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4 Ways to Impress a Hiring Manager

Abraham Mendieta | May 23, 2023

The 4 Best Ways to Impress a Hiring Manager

Landing a job offer has become even trickier the last few years. The economy is in flux, budgets are tightening and a historically large pool of applicants are vying for increasingly scarce opportunities. For job seekers, it’s getting harder and harder to just stand out, let alone get the gig.

Sound relatable? Don’t get discouraged — get ahead of the competition by impressing the hiring manager.

Hiring managers, as their title implies, play a pivotal role in determining who gets the job. If a hiring manager is not the primary decision maker, they’re likely the most influential. Leaving a positive impression with this person is the first step toward getting that coveted offer.

To help you put your best foot forward, we’ve assembled the four most reliable ways to impress a hiring manager — and land your dream job. Let’s dig in.

1. Make your first impression your best impression

Will Rogers said it best: “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” And for job seekers, the first impression could be the last. To avoid this fate, optimize your initial interaction with the hiring manager by:

  • Dressing the part. Your appearance reflects who you are and how you present yourself, and it’s the first thing people notice when they see you in person. In most cases, it’s better to overdress than to underdress, but this could depend on the nature of the role.
  • Showing up early (but not too early). Being late to your interview spells trouble. Ensure you arrive on time by leaving a little early. But don’t show up too early! The hiring manager’s time is as valuable as yours, and arriving an hour or even 30 minutes before the interview could send the wrong message.
  • Staying calm, cool and collected. When it comes to first impressions, the little things matter more than you’d think. Engage with everyone you meet in a respectful and engaging way by making your handshake firm, maintaining solid eye contact and disarming them with the occasional smile. And of course, be sure to bring your resume with you and be ready to give your elevator pitch.

2. Emphasize your growth potential

Worried you’re underqualified? Don’t be. In a survey by Robert Half, 84% of HR managers reported being open to hiring an employee whose skills can be developed through training.

So even if you don’t check every box, showing off your growth potential can help you land the gig. Come armed with answers pertaining to your goals and strengths and examples of past development, and you’ll be golden.

3. Be efficient with your time

In most cases, you’ll have an hour or less to make your mark — so time is of the essence. Don’t ask the hiring manager about salary, vacation time or anything else that doesn’t pertain to the position directly; save those questions for your recruiter. Even the basics about your experience can be saved for your resume and LinkedIn profile.

Instead, use your valuable face time with the hiring manager to articulate precisely how your skills and background translate to the role, and provide examples that back up your claims. In other words, don’t just tell — show.

And if things don’t go exactly as planned in the interview itself, you still have an ace in your hand: the follow-up. Because nothing says, “I’m the candidate you’re looking for” more than a sincerely written thank-you letter, which you can (and should) send via email, or even as a handwritten note, after your interview with the hiring manager.

4. Ask informed questions

Nothing’s more off-putting to a hiring manager than a lack of preparation. But candidates who ask well-researched questions and demonstrate their passion for the role have a significant leg up. Nearly 9 in 10 decision makers agree an informed candidate is a quality candidate, according to a Glassdoor survey.

Ask about the company’s core values, a recent acquisition it made or even a blog you read on its website (though probably not this particular blog). Hiring managers will take note, and your effort and attention to detail could be what ultimately get you the job.

Looking for a change in your career? Apply to Paycom today.

About the author
Author picture, Abraham Mendieta
Abraham Mendieta
As an employer brand marketer, Abraham Mendieta helps the recruiting teams engage top talent and increase brand awareness. Mendieta is a proud graduate of the University of Oklahoma, where he earned degrees in both sociology and advertising. His efforts on Paycom’s employer brand team include company culture; careers; and diversity, equity and inclusion. Outside work, Abraham enjoys reading, going to the gym, spending time outdoors and hanging out with his family and friends.