GNcareers, from Gulf News

Understand what hiring managers are looking for

Some research and planning can help you come up with a realistic understandingImage Credit: Supplied

As much as job seekers struggle sometimes to find the right employer, hiring managers go to great lengths to ensure that they are picking the right candidate. Their mission isn’t easy because their decision has consequences on work productivity, office morals and goals. In many cases, they even may be held responsible by higher management for their selection.

That is why hiring managers may opt to screen and interview as many candidates as they can before making a decision. Typically their concerns are rooted in matching the right experience and qualification with the job requirements, but they do also look for a person who seems to fit within the team and contribute to the overall success of the organisation.

From a jobseeker’s perspective, this process may seem irrelevant to your efforts, but in reality the more you understand what hiring managers are looking for, the better you will be able to position yourself as the right fit. Of course, there is no way to get all the insider information on a hiring process, but some research and planning can help you come up with a realistic understanding. Here are a few points that you will need to research when you’re applying for a new job.

Team structure

Understanding the team that will likely be your can help you know what hiring managers are looking for. Today’s professional networking sites like LinkedIn can help you see who is on the team, and learn more about the team member’s individual backgrounds, experience and even interests. Although you won’t claim interests or hobbies that you don’t share just to fit in, it is good to bring up common points. In addition, this will give you an idea of the employer’s corporate culture and hiring tendencies.

Don’t read too much, however, into personal aspects such as age, ethnic background, etc. In fact, being different sometimes could be an edge for a hiring manager who is trying to diversity the workforce. Your focus should be more on the professional qualifications, affiliations and past roles.

The more you learn about the team members, the more likely you will be able to see patterns. For example, you may find that some managerial roles require particular certifications, less or more technical background, or a minimum years of past, relevant experience. Or some technical roles are filled with teams that appear to share similarities in terms of education or past work experience.

In addition to looking at the bio or profiles of existing staff, two steps can help you make these determinations. The first step is talking to an insider, if you can get connected with one. Just make sure you’re not getting too close to the hiring manager, so you can actually get an objective view. Second, look at related job posts, if the employer is seeking candidates in other positions that are relevant to your. By doing so, you will be able to place your desired position in the broader context of corporate culture, hierarchy and professional requirements.

Experience and qualifications

Hiring managers seek the most qualified candidates. If you’d like to position yourself as one, make sure you highlight your experience and qualifications that are relevant to this particular job. An easy task is to go through your resume and make sure that the skills required for this particular job are not buried in long paragraphs or a poorly structured cover letter. It may be quicker to resend a cover letter that you sent before to another employer, but doing so puts you at risk of highlighting skills and qualifications that don’t resonate with the hiring manager.

Scan through the job ads and look for keywords that seem critical to the hiring decision, and include these words into your communication. In addition, if you make it to the in-person interview, bring these skills to light — even if you’re not asked.

For example, if the position appears to need a manager who is good at resolving disagreement and managing staff, mention this when you’re asked about what you can bring to the position or about your points of strength. Don’t use the same verbiage from the job ad, however. Make your statements subtle but clear. In fact, you should walk into the job interview with clear messages that you’d like to communicate to the hiring manager about your abilities.

Source: Rania Oteify, Special to Gulf News

The writer, a former Gulf News Business Features Editor, is a Seattle-based editor.