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Five Ways to Make a Hiring Manager's Day
Posted By: Eddie Francis on November 17, 2015

During a recent podcast interview ( I asked a job recruitment colleague what kind of candidate makes her day. She talked about rooting for candidates who are articulate and can clearly define why they want the job but one part of her answer stood out to me. She said, "It has to be someone who has a little bit of passion." That made me wonder what kinds of candidates most likely stand out to other recruiters but, more importantly, hiring managers.

As a recruiter, I can tell you that we and hiring managers remember great candidates. The skills and experience listed on your resume are normally what motivate hiring managers to pick up the phone. Once they get you on the phone, these people expect something about you to stand out. Yes, you really can have a hiring manager at "Hello."

There are five things that you, the job seeker, can do to make a hiring manager's day:

1. Answer the phone with a smile.
Customer service professionals are taught to smile while talking on the phone. Practicing answering the phone with a smile will train your voice to sound pleasant and engaging even when you may not feel that way.

You may ask, "What if I'm not expecting a phone call, Eddie?"

WHAT??? If your resume is out there and you believe you have the goods, then be ready for a phone call. I can tell you from experience that the best phone calls come at the most unexpected times. What is off-putting is having to navigate someone's curmudgeonly attitude because he or she wasn't "expecting a call that day."

2. Be ready to make your pitch.
Can you articulate, on the spot and within 45 seconds, why you applied for a certain job? I hope so because that's what hiring managers like to hear. In the podcast, my colleague mentioned being impressed by candidates who have more to say than, "I need a job." Even if honesty is the best policy, hiring managers want to know is why you applied for THIS job. Think of it as a chance to articulate your personal brand. This is where you can market your talent, experience, and intentions in a neat package.

3. Be mindful of the hiring manager's time.
I love communication but don't over communicate. Hiring managers have a lot to do so they like to keep conversations as short as 10 minutes. Don't rush your answers, either. Let the hiring manager guide the conversation. If she wants to spend more time with you, she will let you know.

4. Show character.
I talk to people who have issues all the time whether there are gaps in their resumes or they appear to be job hoppers. Be prepared to show some measure of accountability for a work history that may produce questions. This is not the time to make promises that you probably can't keep or play the blame game. The hiring manager will remember how you framed the part you played in your job history being what it is.

5. Have an attitude of gratitude.
Few things are more disappointing than talking to a job seeker who is actually annoyed that a recruiter or hiring manager is calling about an opportunity (normally because this person doesn't like the position, pay or company). This is where you practice the words, "Thanks for thinking of me but I am happy with my current situation." It also goes a long way when a candidate expresses gratitude for past opportunities, even the bad ones. I've had crappy job experiences like most people but I learned to make it a point to let hiring managers know that I was grateful to even have those opportunities. Make that hiring manager remember you for having a healthy perspective on life.
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