What impresses hiring managers

February 10, 2010 at 2:24 am Leave a comment

Hiring is a subjective practice, sometimes frustratingly so for job seekers. While most hiring managers and recruiters seek to be fair and to make their choices largely based on applicants’ experience, aptitude and demonstrated abilities, at some point in the hiring process they must reach a comfort level with that candidate — which, of course, puts us back squarely in the subjective realm.

Though what impresses one hiring manager may turn off the next,  here are some common responses that hiring managers queried on various career Web sites and in discussion groups (and from my own experience) gave when asked what — beyond skills and experience — makes a job candidate stand out. Happily, many of these are common-sense practices that job hunters can make part of their standard job-hunting routine:

*Showing sincere interest in this particular job and the organization as a whole. While most job applicants obviously profess a desire to work for the company at which they’re applying, experienced hiring managers usually can tell who has a real interest and who is faking it for the purposes of the interview. Be prepared — not only to answer questions about your background and experience. Do plenty of in-depth research on the company and come armed with smart, forward-looking questions that show you not only know what the organization does but are interested in its future plans and initiatives. Candidates who appear to really want to work for a particular company often get extra points from hiring managers who figure they will stick around longer than similarly qualified applicants who may be interested more in getting a job than in this particular organization.

*Following up after an initial contact and after an interview. First, hiring managers are busy and even candidates they like may get lost in the shuffle. Those who are “politely persistent” — you never want to be the dreaded stalker candidate — and stay in touch with hiring managers often are rewarded with interviews and job offers, especially in journalism. Some journalism recruiters use this as a test — if you aren’t interested enough in the job to be persistent about it, what kind of reporter would you make anyway? And after an interview, hiring managers appreciate a thank-you note — it not only displays a candidate’s good manners and professionalism (always important in a workplace) but a dedication to following through on things that are important to them. (These days, email thank-you notes are perfectly acceptable; if you have good handwriting, you can write a note on stationery but that is not expected. A brief thank-you note, ideally, should be written within 24 hours of the interview.)  Following up also shows that a candidate is motivated — and if they are motivated to snare a job, the hiring manager may determine that they are likely to be an energetic employee as well.

*Flexibility. Some hiring managers routinely ask candidates to come in for interviews with only a day or a couple of days’ notice, figuring that if they are really interested in the job and are flexible, they will make time for the interview. Though I don’t necessarily applaud this practice (it’s especially tough on job seekers who are still employed and may have difficulty getting time off right then from work) it does demonstrate to hiring managers whether someone will be able to move quickly. Another way that hiring managers often gauge flexibility is to discuss several potential jobs with a candidate and see how they respond and whether they are open to various types of responsibilities. Again, it’s tough to fake this and if you tend not to be a very flexible person, you might prepare carefully so that you don’t come across as rigid or inflexible, especially in an interview situation.

*Appearing to be a good fit with the organization’s corporate culture. This last one bedevils many a job seeker — how can one know the particular ins and outs of a corporate culture without an insider’s guide? And while it may be difficult to know all about the culture, you can at least do some research into the company’s history, mission and goals — which go a long way toward accounting for its cultural norms. The best way to take the cultural temperature of a company or group is to ask a lot of people about it: former and current employees are a great place to start, but customers (for journalism organizations, that would include subscribers and advertisers) and vendors often have a good sense of how a company works as well. These are the type of questions you want to get answered: What are the common traits of people who succeed here? What is the typical career path here? What values and skills are most prized? What’s not really important here? What are unforgivable errors or mistakes? Who gets heard and why? How are decisions made here — and who really makes them? These type of questions should help you learn what’s important in the organization, and they can help arm you with some good responses when an interviewer is trying to judge your “fit” with the culture.

*As always, some job leads to check out:

*The IRS has a (well-paying) opening in D.C. for a public affairs specialist:

Treasury, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) – Washington, DC
aspects of the communications program. Competencies: Communications and Media: Knowledge of the production, communication and dissemination of… $105,211 – $136,771 a year
From usajobs.com

*For those fluent in both Spanish and English, IQ Solutions in Rockville is looking for a health communications associate:
IQ Solutions, Inc. – Rockville, MD
variety of health communication products, including… Demonstrates a broad understanding of all communications areas and expertise in at least one area (e.g…
From LatPro

*POLITICO has several openings in its Arlington newsroom (w/a hat tip is to journalismjobs.com for this listing, and those that follow). First, they are seeking a senior policy editor:

Company: POLITICO.com
Senior Policy Editor
Arlington, Virginia
Job Status: Full-time
Salary: Not Specified
Ad Expires:
March 16, 2010
Job ID: 1148501

Senior policy editor. Available: 02/08/2010. Department: POLITICO. Contact: employment@politico.com.

Description : We are seeking an experienced editor for a new leadership position at POLITICO. All candidates need substantial experience editing politics, policy and/or business coverage.

Qualifications: Candidates must have demonstrated ability to edit thoroughly, accurately and quickly under deadline pressure. The ideal candidate has an entrepreneurial streak and strong leadership skills. He or she must have the potential to manage staff and thrive in a start-up culture.

Please send a cover letter, resume and contact information for three references to employment@politico.com, using the subject line “Senior policy editor.”

No phone calls, please.

*Also, POLITICO is looking for reporters to join its politics team in its Arlington newsroom:

Company: POLITICO.com
Arlington, Virginia
Job Status: Full-time
Salary: Not Specified
Ad Expires:
March 15, 2010
Job ID: 1148169

POLITICO is seeking reporters to join our politics team. The ideal candidates will have deep familiarity with the national political landscape, a sophisticated grasp of the mechanics of campaigns, elections and polling and, above all, a passion for politics. These positions are for hard-working reporters who have experience covering campaigns for state or federal office.


Experience in political journalism at the professional level; established ability to write clearly and accurately on deadline; proven ability to break news and handle a demanding, fast-moving reporting job.

Please send a brief cover letter, resume, clips and contact information for three references to employment@politico.com, subject line “Political reporter.”

No phone calls please.

*Sea Technology magazine in Arlington is looking for an assistant editor:

Company: Sea Technology magazine
Ocean Tech Magazine Seeking Assistant Editor
Arlington, Virginia
Job Status: Full-time
Salary: Not Specified
Ad Expires:
March 11, 2010
Job ID: 1147494

Sea Technology magazine, a privately owned ocean technology monthly based in Rosslyn, VA, is seeking an assistant editor.

The assistant is responsible for all aspects of editorial content, including strategic planning and communicating with authors. Duties include editing and formatting contributed feature articles and news releases, performing layout and fact-checking tasks, compiling a biweekly newsletter, and occasionally developing and writing feature articles, reports and editorials. The assistant editor also represents the magazine at meetings with the industry, scientific community and government.

Applicant must have a bachelor’s degree in a related field, and strong copy editing, research and writing talent is required. The applicant must possess the ability to handle multiple projects, meet deadlines and communicate well and should be a quick learner with a solid basis in AP style rules and a willingness to adapt to house style.

Editing and writing experience is required, preferably working or interning for a monthly trade or newsstand magazine. Experience in the ocean sciences/engineering fields is a plus.

Solid knowledge of computer word processing, desktop publishing with QuarkXpress and graphic software is also required. Familiarity with a Mac operating system preferred.

Please e-mail a cover letter, resume and one or two clips to editorial@sea-technology.com. A salary requirement is required.

No phone calls, please.

Visit http://www.sea-technology.com for more information.

*And last but not least, FierceMarkets in D.C. is seeking a managing editor:

Company: FierceMarkets
Managing Editor for Growing Media Company
Washington, District of Columbia
Job Status: Full-time
Salary: $45,000 to $50,000
Ad Expires:
March 16, 2010
Job ID: 1148468

FierceMarkets, a leader in B2B e-media, helps business marketers reach targeted decision-makers through our portfolio of email newsletters, websites, webinars, and live events focusing on the telecom, life sciences, healthcare, IT, and finance industries.

Every business day, our brands reach more than 900,000 registered newsletter subscribers and thousands of additional web visitors in over 120 countries.

Industry executives, and other leading buyers and decision-makers, rely on us for high-quality, time-saving information services that help them stay connected and get ahead in their industries.

Our editorial team has been nominated for several industry awards. Our features are routinely used in executive presentations at major conferences and events.

Overview + Be the name and face of FierceIPTV and a key contributor for FierceTelecom + Manage the day-to-day editorial operations and activities for the Wireline and Cable Group + Play a key role in maximizing KPIs for all Wireline and Cable Group pubs – delivery times, web traffic, openers, etc.

Primary Responsibilities 1. Editorial Operations Manage all editorial operations for the Wireline and Cable Group (and help oversee other groups) 2. Writing, Original Features, & Special Content Production Contribute original editorial features and special web features to drive page views and reader engagement. 3. Editorial Leadership & Management Act as right-hand person of the Publisher in managing overall editorial for the group.

This is your opportunity to join a winning team that is well-respected by the top executives in its space.

Send resumes to Group Publisher, Jason Nelson – jason@fiercemarkets.com or apply online.

Happy hunting on yet another snowy day!



Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Trying to find a job in D.C. (or another city) when you live elsewhere Considering an association job

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