Hiring Managers Share The Moment They Knew the Applicant Would Get the Job

When you interview for a job, you hope the hiring manager is considering all aspects of what you can offer the company. But sometimes, it all comes down to one answer to a question or one key aspect of your history. Hiring managers share the moment they knew the applicant would get the job.

getting a job

"Have you thought of using social media?"

The hiring manager was looking for someone to help an 88-year-old man write his memoirs for his family. The project was planned in a more traditional book format. When the hiring manager presented the idea, the applicant responded: “Have you ever thought of using social media to get the word out to the family quicker? Why not a closed Facebook page? Instead of waiting for the entire book to be published, you could put out a chapter at a time where the family could immediately read it, ask questions and give feedback.”

The candidate’s suggestion worked well for the project. The man’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren were much more likely to read content on social media than in a three-ring binder.

‘This person picked up right away on the age of the people in the family and what that would mean for the project,” says K.J. Proctor, executive headhunter with John H. Proctor & Associates. “The candidate’s suggestions saved money and enhanced getting the materials to the audience. That put this person light years ahead of the next candidate. I want to know the person is buying into the company. This is the kind of person you want on your team.”

The takeaway: While using social media may have nothing to do with the job you’ve applied for, the hiring manager may discuss an issue or problem relevant to the job. Instead of saying, ‘That sounds like a really good project. I think I could bring something to it,” make suggestions during the interview. Present your ideas as if you already have the job. You may get it.

I played baseball for Harvard"

The tall, lanky kid didn’t appear to be a good fit for the opening in sales. He was so green that one of his future coworkers worried that the rest of the sales team would eat him alive. He got the job because he pitched for Harvard’s baseball team. That gave him common ground with the hiring manager, who had played semipro baseball. They didn’t talk much about the job, focusing instead on the discipline of playing sports. They talked about building a team, teamwork and the ethics of playing baseball.

Based on their sports talk, the hiring manager knew the former pitcher would work well. He put the word out to the team to watch out for this guy. The new salesman became one of the best on the team and is a multimillionaire now.

The takeaway: You might not have played baseball for Harvard. But don’t be afraid to mention or include on your resume other areas or interests—other sports, chess, dancing, music—where you have learned skills that might apply to the job. You might find surprising common ground with the hiring manager that translates into a job.

I can start right away

The hiring manager had a meeting that night and needed help. He knew it was a long shot that the college student sitting in front of him would be free, but he asked: ‘Are you available tonight?’ ‘I can start right away,’ the college student responded. The college kid got the summer job.

Although the hiring manager didn’t want to hire just anyone for this job, the student had already demonstrated applicable book knowledge and experience. The willingness to start work immediately was icing on the cake.

The good decision became clear as the new hire pitched in to do a variety of tasks both within and outside of the job description.

The takeaway: You might not be able to start full time right away. If you have a job, you still have a commitment to your current employer. But you might be able to work a few hours a day at the new office as you finish your notice. Showing a can-do attitude and a willingness to help proves you’re a valuable team player.

I trained other employees on this software

When the hiring manager told the applicant about the accounting software she planned to buy next quarter, the applicant’s face lit up. ‘I trained other employees on this software.’

That was one less thing for the manager to worry about—this person could hit the ground running in her office. The applicant was already a frontrunner for the job, and the relevant experience sealed the deal.

The takeaway: Be sure to list all the software, technology and other tools you know how to use on your resume and don’t hesitate to bring that experience up in the interview. You could have exactly what the hiring manager wants.

This one sent a thank-you note

More than 200 people applied for the job. Ten got telephone interviews. Six got in-person interviews. Four got second interviews. Only one sent a thank you note to all involved. He got the job.

The takeaway: it doesn’t matter what kind of job you applied for, send a thank you.

Getting it right and getting the job

Be ready to share, briefly, a variety of professional and personal experiences. and tie them to the job you’re looking for. If the interviewer encourages you to elaborate, then share more information and link that experience to the position you want. It could lead to the moment you’re waiting for—a job offer.

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