A Guide to Acing Your Hiring Manager Interview

by Victoria Mckee

One of the essential parts of the hiring process is the interview itself. As you search for a job and go through the steps, you’re probably wishing you had insight on the answers hiring managers want (and what they raise their eyebrows on).

Sure, it’s challenging knowing precisely what hiring managers look for in interviews, as it all depends on the position you’re applying for, specific skills needed, and the interviewer himself. That’s why it’s best to prepare ahead and know how to answer typical hiring manager questions and to understand what actual hiring managers have to say about nailing interviews.

This article will answer the question, “what do hiring managers look for?” and tips to exceed expectations during the following hiring manager interview.

What Do Hiring Managers Look for During Interviews?

What Do Hiring Managers Look for During Interviews?

When going through the hiring manager interview, the goal is to hold your interviewer’s positive attention and, obviously, to get the job. To do that, start by understanding what will intrigue the hiring manager in a good way.

Here are a few of the things hiring managers to look for when interviewing job applicants:

Culture Fit

Hiring managers assess if you’re well-suited for the company’s culture. One of the ways they’ll form opinions is through learning if you have worked in similar work environments before. They may also assess your overall core values and demeanor throughout the interview.

Ways To Impress a Hiring Manager During an Interview

Managerial Fit

Since different supervisors have varying management styles, hiring managers will evaluate how you like being managed and whether it aligns with your potential supervisor’s management style.

Core Skills 

Hiring managers will delve deeper into your core skills to see if you have the qualifications for the specific job position.

Your Attitude and Understanding

Hiring managers will evaluate if you have thoroughly reviewed the job description and understand the specific position. They will also see if you are genuinely excited and passionate about the position itself, as well as the opportunity to work with the company.


How to Nail Your Hiring Manager Interview

Once you’re a bit aware of what hiring managers look for in interviews, the next thing to know is how you can impress them during the actual interviews. Here are ways to prepare and what to do when you’re being interviewed:

Understand the Culture 

Before the interview, conduct research about the company to further understand its mission and values and how it set itself apart from competitors in the industry. Candidates interviewing with specific organizations should align with a particular work culture to be a great match.

But do remember that when you discuss how you fit with the company, you should also share how you stand out and add more fresh ideas to the table. Not only should you fit in the work culture, but you should also make the company stronger by diversifying the workforce.

How to Nail Your Hiring Manager Interview

Research, Research, Research! 

Most candidates would research the company only but set themselves apart from the rest by learning more about the person interviewing them. Try to understand the interviewer’s background and the behaviors that may garner his positive attention.

You can most likely find the interviewer’s name on professional networking websites, like LinkedIn. From here, you can read his biography and overall background, and maybe a few personal connections. That way, you can prepare questions specific to the interviewer, like his specialty, shared interests, or details on the organization.

Demonstrate Relevant Experience 

The best way to let interviewers know you’re the perfect fit for the job is to show them that you have the experience and skills that align with the job requirements.

Do this by discussing specific accomplishments and experiences you have achieved in the past, whether from your school or previous jobs. 

Show Enthusiasm 

A hiring manager won’t find you a good fit if you sound dull and bored. Make your enthusiasm clear to the interviewer and have him know that you’re excited even to receive the opportunity to work with the company.

You should emphasize that enthusiasm during the interview and in the cover letter and follow-up letter.

Let the Interviewer Know You’re Easy to Work With 

Since hiring managers assess whether or not you’re an excellent fit for your potential supervisor, let them know that you are easy to work with, regardless of the managerial style.

Demonstrate it by showing the interviewer you are a good listener. Make eye contact, ask thoughtful questions, and give great answers. Also, let the interviewer know you love to learn new skills and appreciate receiving constructive feedback.

You can also ask the interviewer about the supervisor’s managerial style and let them know that you work well with such.

Be Accurate With Why You Want the Position 

When you research the company, you need to know more about the mission, products, services, key competitors, and target audience. Look for things you can use during the interview which show you are genuinely interested in the company and job opportunity.

This is a fantastic opportunity to show that you are aware of the role you want. It would be best to familiarize yourself with the job description, discussing more what the job entails and explaining why you’re a great match.

While you want to share more about why you’re fit for the job, don’t go overboard. Always tell the truth with whatever question a hiring manager asks, and do not overshare. Give the hiring manager genuine answers because it’s evident if you’re lying and oversharing is too over-the-top, which may leave you with more questions you don’t have to answer. Be brief, truthful, and let him know everything he needs to learn about you.

Ask Insightful Questions 

Usually, at the end of the interview, hiring managers ask if you have any questions. Rather than saying no, prepare high-value questions to show that you listened to the interviewer and that you’re thinking about the things that matter most.

One outstanding question would be, “what does success seem in this particular job position?”

This brings us to make sure that you are fully present throughout the interview. Don’t pull out your phone to check messages or appear distracted in front of the hiring manager. Keep your phone away from you and on silent, unless there’s an emergency you need to attend to.

Just like arriving late to an interview, looking distracted and bored does not make a good look. 

Talk to Employees from the Company Before the Interview 

Before the interview, ask any family, friends, or acquaintances if they have worked at the company you’re applying for or if they know anyone who does. Once you know someone, ask if they are open to an informational interview to learn more about the company before the formal interview.

Doing this can help you with the interview and know more about what to expect. 

Showing Up for the Interview 

Prepare for the interview by dressing for the company. Learn about the organization’s dress code and fit with the culture, rather than underdress or overdress.

For instance, you wouldn’t want to wear highly professional business suits when everyone wears shirts and jeans every day. Smart casual is the wisest option if you don’t know what to wear.

Besides that, make sure you show up 15 minutes before your interview. Don’t be too early or late, and never rush to an interview looking stressed and sweaty. There aren’t any excuses to make up for it, whether it’s your alarm or traffic.

I also recommend bringing a copy of your resume and portfolio if the hiring manager asks for it.

Pay Attention and Show It! 

After the interview, thank the hiring manager for sharing information on the company, job position, and what it’s like working there. Let him know that you believe your past experience aligns with what they want and need and that you have the specific skills.

This response shows you are professional and paid attention throughout the interview.

Relax and Be Yourself 

A the end of the day, the goal of the interview is for a hiring manager to learn more about who you are beyond the cover letter, resume, or social media. Think of this interview as a networking opportunity, where you can market all of your best experiences, skills, and qualities, and not a rigorous interrogation.

Just relax and be yourself when sharing your relevant experiences, work-related interests, and the things you love about your career and the industry.


Sample Interview Questions for Hiring Managers

Hiring managers will find out more about who you are and if you’re a good fit with the company through various questions. Please don’t feel intimidated and clam up when asked these questions; think of it as a conversation where you get to show your true and beautiful colors!

To prevent going blank during an interview, here are a few common hiring manager questions to prepare answers for. While the questions would vary and may be more industry-specific, depending on the job you’re applying for, these questions can help you create appropriate and genuine answers that get the interviewer’s positive attention.

Questions About the Company and Position 

Hiring managers already possess your resume and cover letter, so presume that he’s already checked our social media accounts, too. But the goal of the entire interview is for the hiring manager to identify whether you’re a good fit in the company and job position.

Most likely, all the job applicants have relevant experience and seem to be strong candidates on paper. So, during the interview, the hiring manager will ask questions to connect the dots with your resume. You have the chance to explain and be more specific on the contents of your resume with questions like:

  • Why do you want to work with the company?
  • What do you know about the company?
  • Why are you interested in the job position?
  • Why do you believe you are a good fit for the company and job position?


Questions About Your Experience 

Your resume explains your relevant career experience already. Since your interviewer already holds a list of your past jobs and skills, the questions, the questions he’ll ask delve deeper about what you put in your resume, so you have the chance to be more specific.

Don’t reiterate the information from your resume but use the questions as an opportunity to share how your past experience can help the company. Here are the questions to prepare for:

  • What did you like or dislike about your previous jobs?
  • Tell me more about your overall work experience.
  • How come you left your last job?


Questions About Your Personal Characteristics 

These are tough questions to answer during job interviews since people aren’t usually comfortable talking about themselves. However, interviewers gain valuable insight from such questions and learn if you stand out among the rest.

Here are some questions to prepare for:

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • How do you handle work-related stress?
  • How do you communicate with team members?

When answering these questions, provide real-life examples of times you overcame work obstacles, created effective company solutions, and other relevant situations that impress your interviewer.


Questions About Your Personal Goals 

Hiring managers may ask questions such as:

  • Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years?
  • What are your hobbies outside work?
  • Why did you choose this particular career path?
  • Why should the company hire you?

These are very valuable questions interviewers ask because they want to see if your personal goals align with its mission and vision. This is just as important as your core skills since they can be taught.

When answering these questions, take care to explain your immediate ambitions and how the job will align with any long-term goals you have. Be honest here and give a clear vision of your career path and how the company can fit into the plans.


Wrapping It Up

Hopefully, you gained a lot of insight regarding what to expect in a hiring manager interview. Use what you learned to your advantage so you can ace the following interview and land your dream job. Good luck!

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