• Jack Sharp

3 things hiring a manager won’t tell you

Regardless of how many questions you ask, there are certain things a hiring manager won’t tell you. Whether it’s for your own good or for theirs is still up for debate. But here’s the thing: it’s not as deceitful as it might seem.

Recruitment is a competitive industry, both for the recruiter and the interviewer. Keeping cards close to the chest, then, is just a part of the job. This applies to you, too.

But it might be helpful to know what hiring managers really think. Here’s what they won’t tell you.

1.    ‘I’m going to make this a little difficult for you’

Job interviews can be testing, and hiring managers will ask questions that make you uncomfortable, but they might not tell you why. Interviews are meant to test a candidate’s ability. It’s not just about getting to know one another, it’s about understanding a candidate’s ability to deal with pressure, handle tricky situations and communicate effectively.

You should expect off-piste interview questions, like how many passengers are on the 8.52 train to London Euston. Of course, you aren’t expected to know the answer. You are, however, expected to explain your thought process. Our advice: take a moment, think it through and lay out your process step-by-step. Just remember, it’s rush hour on that train.

2.    ‘I’m not prepared for this interview’

Unlike you, hiring managers will often work on-the-fly. They have multiple interviews a day. Sure, they might have a few unique questions lined up, but don’t be baffled if a recruiter doesn’t remember your birthday. It’s not personal.

The best part is, because hiring managers – although equipped with experience – are often under prepared, you can put yourself in the driving seat and take control. That is assuming you’ve done your homework, too.

3.    ‘You’re not my first pick for this role’

In some circumstances, a recruiter might let you know that another candidate has dropped out, thus making you second best. Although this is rare, don’t be disheartened. This could have been the case without you knowing.

A recruiter will likely meet with multiple people for a role, and what your position is in their mind should be irrelevant. Besides, if you nail a job interview but a recruiter opts for someone else, who’s to say they won’t get back in touch when another role comes up?

Here’s what you can do

Without sounding too obvious, study up on the company beforehand. Do you know their competitors? Good. Understand their numbers? Great. Reached out to an employee and built a connection? Even better. The idea isn’t to look like yet another job hunter, but to add value to the role and the company you’re wanting to join. This means showing active demonstrations.

Perhaps there’s a campaign that didn’t do as well as it should have. Why don’t you suggest what you’d have done if you were hired to make sure those mistakes were avoided? The point is: be assertive and be specific. A hiring manager wants to see your value, show it to them.