Perhaps the most intimidating thing about searching for a new job is understanding what qualities hiring managers are looking for in potential employees. Fortunately, there are certain candidate qualities all hiring managers look for, regardless of the industry.
Someone who is hands on. When interviewing, you can demonstrate this quality by walking your interviewer through a project you’ve worked on while highlighting your individual contributions and accomplishments. Make sure you are emphasizing what tasks you have done (using the pronoun “I”) rather than just what the overall team accomplished (using the pronoun “We”).
Strategic thinkers. Show your interviewer your logic and intuitiveness. If applicable to the position, prepare a 90 day plan that details your “plan of attack” for your first few months at the company.
Someone who is comfortable speaking and addressing people. Virtually every position you could hold involves some degree of communication. Whether it’s speaking with customers, coworkers, or clients, hiring managers are looking for employees who can keep a conversation moving smoothly. This can be demonstrated in the interview itself by not fidgeting and having answers prepared beforehand.
Leadership ability. Even if the position you are applying for doesn’t entail overseeing the duties of others, natural leadership qualities are something that all hiring managers look for. This includes accepting responsibility and volunteering for projects, even if they aren’t the most desirable.
Likeability. While most hiring managers might not admit that this contributes heavily to their hiring decision, your degree of likeability and friendliness is impossible to ignore, and may be one of the first things they notice during the interview. Managers will not hire people who won’t easily assimilate into the work environment and get along with the other employees.
Courage. This doesn’t mean that hiring managers are going to hire the candidate with the most Purple Hearts. Interviewers are looking for candidates who are willing to take risks and accept challenges, even in the face of adversity. Until you are offered the position, it may be hard to demonstrate this, but asking direct and frank questions about the company during the interview will go a long way.
Possessing the “And then Some” characteristic. This means you have a history of going above and beyond the call of duty. You can set this initial impression by just simply being prepared for the interview. You can also share previous examples where you have taken initiative and accepted additional responsibilities without being asked.
The qualities listed above are attributes all hiring managers are looking for in candidates. Your ability to demonstrate them before, during, and immediately following an interview will directly affect your hiring manager’s decision. Communicating and demonstrating your best qualities will go far in landing you that dream job.
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