Top 5 Things Hiring Managers Look For In A Job Interview

Do you apply for jobs that you’re ideally qualified for yet keep getting rejected? Instead of letting frustration get the best of you, here are the key things employers look for that will set you apart from the competition.
Top 5 Things Hiring Managers Look For In A Job Interview

With new unemployment claims still high according to data released by the Department of Labor, it is undeniably a tough job market. But there are still professional opportunities out there. For example, information technology is one area that is seeing strong demand. And as companies rush to adapt to a tight IT job market, they’re doing everything possible to attract top talent. But what really makes the difference between many equally competent candidates? Here are the top five things hiring managers look for in a job interview that will set you apart from the competition.


While skills and experience are essential, hiring managers also look for passion. Some would even say that passion is the most important credential when looking for a job. For one thing, skills can be taught. Passion can’t. Bring your whole self to the job interview. Make it clear how excited and enthusiastic you are about the opportunity. You never want hiring managers to doubt your genuine interest in the role. Passion can also be translated into an eagerness to advance. “We have found that employees with career drive and an eager attitude to take on new projects often succeed in their roles and help improve processes of their department,” says Sacha Ferrandi, Founder and Director of HR of Source Capital Funding, Inc.


To create and maintain a strong corporate culture, hiring managers want to ensure that new hires will fit into that culture. Organizations committed to hiring based on fit tend to define the company’s cultural values and use them to inform the interview process. Ideally, hiring managers use an objective assessment to identify people likely to be a good fit. Hiring for fit is especially important in smaller organizations. For example, at software company Officevibe, they have their core values printed out on cards. Then one of their interview questions consists of asking the candidate to order the cards in terms of what they think is the most critical value and then explain their answer. Ultimately, it’s not about how similar you are to the interviewer. It’s about having a unique perspective that enhances the team in the long run.


Hiring managers look for candidates who have taken the time to do their homework. In fact, 88% of hiring managers say that an informed candidate is the top quality they want when interviewing, according to a survey from Glassdoor. Lori Goler, Facebook’s vice president of people, suggests that potential interviewees learn about Facebook’s company culture and do their research before the job interview. That means taking the time to thoroughly read up on the business for up-to-date insight into its priorities. Show that you understand what the company stands for. Look for connections you have with current employees so you can talk to people on the inside. Remember that every conversation you have is essentially an interview. Then find out who you will be interviewing with and investigate their background. Prepare questions that are specific to each interviewer. And if you can find a personal connection, even better.


The world of work is fast-paced, especially during these hectic times. With more employees than ever working remotely with little to no supervision, resourcefulness is an important quality. You need to be able to figure things out on your own. In many cases, there aren’t set procedures or processes in place. That means it’s up to you, the employee, to take the initiative. If you don’t know the answer, figure out how to get it. Or if you have a problem, know how to solve it. 

Willingness to learn

Hiring managers are looking for candidates that can hit the ground running. So, the capacity to learn is crucial. And learning doesn’t stop with the company itself. If you have a client-facing role, you will need to learn about your customers and their pain points. Recruiters will consider hiring a candidate that lacks industry knowledge as long as they show that they can quickly grasp new concepts. According to research conducted by global staffing firm Robert Half, 84% of HR managers reported that their company is open to hiring an employee whose skills can be developed through training. Even more impressive, 62% of employees surveyed said they were offered a job even though their skills didn’t match the exact job qualifications. To demonstrate your willingness to learn, embrace emerging technology, ask intelligent questions in the job interview and highlight your commitment to career growth.

We’ve all been there. You apply for jobs that you believe you’re ideally qualified for, and you keep getting rejected. Instead of letting frustration get the best of you, think about how you can improve your approach. By focusing on these five key areas, you’ll be much more likely to ace that next job interview.

Are you feeling stuck and unfulfilled in your career?  Download my free guide: 5 Signs It’s Time to Make a Bold Career Change!

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