Let’s take a moment to recognize how much time and effort a Hiring Manager puts into filling an open position. From the moment the position is posted, up to calling the candidate to congratulate them on being hired, filling just one job may take a large portion of a Hiring Manager’s time for weeks on end.
Not surprisingly, Hiring Managers tend to create their own process for each new hire. This extends from how they receive applications to how they handle interviews. Whatever that Hiring Manager’s process, they have found these “rules” work best and they aren’t going to be shy about sharing them with candidates. So, while the person who originally said “rules were meant to be broken” may have made a killing of T-shirt licensing, they probably weren’t very good at their job search. Here are three areas where following basic instructions will put you ahead of other job applicants:
Apply as the Job Ad Instructs
We understand the temptation to stand out from the crowd by delivering your application in person, or calling the Hiring Manager to make sure they received your application. It’s good to connect on a human-level, and it’s not a bad idea to try this later in the application process. However, Hiring Managers will give specific instructions on how to apply to a job in their job ad. If they are instructing you to apply online or to send your CV through something called the “mail,” that is how you should apply. Doing otherwise makes it look like you can’t follow simple directions, meaning that you’ll stand out, but not in a good way.
Be Clear On What is Expected of You in the Interview
A Google search will give you roughly 1.4 billion articles, blog posts, and other assorted items related to a job interview, and while you will read a lot about prepping, communicating, and following up after your job interview, one item that rarely gets discussed is the importance of triple-checking any interview related instructions you are given. This is because different Hiring Managers will have different expectations for what candidates need to bring for their interview. For example, some may only request a copy of your resume (always bring at least three copies of everything just to be safe), while others may need you to bring writing/design samples, endorsements, or even government ID that will be needed to enter the building. Everything you need should be outlined in the email inviting you to interview. If you feel that things are not clear or, you lack information, don’t hesitate to reach out to the appropriate contact. Hiring Managers like proactive and detailed candidates, so getting clarification on a vague request will make a good impression
Be Aware Of Post-Interview Instructions
To quote Tom Petty, “waiting is the hardest part. Depending on the type of job they’re trying to fill, Hiring Managers may decide who they want to hire a few minutes after they finish their interviews, or wait a few weeks until they get final approval. Typically you are going to want to wait two weeks before following up with the Hiring Manager, but listen closely or ask for more detailed instructions on when and how to follow up if you don’t hear back. If asked not to contact the Hiring Manager until a certain date, or to inquire through email, it’s best to follow instructions. If not, it will likely reflect poorly upon your candidacy, and possibly lose you the job opportunity.