Hiring Managers & Recruiters Weigh-In for 2020

by Don Sjoerdsma | Career Advice Expert

When you create your resume, you should consider your audience.

Your resume will be read by hiring managers and recruiters who stand between you and your next job. It's important to know what makes them tick.

We poured over surveys and research papers to put together a by-the-numbers guide on hiring managers and recruiters that offers help in getting that interview. This is what we found.

If you want to impress the hiring manager, improve your interpersonal skills.

Hiring managers and HR professionals are selecting candidates for their emotional intelligence (EI) rather than IQ:


Improve Interpersonal skills

Source: CareerBuilder

In the interview, hiring managers want to hear how you've managed conflict and learned from mistakes.

Managing conflict (69%) and learning from mistakes (68%) were most valued by hiring managers as very important qualities to highlight during your interview, followed by your answer to the following questions:


Mobile Improve2

Source: netQuote

They will ask you about your greatest strengths.

These are the top five things they want to hear about:


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Source: netQuote

And when you're waiting for the call back after an interview, keep in mind the modes of communication are changing.

Recruiters are increasingly likely to text candidates rather than email or call.


Two-thirds (64%) of workers who received a text message from a recruiter after an interview said they preferred this communication over email or phone call.

Source: Jobvite

The majority of texts (95%) are read within the first three minutes of receipt and are responded to in an average of 90 seconds.

Source: Jobvite

Other things never change: Personal connections are still the No. 1 source for getting an interview.

Recruiters are most likely to find people through:


Mobile Improve6

Source: SHRM

Recruiters are increasingly likely to search for
candidates on the internet

Here's where recruiters say they get the best response rate:

  • Linked Image



  • Indeed Image



  • Envelop Image


    Email blast to candidates in database

Source: Top Echelon

but not for executive candidates.

They're most likely to be found via:


Mobile Improve7

Source: SHRM

Ever wonder what gets on a recruiter's nerves?

Top complaints recruiters receive from employers:


Mobile Improve8

Source: Top Echelon

Top complaints recruiters receive from candidates:


Mobile Improve9

Source: Top Echelon

Ultimately, recruiters say their biggest challenge is simply finding enough good candidates.

Companies may be losing out on great candidates because they're taking too long to make decisions.

Hiring managers are taking an average of 33 days between the interview and a job offer – an 84 percent increase from 2010 to 2018. Meanwhile, candidates are dropping off: There's been a 16 percent decrease in candidates accepting offers.

The stats above help you get an interview by appealing to your primary audience: recruiters and hiring managers.

You may be more successful by:

  • Enhancing your emotional intelligence (EQ). Highlight your EQ by mentioning soft skills (e.g., communication, collaboration) in your resume and cover letter.
  • Preparing answers for common job interview questions. Knowing that interviewers want to hear how you've managed conflict, solved problems and learned from your mistakes, write down workplace stories that illustrate each point.
  • Updating your LinkedIn profile, which remains a popular candidate pool for recruiters. Make sure your profile complements your resume and cover letter. All application documents should work in concert, not conflict, with each other.

In the end, better understanding what hiring managers and recruiters are looking for can help you get an interview . If you're serious about your search, consider reading the other articles in our 2020 employment stats series, including:

About the Author

Don Sjoerdsma

About the Author

Don Sjoerdsma

Career Advice Expert

Don is a writer, researcher and content strategist with a proven track record in building cross-platform content plans in diverse sectors. He has written extensively on topics related to careers and employment, including interviewing, resumes, cover letters and the job search. His work has appeared on Oprah.com, The Huffington Post, Yahoo! and LiveCareer. He holds an M.S. in Journalism from Northwestern University, where he specialized in media innovation.

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