Everything recruiters want you to know before you apply for a job.
Is there an art to job interviews?
There’s no sugar coating it, interviews are an exhausting process that require a lot of preparation and a lot of guesswork. They’re not an exact science and the only real way to know what hiring managers expect during an interview is to ask.
And that’s exactly what we’ve done—we put 30 hiring managers across various sectors in the hot seat to ask the important questions and uncover what they’re really looking for when interviewing candidates.
Discover the revealing results below.
The impact of Covid-19
Post-pandemic, the hiring landscape has shifted and 87% of hiring managers have changed the way they hire. Immediacy is now of the essence and video interviews are now more common with 54% of respondents sharing that this is their go-to method to review candidates.
The interview process has been sped up, and candidates now progress through the process faster (38%) and have to go through fewer rounds of interviews (15%), according to hiring managers.
Stand out from the crowd
While you might think a jazzy design is the way to stand out, this is not what hiring managers are looking for, and including a photo on your CV isn’t as important as people might think (7%).
So what makes an application stand out? Tailoring your CV specifically to the role (53%) and using keywords to make your application stand out (40%) matter. And don’t forget a cover letter—46% of hiring managers shared that a well crafted cover letter is essential.
Creating an immediate impact is key
93% of hiring managers know within one minute if a candidate is right for the position. Yes, one minute. Which doesn’t give you a lot of time to sell yourself, so creating a personal profile that gives a succinct synopsis of your skills and experience shouldn’t be overlooked.
In fact, 38% of hiring managers said it’s very important and is the part they check first. Another 44% shared that this section is somewhat important.
Tell me about yourself…
Is culture fit still relevant? While skills trump culture fit—60% to 40% respectively—hiring managers use interviews to suss out candidates, establish if they could fit into their team and also test if they have a genuine interest in the role they’re interviewing for. One respondent shared that they always ask candidates to describe themselves as the answers can be “very revealing”.
However, be wary of referring to jobs as “learning opportunities” or something you’d like for “a change”. One hiring manager told us, “I think it is okay to say this but it can’t be the primary reason – I am not running a training programme, I want someone to do the work.” Noted.
Stranger than fiction
When it comes to the worst things hiring managers have witnessed during the interview process, they’ve seen (and heard) it all. Answering the phone or responding to a text message during an interview came out as the top irritant, followed by badmouthing previous employers in any capacity.
And while you might think swearing is the biggest no-no, some of the hiring managers we spoke to shared that they’ve had to deal with hearing someone going to the toilet while on a phone interview, conducting a video interview while the candidate was smoking in bed, and even dealing with a candidate who was driving, and wouldn’t agree to pull over.