Did you know that subjective traits play a critical role in the evaluation of your candidacy and the determination of the recruiter to hire or not hire you? Wouldn’t it then be to your benefit to know exactly which traits are the most important to recruiters when making a hiring decision? Of course it would! I’m going to share with you the eight traits that recruiters said play a determining factor in their decision to hire, how they tie into your success as a candidate, and what you can do about them.
The 8 Subjective Traits Recruiters Use to Decide Whether to Hire You
Only 1% of recruiters reported a connection like same hometown or same college as a factor in their hiring decision. While those common connections may be meaningful to a select few recruiters, they’re not likely to weigh heavily on a decision.
Nineteen percent of recruiters reported that a candidate’s portfolio of work would positively impact their decision to hire during an in-person interview. While quality and examples of work are important when making a decision to hire, six other traits were determined to be more important during the interview.
So here’s a funny scenario: 22% of recruiters stated timeliness (punctuality) would play a factor in their decision to hire. However, earlier during the survey 58% of recruiters said being late to an interview is an immediate deal breaker. So, while being late could definitely be a deal breaker, being early or on time only positively affects a hiring decision 22% of the time.
APPEARANCE / PERSONAL STYLE
Twenty-five percent of recruiters said that your appearance and personal style during an in-person interview would positively affect their hiring decision. What is also important to note: certain types of recruiters put more weight on this. Older recruiters (those over 50) put much more weight on appearance, personal style, and grooming. Millennial recruiters were less concerned about appearance and more interested in conversational style and enthusiasm. Gender also plays a role in this trait/bias. Men pay twice as much attention to appearance and personal style as women. It’s important to note if you’re interviewing with an older male recruiter your appearance will play a vital role in the hiring decision. Whether you agree with it or not, this is what the data find. The survey found that women paid more attention to credentials and references.
I tell clients all the time to make sure that you go to your interview prepared to ask questions. There’s a reason behind this advice. 29% of recruiters looked more favorably on candidates who were prepared to ask questions during the interview. It positively impacts the recruiter’s hiring decision. ALWAYS HAVE QUESTIONS READY.
We’re moving on to the top three subjective traits that positively impact hiring decisions during in-person interviews. Eagerness and interest in the position will favorably influence a choice to hire. Do not fall prey to the myth that showing excitement about the position makes you look desperate. On the contrary, the majority (62%) of recruiters revealed this was a top factor in their decision to hire. It’s even more important to millennials (more so than older recruiters) and more important to men over women. Suffice to say, if you’re interviewing with a millennial male show enthusiasm, interest, and eagerness about the position.
You can’t fake knowledge about your industry, but you can share it. I encourage you to speak up and share what you know about the industry that you’re interviewing for because it’s important to recruiters. 65% of recruiters reported that knowledge of the industry favorably influences their hiring decision. You should also know that knowledge of the industry is seen as a part of culture fit and is paid more attention to by recruiters over fifty than millennials, and is equally important to both genders.
Conversational skills are the most important factor in a hiring decision according to 92% of recruiters, and determines whether a candidate is deemed as a culture fit or not. This is incredibly important since culture fit was the second-most-important decision in whether to hire a candidate or not. Additionally, 69% of recruiters said that conversational skills can make or break whether a candidate is hired or not. If you’re nervous when speaking during interviews, I would encourage you to work with an interview coach and start practicing NOW—before you start interviewing—because your ability to communicate with a recruiter will be a determining factor in whether you’re hired or not.
**IMPORTANT TO NOTE** Jumping from the last point about conversational skills, if you’re going on multiple interviews and not hearing back or receiving offers I would advise troubleshooting your conversational skills FIRST and then working backwards through the list. I am not an interview coach, however, I can tell you that being able to work with an expert in this area can substantially increase your confidence and positively impact your job search outcome.