10 Qualities Companies Look for When Making Hiring Decisions

CN_Marc_v1_eAre you wondering what hiring managers look for in employees when they are considering which job candidate is actually going to get the offer? You might be surprised the things that get discussed as we go over potential hires.

While I can’t say for sure what goes on behind closed doors at every company, I can let you in to some of the discussions I’ve been part of and what things worked for and against the people we interviewed.

Behind closed doors of hiring discussions

After we finish a round of interviews, all the people who have met the candidates – even including receptionists at times – are asked for their feedback. Here are some of the things we discuss as we consider who we want to call back or make an offer to:

  • Do they really have the skills to do the job? Although they may say they’ve done similar things, did the stories they told us or the language they used make it seem like they truly know what they’re talking about … or are they just trying to talk a good game by throwing around some related terminology?
  • What would they be like to work with on a daily basis? Do they seem to be someone who would add positively to the company or do they appear to be potential energy drains, such as people who are whiners and / or high maintenance?
  • Do they seem to be someone who can find problems before they happen, but more importantly also find possible solutions before screaming that the sky is falling?
  • Do they seem to be a “me me me” person or do they seem like someone who will go out of their way to make sure that the company interests, as well as those of their co-workers, are a strong part of their focus?
  • Were they selling themselves so hard that they left a feeling of desperation or, more importantly, not really having the goods? Similarly, did they seem to be able to admit (or even recognize) what they don’t know as well as talk about what they do know?
  • Do we get a good feeling that they are being themselves and telling us the whole story to the best of their abilities, or did we get a feeling that they were holding something back or trying to avoid / divert some of our questions?
  • Do they seem to have a good understanding of the company and what the job is really about? If they didn’t take the time to do their homework for something as important as their interview, we would question what their work habits might be once they settle in.
  • Do they seem resourceful and able to work independently (but also with other people when needed) to get things done?
  • Do they seem to be self-starters who can keep themselves motivated and going even during slow times … and still able to stay determined and focused during tough times?
  • Do they seem to understand the company culture? Do we think they can fit in and do well in this particular organization?

What about references?

When it comes to the offer discussion, we also take into account what we found out when we checked their references. While some companies nowadays are careful not to tell too much (to avoid potential legal repercussions), often a good reference checker can at least get a feel for the truth. Some things that can make a difference:

  • Did their references back up the skill levels and experiences the candidate claims to have?
  • Did any of their references feel like they were holding something back or seem reluctant to say much of anything?
  • Did the references give us a feeling that the candidate would be good to work with and that we’d actually be happy we hired them?

Some final thoughts

Of course, there are many more things that may come up in the discussions, depending on the company or job. These are just some of the qualities I’ve heard discussed in post-interview meetings that have made a real difference to the hiring decision.

And as I mentioned, even a receptionist telling us that the candidate was rude can leave an impression that will hurt them. It all matters.

So do your best to be pleasant, be yourself, do your research, come prepared with stories that show the match, and answer questions directly with good energy. And remember that in the end, no matter how hard you try or how well you do, it has to be a good fit for BOTH of you.

Good luck!

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