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How to get a Job Interview from a Hiring Manager's point of view
I'm a software vendor and I have been hiring people for 20 years.
From my way of thinking, most resumes suck. I still see one page
resumes, which generally tell me nothing.
Think about things from my side of the desk for a moment. I want
to hire the best person, who can become immediately productive
for me, who will work well with the others in the office, who
will follow directions and still display initiative.
If you want my attention, don't talk about you, talk about what
you can do for me - by showing me what you have done for others,
by listing all your skills. Sure you know VB, so do 3 million
other people, what have you done with it?
Sure you know Robohelp. At least you know how to spell it. A
laundry list alone will not do me or you any good.
So list your languages, products, etc. - but also give them in
context. Remember, after I narrow the list down to five or six, I
am going to be using that resume as a checkoff list. I just hired
a marketing manager - I got 40+ resumes, including a dozen or so
who thought marketing was sales. I interviewed three people.
One person (not the one I hired) put their picture on their
resume. Why doesn't everyone? Do you realize that when we have 40
resumes, we start to get you confused, even after the interview?
I sometimes do seven to ten first interviews, and the last one
might be 8 or ten days after the first. It becomes a blur. Even
more so when I call in another manager during the interview.
Later discussions go like this: "Which one did you like best?"
"Rebecca" "Was that the one with the five earings or the one with
the tattoos of spider monkeys running up and down her arms?"
"That was the one with the crewcut." "The blue crewcut or the
I know it is difficult to take your attention off yourself in the
interview - but if you do you are more likely to get the job. The
person on the other side of the desk doesn't want to hire a
person who will make them look bad. Do you understand how much I
hate to have to fire people? I generally put it off until it is
absolutely necessary. I told the sales manager today - every
person out there that he hires costs the company 10 thousand
dollars in direct costs, if they don't sell anything and he
eventually fires them or they leave. They also cost double that
in lost sales because they screw up good accounts that a good
salesperson could sell.
The marketing manager I hired went to our website, learned as
much as she could about our business, and even remembered some of
our key customers. She made some suggestions in the interview.
She was working for us before I hired her; I didn't have much
choice but to pick her.
If you have a series of jobs that have lasted 6 to 18 months, my
first assumption is that you lasted just long enough for your
employer to give up on you because you are incompetent or a
borderline case, or you quit the first time you experienced on
the job conflict. You had better explain why you left those jobs,
without my asking, and it better not be 3 versions of 'they took
advantage of me and didn't appreciate me.'
If the job you are going to do for me depends on your skills,
you better list them in context and also in summary. At some
point I am going to be reading that resume mighty fast, along
with 20 others. It's marketing literature.
I see one resume in five that doesn't have at least one typo, or
extreme grammar problem. Read your resume out loud to see how it
sounds. If it jars, you will jar. Read it backwards from the last
sentence to the first sentence to help catch grammar and typos.
Have at least three other people read it without you standing
over them. Tell them there is a hidden typo and you want to see
if they can find it.
(My sister is a marketing manager and she showed me her new
catalog this weekend when I was visiting her and my Dad. I opened
it to a page in the middle and found a typo in five seconds. She
and my Dad (who had also proofread the copy before printing) were
put back a little. I also pointed out that the blurb about her
company's environmentally conscious extraction methods was placed
directly to the right of a picture of a big yellow backhoe
scrunching thru the earth - "that wasn't my part of the catalog,
but I will point it out to them.")
My ad for the marketing manager in the newspaper said "send resume
and writing samples to" and my email address. 2 out of three sent
only the resume. Half of the remaining ASKED me by email if I
wanted writing samples. Then, how many. Some said that they would
bring samples to the interview. What interview? You can't follow
the directions in a three line ad, and you want me to give you an
interview? You have to ask me how many? Surprise me.
(As I remember, the person I hired did not send me a writing
sample until after the resume - but she explained why and sent the
samples on before I had to ask. Since her resume was perfect for
the position, I was very forgiving.)
I wrote half a dozen emails to people who applied with the wrong
credentials, or to offer suggestions for changes to their
resumes. I still have't had time to email about 35 people to say
someone else has the job - I see I need an automated workflow
system for this.
Your resume should look professional - but not austere. One
typeface is plenty. I find italics annoying - and I've seen some
resumes (briefly as they passed on their way sailing into the
trash can) that were written entirely in italics.
It better be on white paper so that when I Xerox it (please no
style nazis, this is something of a rant) it doesn't look stupid.
For each job, starting with the most recent, start and end dates,
where the company was located, and what they do, even if I
should know, and what you did for them, because I might find your
tasks similar to something that I want you to do - that you don't
know about. If there are gaps between employment of more than 90
days, better explain them.
References with actual phone numbers and email addresses are a
good idea. I'll email them so I can get them on the phone.
You want to make my life easy. You want to give me as much
information as I can stand. You want to hook me with something
that you have done, or plan to do.
I want people who are already competent, who invest in their
employment, who plan to grow on the job.
I want people with the ambition to learn more, do more, and
achieve more. I want to be there while they are doing it. I want
it to benefit my company; and I want to reward them for their
My software helps people make elearning now. I need people who
are focused on solving other people's problems, knowing that
their own will be solved in the process.
For no-cost, no obligation information on how we can help save you time and frustration in the recruiting process,
e-mail_Terri@recruit2hire.com with your contact information.
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terri-robinson @ recruit2hire.com
Terri Robinson, President
Phone: (602) 233-8410 Fax: (253) 322-1387
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