I’m a Hiring Manager — 5 Cold Hard Truths About the Job Search I Didn’t Learn Until I Got This Job

Serious woman on laptop


Profile Picture
April 19, 2024 at 10:55PM UTC
If you feel the job search is shrouded in mystery, you're not alone. 
In fact, we spoke to several hiring managers who had major revelations about the process after seeing it from the other side. They shared the job search truths they learned with us below, along with some insights into how to navigate these cold hard facts: 

1. Most job postings don't make it to the general public. 

"Like everyone else, I had read that most jobs weren't posted, but I didn't realize how pervasive it was until I became a hiring manager. I have learned that surgical style networking is the key to any successful job search. Positions are often only posted to satisfy hiring policies. Often, the hiring manager is only going through the motions to make things look competitive but already has a candidate in mind. Job seekers need to hone their elevator speeches and network consistently with people at companies you want to work for. Employers should commit to diversity and inclusion by opening up the hiring process to panels and blind screening of resumes." — Jacquelyn Lloyd, HR Consultant

2. Your job search results aren't always about you. 

"The main thing I've learned is it's not always about you!  So many times someone gets hired because of experience that does or doesn't already exist in the organization, how many people already work there from your prior employer, the timing of your application, what pressure your boss might be getting from their boss about cost cutting, the hiring manager's ability to move an application forward in the organization, or a lot of other things that have nothing to do with your personal or professional qualities. So, don't take it personally. Keep trying with different orgs and the stars will align for you eventually!" — Meghan Titzer, Director, Product Development

3. Referrals are key — and that can hurt some applicants. 

"What has been confirmed for me since becoming a hiring manager is how important referrals are, and how they can exclude minorities. Unfortunately, referrals are often preferred and usually result in a more homogeneous workplace."  — Maree Frakes, Program Management Director

4. The candidate's personal impression of a company really matters. 

"The interview process should be a two-way street.  Not only is the candidate interviewed, but so is the company.  The alignment of the organization’s culture and the candidate’s values is critical.  When it is, you can move mountains and make a great impact.  When it isn’t, progress is slow and most days feel like you’re working in molasses. I explained my company’s culture with the candidate to be sure we fit together like peanut butter and jelly.  It makes life easier on both sides." — Melissa McCormick, Owner of MX3 Business Solutions

5. Having the 'right' answer really isn't as important to the hiring team as having an authentic answer. 

"As a hiring manager, it's important for me to feel as though I could get stuck with a 6 hour layover after a day of traveling with the person on my team and still get along. I believe this translates to all levels of the organization. When people are too robotic with all of the "right answers," it doesn't seem genuine and I can't tell beyond the resume if this person would be appropriate for the role. So my advice is to continue to do your homework and prep for the interview and job itself, but also be yourself and let your true colors show." — Michelle Hinsvark, Head of Marketing, International Business Development and Licensing

Why women love us:

  • Daily articles on career topics
  • Jobs at companies dedicated to hiring more women
  • Advice and support from an authentic community
  • Events that help you level up in your career
  • Free membership, always