How Hiring Managers Decide on a Shortlist

4 min read
Hiring Managers choose the top choice as signified by a hand pointing at a computer screen

As you may know, after the interviews are done, the hiring manager will eventually come up with a short list of “qualified candidates” for the vacant spot. You may be included in the list as it goes down to twenty, ten, five until it all goes down to the ultimate “job candidate”—the one that will be hired. But of course, before you get hired, you may need to compete with another who’s also vying for the post.

Finally, before you win this competition and emerge as the “single best”, you must wait until the job is offered to one candidate. More likely, hiring managers the choice will come down to the salary negotiation stage.

The Hiring Managers’ Criteria for Selecting the Top Choice

So how do hiring managers choose between two “qualified” candidates? Use these tips to your advantage when you are faced with this kind of situation.

1. Years of Related Experience

Hiring managers will likely compare two candidates base on your number of years working in the industry. Most likely, if you have a broader related experience, you get the “plus points.”

So, as an applicant, you need to show the hiring managers that you have significant years in the industry. How will you effectively show this? By mentioning some field-related terms or phrases and talking about the projects that you successfully handled during the interview. Give the hiring managers a hint that “Hey, this guy’s experience is great. Maybe I should consider him.”

Now, in case you don’t have anything to show-off a hiring manager because you’re a career-changer or has just graduated, place emphasis on your skills and experience in similar fields. For instance, you can emphasize the volunteer activities that you handled before that is correlated to the position you are applying for.

2. History of Promotion at Past Companies

Aside from the experience, hiring managers compare your rate of promotion for both candidates. Do you have a steadier rate of promotion? Do you have the tendency to get demoted? How long does it take you to get promoted to a certain level?

For you to be the better applicant, best to back your claims for promotion through supporting documents (that can be contained in your portfolio). Now if you’re just starting out in the industry, better equip yourself with proof of achievements and commendable accomplishments that you did in your previous companies. Have you received the “employee of the month” award? Get proof that you had one and place it in your portfolio so hiring managers could see it as well.

3. Performance Evaluation Scores

Hiring managers also refer to your previous performance evaluation scores. These scores are requested by the hiring manager to see who between you and the other applicant does have a more positive recommendation or review from their previous companies.

Now, make sure that you have a copy of your performance evaluations from your past employers.

4. The Strength of References’ Recommendations

So after considering all of these items, a hiring manager will also check the impression that you were able to make to others. This is accomplished through reference checking. Hiring managers compare how positive your previous boss’ words about you with that of your competitor.

This is one part that you can control as an applicant. Make sure to choose the references that you’re going to include in your proposal. If you can, send them your resume so they’ll be abreast with your career. Also, it is relevant to keep your bridges in good shape. Conflicts between you and your boss must be settled before you leave, otherwise, you’ll receive a bad reference from them. As you know, bad references from former employers can hurt your chances of being employed.

5. Skillset Match

It is also important to note that hiring managers also evaluate you based on skills and how your skills “fit” into the needs of a position.

As an applicant, make sure that before you apply for a position, you have equipped yourself with the much-needed skills in the field. This is highly recommended for applicants who are changing careers and may lack the specific skills for the job. By taking up short courses and certifications, you can prepare and equip yourself with the skills and proficiencies needed in your target position.

6. Work Style and Ethics

Your behavior also plays a crucial role in the selection process. Since hiring managers will work with one of these individuals, they need to gauge how these candidates can relate with their colleagues. Of course, it’s a no brainer that the hiring manager will pick job candidates who can get along with other employees.

7. Salary Expectation

Hiring managers are very meticulous about salary expectations. If your salary expectation falls beyond the “realistic range,” most likely you’re not going to get the job. However, if you ask for a lower salary that is not aligned with your qualifications, you’ll appear questionable.

Ask Hiring Managers: What Happens When There’s a Tie?

Now, what happens when it’s still a tie? Well, hiring managers can’t possibly hire the three of you (or even both of you) unless there’s enough vacancy for all. With that, the “subjective issues” would be considered. Common tie-breakers are the candidate’s personality match and the desire to work for the company. After all, passion and character make any workplace a more bearable area to work for and be productive with.

Diane Williams has 15 years of experience mentoring human resource professionals and recruitment agency personnel.

Photo by Alejandro Luengo on Unsplash

Related Articles:
Every Joe’s Checklist for the First 100 Days of a New Job
6 Elements that Make the Best Career Change Resume