Hiring Managers Reveal What’s Important & What’s Not in the Job Search: Employment Gaps, Interview Prep, Thank You Notes
- On November 9, 2018
I like this recent article summarizing what 800 hiring managers care and don’t care about:
- How long a gap can you have on your resume? The legal industry says 16 months, which seems about right in my experience. Generally speaking, an acceptable amount of time off depends on how the economy is doing and what kind of candidates the managers can get. If the economy is hot and managers can’t land their top pick, they are more willing to consider candidates who took some time off for a good reason. Conversely, in a downturn and/or glut of candidates, managers get pickier.
- Do interviewers know anything about you before the interview? It turns out only 60% of the time do interviewers review your resume before you come in. So make sure you practice presenting your profile and skills in a lively way and under 60 seconds. That way when you go in, you can start strong. A good summary of yourself will help the interviewer.
- What are the most important interview questions? Managers care most about how you handle conflict, what you learned from a mistake, why you left a job, and what are your strengths. The answers managers most appreciate in response to the question about your strengths are: problem-solving, communicating, and time management. And the top 3 strengths for the legal industry are: creativity (my interpretation of this is being able to solve your client’s problems/not being the department of no), determination, and multi-tasking.
- At the end of the interview, the most important thing to do is to ask questions (so said 67% of managers surveyed).
- After the interview, do you follow up/send thank you notes? 44% of managers think you should generally follow up. (My caveat: if you are working with a recruiter, the hiring manager usually expects the recruiter to follow up on behalf of the candidate. If you do it directly too often, I’ve seen hiring managers get annoyed.) Whether to send a thank you note gets a mixed response: 39% say it is NOT important to follow up with a handwritten note, but 17% thought it was very important. My experience is the vast majority do not require any kind of thank you note (hand-written or emailed), but a couple (very polite) managers think it is important. If you do write a thank you note, make sure there are no errors and contains some substance.