Top 3 Things Hiring Managers Want to Know About You

February 4, 2020

What if you could read a hiring manager’s mind? Wouldn’t that be an amazing skill to have as an ambitious professional looking to grow your career? 

Today’s article will help you do just that!

Having been a hiring manager myself for over 15 years, I can provide you with many insights into the manager’s mind and how you can use this to your advantage in any job interview situation. 

In my experience, the best employees are ones that have attributes that I like to think in terms of a special three-part combination.

Here’s my easy to remember formula:

E + A²= High Performer

E = Experience

A = Aptitude

A = Attitude

The professional that combines all three of these has a much higher chance of being that highly desired and highly valued High Performer. 

When you’re able to showcase this formula through the interview process, you’ll not only skyrocket your chances of getting hired but also of commanding a higher salary and compensation package. 

Let’s delve into those 3 specific things hiring managers are looking for and want to see if you possess when they are interviewing you.


1- Experience

It might seem obvious but I’ve noticed that many job seekers believe that experience is all a manager and interviewer is going to be focussed on and that’s definitely not the case.

Experience is important, especially for mid-level and senior roles or roles where a manager wants to hire someone who can hit the ground running with very little training. 

On its own,  experience isn’t what gets you hired most. It certainly doesn’t make anyone a high performer.

Experience simply gets you checkmarks from that list of items the hiring manager is looking for. You either have them or you don’t. 

If you have less checkmarks in this area but you score high on the A² i.e. the Aptitude and Attitude line, you significantly increase your chances of getting that coveted role. 

2- Aptitude

The standard definition of Aptitude is this:

“A natural ability to do something” 

As a hiring manager, I tend to think of it as this:

Does this candidate have the natural ability, skills and talents to do this job, to learn new things and excel in this role?

This is not something that you fully control. It speaks to the innate skills and talents that we’re naturally born with. 

We can grow our talents through our efforts but in some cases, we will either have it or not.

It’s important in an interview situation to be very clear on what aptitudes are best for the role and which ones you possess.

Your job then is to make sure you find ways of highlighting this in your interview stories. 

Some hiring managers are just not good at probing for this and it behooves you to counter it by being prepared to showcase how your own personal talents are a great fit for the role.

3- Attitude

This may be the most important element of all. 

Any experienced manager will tell you:

“You can train for experience or to build knowledge, but you can’t train for a poor attitude”.

I once had to fire someone after only 5 weeks on the job. 

The # 1 reason was attitude. 

It wasn’t evident through the interviewing process but unfortunately, this new hire had a terrible attitude almost from day 1 on the job. 

He could clearly do the job I hired him for. Definitely had the experience for it. But ultimately, he didn’t seem to want to do the job. 

Within 3 weeks, this became very clear and there’s just no amount of coaching and training that will fix that. 

This is a manager’s worst nightmare!

Which is why they will definitely try to figure out your attitude and disposition through the interview process. 

As part of this, they will also try to determine if you’re potentially a great fit within their existing team. No one wants to hire a “bad apple” or someone that will create drama and reduce a team’s effectiveness. 

How do you know if you have the right attitude? 

It’s something that can be very hard to evaluate within yourself. 

No one wants to see themselves as having a bad attitude! 

There are many shades or degrees of it and it might be helpful to ask yourself a few questions:  

  • Do I bring my best self to work most of the time? 
  • Do I bring a positive attitude to my work and with my coworkers most days? 
  • Do I feel good about my work and contribution? 

If you answer no to any of these, you might have some work to do in this area. 

Attitude is what is reflected outside of us but it’s of course based on what is going on inside of us. 

It comes from what’s going on in our brain. 

It all stems from our thoughts. 

If you have unchecked negative thought patterns about your job, your role, your boss, your coworkers, it can all create a less than stellar attitude and it’s something to work on if you want to grow your career. 

How does this translate in an interview situation? 

Hiring managers will be closely looking for clues into a candidate’s attitude. 

From how questions are answered, from the words used to your body language and everything in between, they will be on the lookout for any red flags that could point to an issue in this area. 

The best way to present yourself as someone with a great attitude is to have done your work. 

Work on your brain. 

On what’s going on when you’re not feeling positive about any career related situation or issues. 

This is where a coach or a mentor can be invaluable in providing you not only with the tools you need to create an amazing attitude but also for deep insights into what’s going on under the hood, in your brain that’s creating potential friction, dissatisfaction or unease with your work and career. 

What's next?

If you’re serious about growing your career and you’re not getting the traction you want, then we need to chat!