Two Traits Hiring Managers Look For During Interviews

Hiring managers look for similar things when interviewing candidates. However, there are some traits they look for and they don’t even realize it themselves. Job seekers need to understand this in order to interview well and be seen in the best light.


Hiring Managers are Only Human

A company’s hiring manager is often quite skilled in the recruitment process. However, at the end of the day, they are only human like the rest of us. This means that they are prone to making snap judgements and assumptions.

Interviewers usually start the conversation by getting to know you and then assume they have you all figured out. Most people call this their gut feeling. One psychological study has shown that this feeling comes down to these two things:

  • Warmth: Do I even like you?
  • Competence: Are you any good at what you do?


Four Categories

Hiring managers are no exception to this line of thinking. In fact, the study says that they box people into these 4 categories:

  1. Warm and Competent
  2. Warm and Incompetent
  3. Cold and Competent
  4. Cold and Incompetent


Warm and Competent

In order to get the job, you should try and fall into the warm and competent category. Hiring managers will see you as pleasant and think you’d be great to work with.

Warmth and competence judgments are not conclusive evaluations but simply one’s perceptions. We can’t change everything about our personality and who we are; however, we can influence how others perceive us.


How to Get the Job

Job seekers can get hired by appearing warm and competent. They can do this by focusing on using specifics, practicing self-awareness and taking a step-by-step approach.

In order to use specifics, you’ll want to bring your examples and stories to life using details. You’ll be seen as more conversational and less boring.

Try to have self-awareness about yourself and exemplify that you know you’re human and not perfect. Don’t get so salesy about yourself that the hiring managers sees you as one with an inflated ego. Remember you want to be warm and likeable.

A step-by-step approach will give someone a clearer picture of what you’re trying to explain during an interview. Don’t gloss over details but rather share them to exemplify your competence and knowledge.

Focus on being warm and competent. You’ll seem more real, engaging and likeable which will help as they consider your application.


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Written for us by our associate Gary Sorrell, Sorrell Associates, LLC.

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