Insider Interview Tips from Vancouver Hiring Managers

What do hiring managers look for during the interview?

 This past week, I had the pleasure of hosting an Interview Skills workshop for women with along with a few other professional colleagues. During the event, Rachel Maxcy conducted a hiring manager panel where we got to hear interview insights from a few talented hiring managers including Bosky Mukherjee, Melanie Ewan, and Dube Toich. Here are a few key take-aways from the event.

  1. Back up your answers with data and evidence. It’s not enough to say that you can do something – think about stories of what you have done in the past that can demonstrate your point.

  2. Show adaptability and resourcefulness. Especially in start-ups, it’s critical to be self-managed and take initiative. Your manager doesn’t want you coming to them to ask about something that you could have googled on your own.

  3. The job description is a wish list. If you don’t match everything in the posting, you can still apply. The hiring manager is looking for a person who will fit into the team/role, not a perfect match to their job posting qualifications.

  4. Know yourself well. Be clear about what your strengths and weaknesses are. Hiring managers are looking for someone who can fit into their team. By being upfront, you and the hiring manager can determine if this role is the right fit.

  5. Talk about your motivation. One of the most critical discussions in your interview is about why you are interested in the position and the company.

  6. Show that you are committed to personal development. Are you someone who is always progressing, learning, and growing? This is very attractive to employers.

  7. Provide complete answers to technical questions. Be ready to talk about how you can apply theoretical concepts to the work or tweak models or frameworks.

  8. Show up as a real person. Hiring managers appreciate vulnerability and honesty. Be yourself.

  9. Failure isn’t bad. If you are asked about something that did not go well, the hiring manager isn’t so concerned about the failure itself, but rather how you got through. What did you learn? How have you moved forward?

  10. Demonstrate teamwork skills: Working as part of a team is critical in most companies. In your answers, be sure to focus on how you collaborate or communicate with others.

An additional tip that came from the session was on how to answer the question, “What are your weaknesses?” If struggling to come up with an answer, think about one of your strengths. Your weakness can often be your strength, just on a bad day. For example, you might normally be a straightforward communicator. But on a bad day, you might find yourself being blunt.

Lastly, know that many interview opportunities in Vancouver come through networking so never under-estimate the importance of developing connections. 

Kristin Vandegriend is the founder of Career Story where she has helped hundreds of her clients successfully transition to work they love. She supports her clients to uncover their strengths and communicate to get what they want in the workplace.