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Five Questions for a Hiring Manager
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A feature speaking to hiring managers and recruiters. Have a question you would like them to address? Email us


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Kevin Hook, former president of Lighthouse Media

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, June 2, 2020

What type of jobs are you interviewing candidates for?

Over the years, I've hired people for key department head positions to entry level sales reps. Due to the nature of my position over the years, I hired more sales people than any other.

Is a résumé important when you are making hiring decisions?

Sure, a résumé is an important part of the process, but it's not the end all be all in my opinion. The résumé allows me to take a glance at a candidate and what they have been doing over a certain period of time. In a world as small as the media industry, it allows me to see if our paths have crossed somewhere along the way, and if so, it allows to perhaps make a phone call or two to people we have in common other than the standard references that candidates provide.

When was the last time anyone contacted a reference and got a bad recommendation on the candidate.? The answer to that is never. There's a reason why they were listed as a reference.

A résumé also provides an employment timeline which I find valuable. I like to see how long candidates have been at previous jobs. Short stints at multiple locations raise a red flag in my eyes. Is this a sign of a restless employee? In sales that can be troublesome. You'll find salespeople that start a job, pick the low hanging fruit and move on as they cycle around against their own numbers. Conversely, a candidate that has only had one or two long term positions

can lead me to wonder why. Don't get me wrong, everyone wants a committed employee, but not one that grows complacent, and is afraid or perhaps unwilling to step outside of their comfort zone. Perspective is important, and a candidate that has worked at the same place for a long time lacks that, and often struggles to do things a different way. Good interview questions can often find the answers to those questions.

What things will turn you off from inviting a candidate to an in-person interview?

If you can't follow directions, it's likely you won't be invited to an interview with me. Usually, I'll ask something specific in the employment ad, and ask that it be included in the cover letter. If they miss that, they're out. Candidates that call me to get an update, aren't improving their chances, especially if it's inside of a timeframe to respond.

For example, if in the ad it states to please allow 2-3 weeks to respond, and you call me two days in, I likely will put your résumé on the bottom of the pile with a note on the top. I'll tolerate a timely email, but phone calls are a big turn-off.

What three things are most important during an interview?

1) Timeliness - Be on time, but don't show up too early. It makes me feel rushed. Taking a walk in the area of the office is a good way for a candidate to get familiar with their location, and perhaps might provide some good conversation.


2) Your demeanor with the people greeting you is important. If I wasn't able to observe it myself, I often will ask the receptionist what was the candidate like when they came in the door? How did they speak, and were the friendly and polite.

3) Eye contact is a big thing with me. If you can't look me in the eye when you speak to me, it makes me wonder. Is it lack of confidence? Lack of interest? Good eye contact must be present in order for us to connect, and we much connect in order for me to hire you.

What should a potential candidate know about interviewing?

Being qualified is only one aspect of getting hired.

The candidate must be a good fit not only for the position but for the office environment that exists. Be honest, and be yourself. If I hire someone that ends up being someone different then who I thought I was interviewing it won't work in the long run.

People that work together spend a lot of time together, therefore it's important that the relationship works, and everyone is comfortable. Just like in real life situations, if we aren't honest when starting a relationship, it's likely to be strained and breakdown later in the process.

Lastly, do your research and know something about the company you are interviewing with, and be prepared to ask questions - after all, you should be interviewing me too.


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Karen Betram, Non-Profit Director of Quality, Compliance and Accrediation at Community Housing Network, Troy, MI.

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 27, 2020

What types of jobs are you interviewing candidates for?

I hire nonprofit administrative staff currently but I have hired Directors and Program Directors, master’s level social workers.

Is a resume important when you are making hiring decisions?

A quality resume is critical because there are so many applicants for jobs, the resume is my first elimination round in hiring.

What things in a resume will turn you off from inviting a candidate to
an in-person interview?

Spelling and grammar errors obviously, but fussy formatting and irrelevant information—I don’t have time for that. With 20 or 30 resumes on my desk for one job, I’m not weeding through pages of job or education history that doesn’t apply to us.

I am more likely to reach out to someone who has demonstrated that they want THIS job, not just any job.

What 3 things are most important for an “in person” interview?

First, it is important that they demonstrate a good understanding of the requirements of the position and they have both the experience and the skills that match our needs. Secondly, it is important that they appear to be a good “fit” for our culture and mission. Third, communication skills are very important, it is critical that they are able to understand and respond appropriately to my questions.

What would you want your potential candidate to know about interviewing?

Be prepared, do your homework, know about the place you are applying. And it might seem basic, but dress appropriately and be on time. I don’t care if you have to sit in the parking lot for 30 minutes before our appointment so you aren’t late.

And it’s really crucial for a candidate to have questions for me. I want to know that the job is important enough for them to want to know about us. They should be a partner in the interview process so that I know they will be a good partner to our organization.

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