Make my job as a Hiring Manager easier. Please.

Note that I’m not speaking for my company or my organization. This is merely what makes my own life as a Hiring Manager easier. 🙂

I reviewed about 40 CVs in about an hour this morning. Here’s what helps/hinders optimizing my time with each CV in that 90-ish seconds:

Spell check. Seriously. It’s 2014. And while you’re at it, check your tenses. If I have to make a herculean effort to decipher what you’re trying to say in something as important as your CV, then what might your daily communication require?

Mismatched Objective. If you must have an objective, make sure you understand the role you’re applying for & update your CV accordingly. It’s typically one of the first sections of the doc, so make it worth the reviewer’s time. You applied for a hands-on engineering role, but your objective says you want to manage an Advertising team? My first reaction is that you’re using my role as a foot in the door & don’t have any particular allegiance to the work my team does. Or that you didn’t take enough care to update an older version of your CV. Either way, it doesn’t bode too well.

You’re an expert? There are very few people in the world who are experts at any given thing. I happen to be lucky enough to work with some of them (and know a few others). Do some research before you sell your level of expertise. Same goes for listing skills on your resume that you have very little familiarity with. I’d much rather see a one-liner in a cover letter telling me that you don’t know particular skills listed in my job description, but that you’re a quick learner & will do your damnedest to be successful.

What have you actually delivered? This is particularly important for more experienced candidates (which I happen to be searching for ATM). It’s cool that you supported a large-scale heterogenous enterprise environment, but what did you actually deliver? What impact did you personally have on your team, organization and company? Give me metrics! Specifics! Deliverables that you yourself were instrumental in! Then please be prepared to talk about it in phone screens and on-site interviews.

Keep it brief. I tried to review a 4-page CV. I made it through half of the first page before I gave up. I would have kept going, had the content “grabbed” me enough to make me think the best was yet to come. Keep it succinct- it’s one of the traits I cherish most in my team members. And with an average human attention span of 8 seconds (give or take), it’s a pretty critical one to have.

Applying to everything. It’s okay if you apply to a few roles that have similar requirements and responsibilities. But applying for project manager, people manager, sales, software development and SRE roles all at once? That makes me think there’s a lack of direction, commitment to my role, self awareness and/or focus. Pretty difficult for me to decipher whether you’re a good cultural fit for my team- whether you’re invested in the work. The exception being, of course, junior candidates fresh out of college who just don’t know. We can match those skills to the right role.

These are some of the more important ‘soft’ points that will at least make my life as a hiring manager easier. The rest (technical acumen, personality, delivery) is [mostly] up to you. Good luck!

ps- I’m hiring.


3 thoughts on “Make my job as a Hiring Manager easier. Please.

  1. re: listing skills:

    Headhunters/recruiters often request/require this, so they can quickly search for all candidates matching a particular term. I don’t like it, but sometimes adding something you’ve had limited experience with to your skill list is the difference between getting onto the HM’s desk or not.

    1. True story, and I don’t like it either. 😉 Honestly, padding a resume is a waste of most interviewers’ time- unless they’re really ‘into’ mentoring and teaching. It might get the applicant through phone screens and maybe even in the door for an on-site interview, and the interviewee might actually learn something from the experience. So it’s not a complete loss. But it is a very big bummer (and a potentially expensive one) to find out that someone has bluffed their way into taking up an entire “man day” of engineering time. Most of us would love to have the time to build and cultivate those mentor/mentee relationships with possible candidates, and “mold” them into the ideal new-hire. But if we had that luxury, we probably wouldn’t have a need to hire someone in the first place. 😛

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