Of all business activities, the most subjective is the hiring process. The hard truth: Human bias and gut feel are intricate parts of the hiring process, and therefore, there’s no universal hiring methodology.
Ultimately the hiring process is an emotional process from both sides of the desk. What may be a deal-breaker with one interviewer would be shrugged off by another interviewer; such is the hiring process, such is life.
Do you like pizza? If yes, what toppings? When it comes to movies, are you into westerns, sci-fi, romances, action, thrillers? Do you find Seth Rogen funny? Dog, cat, or fish as a pet? Milk or cream in your coffee?
Your infinite combination of preferences is your own. Apply this human truth to hiring managers and will understand why the hiring process is fraught with human biases.
Every job seeker asks: What are employers looking for?
The answer: There’s no coalition of “employers.” Employers are individual HR managers, C-suite Executives, department managers, business owners, recruiters, with personal, specific pain points, coupled with their respective human bias looking for employees to solve their problems.
My advice: Don’t overstress your résumé format, clothes, LinkedIn profile, mannerisms. While these do have importance, their importance varies wildly from employer to employer, from industry to industry, from region to region—from interviewer to interviewer.
Well-meaning career coaches tell job seekers the formula for successful job searching is A + B + C = “You’re hired!” If at the core of every hiring decision is “gut feel,” how can there be a formula?
On both sides of the hiring desk, everything goes into “the mix” — past hiring mistakes, biases, commonalities. If you want to increase your job search success exponentially, stop chasing the wrong jobs and employers! Think: I’m not looking for a job; I’m looking for my tribe.
Look for employers who get you. Look for like-minded people. Look for where you feel comfortable. Look for employers you identify with and like to be proud to be associated with. I know, easier said than done, but well worth the effort.
Yes, there are fundamental principles to searching for a job, such as your résumé being typo-free, not chewing gum when interviewing. However, “principles” are elastic.
- I hired someone who was over 20 minutes late for their scheduled interview.
- I’ve hired candidates who asked, within 5 minutes of starting the interview, “What does this job pay?”
- I’ve hired candidates who were unemployed for more than nine months.
- I’ve lost count of how many candidates over 50 I’ve hired.
Everyone I ever hired came down to my being able to relate to their story.
Chances are you have a friend whom your other friends can’t understand why you’re friends with. Either you relate to some part of their story, share a commonality or in some way serve each other’s best interest. Whatever the reason, there’s a connection between you and your unpopular (misunderstood) friend. A similar scenario plays out every day throughout the corporate world. An employer’s employees don’t have to be perfect as long as they achieve the results their position requires.
As a job seeker, your primary goal is to connect with people who can assist in your job search, a topic I’ll cover in a later column. This explains why networking is the most efficient way to find a job. Networking lengthens the connection building runway, making you familiar. Therefore, when you participate in the hiring process, you have a much stronger connection than most of your competition will have.
You may recall in last week’s column I mentioned this week’s column would offer good news. After reading this, I hope you embrace that all you can do is your best and be more of yourself.
Stop trying to contort yourself into what you’re told employers are looking for. Keep top of mind that every job search journey is unique. Focus on the hiring manager’s pain and how you’d solve the problems the position you applied to exists to solve. Seek companies where you’d most likely fit in. During interviews, focus on making a connection with your interviewer. The positive shift in your job search results will astonish you.