RPO & StaffingTalent Acquisition

On the Minds of Hiring Managers

A new survey outlines key factors that influence the hiring process. Do you agree?

By Steve Wolfe

While technology has transformed how HR sources and reviews candidates, there continues to be certain pillars in the job application process. Hiring managers still want to have a sense of a candidate’s background—their work experience, their schooling, their interpersonal skills.

Resume and online profile information, plus formal interviews remain the greatest indicators of how well a jobseeker will fit into a position. What has changed is what hiring managers look for in the resume and during the interview process. A recent survey from Addison Group sought to determine exactly what hiring managers prioritize when it comes to evaluating a candidate. Some of the most interesting insights include generational preferences among hiring managers.

For hiring managers, work experience is the strongest indicator of whether a candidate is the right fit for a job. It provides a clear indication of whether a candidate can tackle the requirements for an open position, and demonstrates their capabilities and know how. As a result, resume items such as GPA, awards/recognition, and skills have taken a back seat. Interestingly, Millennial hiring managers place a higher importance on GPA and education. Senior managers should advise newer hiring managers to consider the entire scope of experience, not just prioritize achievements during schooling.

While it can be tempting to use flashy language on resumes and profiles, candidates should take heed: Hiring managers don’t care for it. While expert, synergistic, and innovative top the least-liked buzzwords list, this group is constantly being refreshed based on hiring trends. Quick, complete bullets that give a clear indication of the work completed and fit the job description are best. This kind of resume makes the job of evaluating a candidate as quick and easy as possible.

Traditional job application mainstays like the cover letter and thank you notes have become a bit passé, with hiring managers clearly preferring a more streamlined process. In a world where technology enables hiring managers to evaluate candidates on the go, a cover letter is viewed as an unnecessary formality that has been so systemized that rarely does the content add value to the applicant’s overall submission. Additionally, it often just adds time to the candidate evaluation. Only if the candidate has a truly unique story would the cover letter be recommended.

The thank you note also falls into the bucket of unnecessary formalities. While it’s certainly a nice touch point and will always be appreciated, research shows that it’s not a make-or-break item in the interview process. Some things never change in the job application process, and while technology certainly has engendered a more fast-paced and seemingly impersonal candidate evaluation process for hiring managers, at the end of the day, the interview continues to be the most critical piece. It’s the gut-check to a strong resume, and allows a hiring manager to determine if a resume’s appearance holds up. The interview, of course, is also the best indicator for if a candidate is a good cultural fit for a team for a company, and provides a sense of their soft skills, an increasingly important factor in today’s workplace.

A well-tailored resume and a strong interview continue to be the greatest asset for a candidate, and the clearest indication for a hiring manager that the applicant is a fit. And as much a technology continues to change the mediums through which these occur—LinkedIn, Skype, Twitter, Hangouts—it’s the basics that remain critical for hiring managers and candidates alike.

Tags: RPO & Staffing, Talent Acquisition

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