easier said than done, I know.)
Secondly, interview prep like your life depends on it. Know your answers to top 50 interview questions (especially the dreaded “tell me about yourself” question. Quick tip: keep this answer to under 90 seconds.)
Because they’re busy, they want a candidate that can communicate their worth in a nanosecond.
Practice, practice, practice. Trust me, you can’t practice too much. There’s no such thing.
- Pass the Six Second Breath Test
Imagine a cute guy just walked up to you. Not just cute...fine.
You know, that kind of fine where you’re willing to let him lean in a little too close as he says “hello.” Now imagine as he greeted you, pearly whites gleaming, his breath smelled like day old tuna and rotten eggs.
Totally kills the vibe, right?
Same goes with a resume. A study conducted by Careerbuilder showed that hiring managers and recruiters literally only give your resume a six second glance before discarding it.
In fact, most of the time, hiring managers throw away two-thirds of resumes sent to them. Meaning, if 100 people applied to the same position with a particular company, only 33 of those resumes will actually get a thorough once-over. (Out of the 33, only 5 or 6 will be interviewed. Crazy, right?)
What’s even more frightening, there are fewer and fewer humans actually looking at resumes nowadays.
Most human resource departments use a software that helps them “search” for resumes based on specific keywords. Know what those keywords are and you should have an easier time getting interviews.
How to deal: Don’t the let the numbers above depress or defeat you. Instead fight back by optimizing your resume.
Brace yourself because you’re not gonna like this: customize your resume for each position you apply.
I know what you’re thinking “Off with her head!” But, as a job search coach, I know what I’m talking about.
When you’ve only got six seconds to impress, you need to do what your competition won’t do.
And you know what they’re not doing? Customizing their resume for each position they’re applying for.
So if you do it, you will seem like a much more viable candidate than anyone else. Yes, it’s a lot of work. But it can get you a job earning several thousands of dollars more than you do now.
- Make Them Remember Your Name
You’ve just had a great interview with a company that would be stupid crazy to pass you up as a candidate.
You’ve seen the competition, they aint got nothing on you. Half of them didn’t even dress up for the interview. You’ve totally got this job.
Fast forward two weeks.
All you’ve heard are crickets. Needless to say, you’re not walking around like a peacock anymore.
on’t worry though, this happens more often than you know. Why?
- Hiring managers get busy putting out fires and forget to select a candidate.
- Hiring managers forget to tell HR which candidates they’ve selected.
- Budgets shrink at the drop of a dime.
- Hiring managers quit without notice.
- They were heavily influenced to hire someone else that is a family friend of a particular executive.
- Companies end up with less work than forecasted.
- The position gets dissolved.
- Companies get bought out or “restructure” their workforce needs.
There could’ve been a whole slew of things that happened between the time you interviewed and now.
How to deal: If you’ve interviewed with a company during a busy time — like during Q4 when holidays and vacations are lurking around every corner — don’t be afraid to follow-up.
If you didn’t get the hiring manager’s business cards, simply follow up with HR. A simple email should suffice.
But if you really want to do something no one else does: send a snail mail letter. Yes, like write or type out a letter, put it in an envelope, put a stamp on it, and then mail it.
Don’t worry, it should only take 1-2 days for them to receive the letter. (If you’re really worried about the getting it, pay a little extra and send it via Priority Mail.)
What should you write?
The same thing you would in an email. Tell them you appreciate them interviewing you and you’re looking forward to their final decision.(You can put your resume in there with the letter if you’d like, but that may come off as overkill.)
Unconventional? Yes. Does it work? More often than people think.
It definitely will make you stand out amongst your competition.
Job searching is a pretty tough process to go through. There are so many variables you can’t control and that can lead to self-doubt and frustration.
The biggest variable is the hiring manager.
When they behave badly, it can totally throw you off your game. Remember though, by being prepared and not taking their antics personally, you can navigate through the deep dark waters of job hunting like a pro.
Good luck to you in your job search.
Shay Banks is a Job Search Coach who helps job seekers find work they love by making a few simple tweaks to their job hunting habits. You can read her book Upgrade Your Job Search In 21 Days or Less on Amazon and you can find more information about her at www.upgradeyourjobsearch.com.