You might consider hiring to be a standardized practice. You apply for a job; you’re hired for a job. Yet the hiring process includes many variables. In some cases, these are things out of the control of both the employer and the job candidate. Current economics and politics, which have the potential to generate either too many qualified candidates or too few are just a couple of variable that can come into play in the job market.
Whether it’s an environment favoring the candidate or the employer, there is one element in hiring that’s constantly evolving – the people dynamic. People hire people to work with other people. As a result, it’s not always easy to know what could make a candidate appealing to an employer. Since none (or very few) of us are mind readers, it becomes important to become a good reader of clues. These clues can include reading body language, assessing office dynamics and listening for what people want but don’t always say.
Hiring the Person, Not just the Skill
Understanding these subtle clues can make the difference between just having skills and the ability to execute skills in a way that’s beneficial to the workplace at large. Good skills will always be essential, but applying those skills with emotional intelligence is the special something that helps set a candidate apart from the rest. It can often become the deciding factor between two job candidates possessing comparable skills sets. One candidate comes to the interview ready to demonstrate their skills with illustrative examples of how these skills benefit the workplace. The other candidate cannot share specific examples, instead relying on their skills to speak for themselves.
Making the Connection
Because jobs are mostly about people working for and with other people, it’s important to connect how your skills provide a valuable service and how you can assist others through efficiency, productivity and teamwork. A job candidate who is strategically thinking about how their skills can help the business is infinitely more valuable and attractive to a hiring manager than one who merely executes skills on the job.
Things Hiring Managers Look For
- Narratives about prior jobs, experiences, volunteering that complement the job skills
- Examples of how skills would make you successful in the job and in the culture
- Willingness to work and learn new things
- Ability to think quickly in new environments and situations and remain calm during stressful times
- Sharing experiences from outside the workplace (sports, fraternity, sorority and mentoring)
Demonstration of an ability to learn systems and adhere to procedures
Never One Size Fits All
One of the best things about getting in front of a hiring manager is the chance to truly showcase who you are beyond a specific skill set. Consider a great resume a starting place, but only by demonstrating a grasp of the larger picture will you able to prove how good of a candidate you can be.