When a candidate walks into a job interview, it’s expected that they will be at least a tad bit nervous. If you are interviewing for a new position and you are excited about the opportunity or feel like you really need the job, an interview can be quite nerve wracking. You spend a lot of time researching and trying to figure out how to present yourself in the best light. You probably plan questions to ask, the impression you want to leave, and what it might take to seal the deal.
What most candidates don’t consider is that the hiring manager is often going through a very similar process and has their own set of fears they are working through. The hiring manager is eager to make a good impression and is under pressure to pick the right candidates. The impact of making the wrong choice has implications in how they are perceived as a manager and carries financial ramifications for the company if they make the wrong choice.
As the job candidate, you have the opportunity to ease the hiring manager’s fears during the interview. This is beneficial to both parties as the interview is sure to go more smoothly when both parties are comfortable. As an added bonus, the hiring manager will remember how you made them feel during the interview, which can be to your advantage when it comes to choosing the right candidates with whom to move forward.
Take note of these five fears a hiring manager experiences during the hiring process and learn how to leverage these fears to improve the quality and even the results of your interview.
Fear #1: Making a Bad Impression in a Competitive Job Market
In today’s job market, qualified candidates are not searching job boards ̶ if they move jobs, it is probably because they are being wooed away by other companies. Contrary to what you might think, there is no class that hiring managers attend on how to make a good impression during the interview process. They are more concerned about the candidate’s ability to do the job and often grill them mercilessly. They later wonder if the candidate didn’t accept the job because they didn’t like them. Help the hiring manager by asking them questions about their management style and what it’s like to work with them. Giving them an opportunity to show you who they are as a manager can pay dividends.
Fear #2: Being Deceived
The second biggest fear is being fooled by a deceptive candidate. Occasionally, a hiring manager may be unsure if the candidate is telling the truth in their interview and are fearful of falling for someone pretending to be qualified for the job. The easiest way to ease this fear is to be your genuine self. Don’t embellish your resume or take credit for things you know someone else did. More importantly, be genuine in your personality. Don’t laugh if the hiring manager tells you something you find offensive, and don’t swear up and down that you are detail oriented if you aren’t. Be honest with your capabilities, what you are looking for in your career, and what it’s like to work with you. While the hiring manager may not know for sure if they are being deceived, you’ll know that you presented yourself authentically. And you’ll have a much stronger start to the relationship when you do get the job.
Fear #3: Making the Wrong Decision
While this isn’t necessarily your problem as the candidate, there’s plenty you can do to help. Why is the hiring manager grilling you on this one item? Are they concerned about one specific personality trait? Chances are this is related to a mistake they made in the past and are determined not to make the same mistake again. Help the hiring manager understand what you are really capable of and what you need to learn. This is more about having compassion for what the hiring manager is going through as they navigate the interview process. Be willing to answer the same question a variety of ways to help them understand who you are. You’ll want to make note of what type of candidate the hiring manger is trying to avoid, and honestly ask yourself if you are that candidate. If you know you aren’t what the hiring manger is looking for, don’t try to hide it. Ultimately, they will see you for who you are and your true skillsets will be apparent. Why set yourself up for failure (and waste each other’s time) if you know you aren’t the right fit? Remember: the hiring process is a two-way street, and the best jobs are those where both sides feel they are in the right place, the right position, and surrounded by the right people.
Fear #4: The Consequences of Making the Wrong Decision
This is essentially an extension of Fear #3, but it certainly deserves its place on this list as a major concern for hiring managers. If you ask, most managers have the story of the “bad hire” they made and the implications it had on the team. As a candidate, you are anxious to land a new job and/or get out of a bad situation, knowing that if you don’t like it you can just look for another job. However, the hiring manager is in a much different position. If they make the wrong hire, it will mean meetings with their boss to discuss why things aren’t working out. There will be autopsies of the autopsies to dissect what went wrong and their ability to select a good candidate will be questioned. They are the ones who will have to write up a bad hire and ultimately terminate them ̶ all while wondering what their team is thinking of them. Or maybe they lose other employees because the new hire is bad for the team. During your interview, keep in mind the stakes for the hiring manager may be much higher than you think.
Fear #5: Missing Key Details
Far too often, too much interview time is spent on connecting and finding common ground. This is a frequent issue that arises when the hiring manager is not trained on interviewing skills and didn’t create an interview outline with a defined set of questions. In these cases, they are usually jumping from meeting to meeting. And they are spread thin due mainly to their being short-handed while they work to fill the position for which you are interviewing. Be prepared to go through your career history quickly and ask questions that help you tie the qualifications listed in the job description to your resume and experience. A little bit of research and persistence on your part will help the hiring manager later when they are wondering if they are missing details of your expertise and background.
Remember, the interview process is nerve wracking for everyone involved. Both sides have a lot at stake when it comes to the final decision. Ultimately, understanding the hiring manager’s perspective and having compassion for their situation can go a long way in making a great impression in the interview.