The Top 3 Things Hiring Managers Look For During A Job Interview

Young businesswoman conducting job interview or talking to business partner


In a job interview, the hiring manager is doing more than just listening to your direct answers to their questions. They are looking for a few key things they won’t be asking you directly. These are the questions that hiring managers won’t ask outright, but they’ll be listening for answers to throughout the interview.

Will you be a good fit for the company culture?

Talent and skill alone are no longer the sole criteria by which a candidate is evaluated. A candidate who is exceptionally talented and otherwise skilled might not be the right fit for the company culture. The hiring manager is looking for someone who will not only be a good fit as part of the team, but for the company itself.

The best way to demonstrate this by simply being yourself in the interview. If you’re putting on a different persona and trying to present yourself in a way that you think would please the hiring manager, you’re being inauthentic. Think of it this way – you don’t want to have to put on that same persona every time you go to work, because over time that will only result in you becoming unhappy and dissatisfied.

What soft skills do you possess?

Soft skills are incredibly valuable in today’s job market. Technical skills can be learned, whereas soft skills are more intrinsic and therefore harder to teach. The hiring manager will be evaluating your soft skills throughout the entire interview, and not just by listening to your answers. They’ll be paying close attention to your body language, mannerisms, and overall disposition throughout the interview.

According to LinkedIn, the top in-demand soft skills are time management, adaptability, collaboration, persuasion, and creativity. Not listed but equally important are empathy and integrity, two skills that cannot be taught. Demonstrate these skills by incorporating them into your answers as often as possible. Speak about your soft skills by explaining how they’ve helped you succeed in your job, or how they played a part in your achievements.

Are you willing to learn?

With the workplace changing at an increasingly rapid pace, being both willing and able to learn is another very in-demand skill. A willingness to learn is beneficial to both you and your future employer. Learning and developing will ensure that you are continuously challenged at work and your job doesn’t feel stagnant. From the employer side, it ensures that their workforce stays current and competitive.  

You can demonstrate your willingness to learn by speaking directly to it. You don’t want to outright say that you’re willing to learn, but rather incorporate times you’ve used learning a tool to help you improve. Mention a time that you took it upon yourself to learn a new skill that helped you achieve a goal. Talk about how you enjoy being challenged. Work it into an answer where you’ve been asked to talk about a great achievement.

Remember, the hiring manager won’t be asking these questions directly, so it’s up to you to find ways to address them as you answer other questions.

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