The Secret Hiring Managers Know But You Probably Don’t

secret for hiring managers

Hiring managers have a method to putting the odds in their favor. Once you know it, you can take advantage of it.

So many of us view the world through the eyes of a job seeker, constantly on the hunt for an opportunity that provides both financial comfort and emotional interest. We treat jobs like the TV remote, each stop tempts us to stay while simultaneously teasing us to keep looking for something better.

We click, because we can (or in this example, we look for other, better, jobs).

But job seeking is a form of self-punishment, often humbling and sometimes demoralizing, the path to employment bliss is never blazed in unicorns and sea foam. Just when you think you are smart, experienced and energetic – employers either ignore you or pass you over .

Or even worse, when you graduate and feel like you are on top of your game and ripe to perform, you stumble out of the proverbial employment gate with little or no interest from companies you dream of being a part of.

Now that’s a punch in the gut.

TV personality Jim Watson knows all too well what rejection feels like, ““When I was first getting started, I sent out 30 tapes and never got a single response. I did get several form rejection letters which my brother pasted to the bathroom wall. He said it would give me inspiration to leave the bathroom after I stopped crying.”

Watson eventually found his lane and has enjoyed a long successful career on camera, but every time he considered switching networks that nauseous feeling and bathroom visual would return.

But what if there was a method that hiring managers use that puts the odds in their favor? If you knew that method, in theory, you could use it, right?

Yep, you sure can.

The Secret Hiring Managers Know But You Probably Don't Click To Tweet

The other side to the equation

Let’s flip around the visual for a second.

Hiring managers see the world a little different, for them the pressure comes from selecting the right person in both skill for the job and cultural fit. It’s not as simple as it sounds.

Skill can be loosely determined by a resume, but even then that is only part of the story. Imagine someone includes they are ‘proficient in Adobe Premiere Pro’ on their resume, does that mean they fit your criteria for proficiency, or did they just find “proficient” on some list of power resume words when rudimentary would have been more accurate?

Resumes can inflate an individuals skills so determining how accurate a match they are, strictly from their resume, isn’t always cut and dry.

Resumes often inflate a candidates skills, managers look at your power verbs w/ skepticism Click To Tweet

Same thing with cultural fit. Even if you bring someone in for the day to interview, they meet the staff, get the tour and  smile often, as a hiring manager you have to wonder if they are just on their best behavior for the day, or if this is really them at their core.

Hiring and getting hired are both hard exercises that fail more often than they succeed.

The Secret Hiring Managers Know That You Don’t

There is a much more consistent manner to hire staff and it’s the method hiring manager’s use so they can sleep well at night – promoting from within. There is nothing worse than bringing in the wrong person, training them, investing in them and watching them fail. Hiring managers don’t want to go back to square one, and that’s why an internal candidate is almost always safer.

There are other distinct benefits to hiring someone already in the building:

  • It sends the right message to the staff (i.e. If I work hard there is career growth for me)
  • An internal candidate’s skills are a known commodity
  • Cultural fit isn’t a concern since they have already been in the environment
  • Financially – no relocation costs, less paperwork, less training, less downtime

Promoting from the inside is the hiring manager’s secret weapon – but you can use it to your advantage too.

Leveraging the inside job

All too often the strategy people invoke when looking for jobs is to focus on title, responsibilities and location. Those are logical filters, but they can hold you back in the long-term because they are too rigid.

For entertainment jobs or sports jobs there is a benefit to focusing on medium to large companies, without much concern for title or location. Of course, you need to still apply for jobs that match your skills, the point is to be open to a wide range of opportunities if they are at the right company.

Get in the right department at a big company, or at least close to it, and you’ll be able to prove yourself and grow from within with greater ease than coming in later in your career as an unknown. Once you get inside, the whole employment world opens up for you if you bring your “A” game.

Internships should have the same focus, look to the big power players in your slice of the industry and start making a name for yourself. I can’t tell you how many employers have told me the majority of the people they hire were former interns. It simple really, interns are a known commodity and less risky!

So don’t just look for job titles, or sign up for the first internship your career counselor hands you a flyer for, really focus in on the right companies that will allow you growth!

Of course, there is value in bringing in new blood with fresh perspective and different experiences, this is not an “always” example. But more often than not the best way to get hired is to already be in the building showing off your skills, your will to succeed and your cultural fit.

It’s your secret now.

photo credit: Interview via photopin (license)

About Brian Clapp

Brian Clapp has worked in the broadcast media for over 14 years as a writer, editor, producer & news director. After beginning his career in Atlanta at CNN/Sports Illustrated, he switched coasts to Seattle to work at Fox Sports Northwest. In 2010, Brian began pursuing a new found passion on the digital media side, launching a successful website and then taking on the role of Director of Content for &

Recently Brian has become addicted to Google+ and LinkedIn so add him to your circles and make him a contact. No seriously, you should.


  1. What about hiring seniors that have been in the biz for most of their adult life ?

    • You should have the experience they want! Are you leading me into a scenario where you are struggling to find work? If so, and I don’t personally agree with this, it could be concerns about cultural fit or they want to go cheaper than your skills would dictate. Again I think those are lame reasons, but I know some people work that way. – Brian

  2. alina stefan says:

    Good evening,

    I agree with your employment equation. Ideally thinking and speaking.
    But there is a ‘but’, and I’ll come with a concrete example: what if you’re hired in an unsuitable cultural environment, but let’s call “external/objective circumstances” (lack of financial support allowing you the luxury to stay at home and search what you would like, family obligations, etc.) do not allow you to quit or to chose?
    I am talking now about Europe. The (financial/economic/jobs) situation here is worse than in USA, and this was complicated by the communism period that a part of the continent experienced. You cannot afford to make “airs and graces”, the possibilities to chose are quite limited, and very often you have to be satisfied you have a job.
    Also, take into account that the fierce competition change humans in the worst way, and they are those making the cultural environment everywhere.
    So, you’re now in the situation you resisted in a toxic working environment (say, you got a degree necessary for your career), but you want something you know you deserve and that can withdraw the best from you. Anywhere in this world. Not so simple.
    The scientific world is small and closed, and you may not get what you want, despite of all your expertise, good character and collegiality, integrity and work ethic.
    Any solution to this situation, please?
    Thanks in advance.
    Nice evening!

    • Alina, just to be clear you are asking me if I have a solution to the European financial situation, how it has impacted the job market and made you feel trapped in a job that doesn’t fit your preferred cultural experience? I wish I did – I truly wish I had some wise words to help you that don’t sound trite – but honestly I understand the plight and realize that sometimes you have to be happy just to have a job. That said, keep looking and don’t give up the chance to find what you really want – sometimes you have to take a step back to move forward, I have more than a few times in my career and while it felt painful at the time, I look back at some of those moments and believe they were my bravest and strongest. – Best of luck! Brian

  3. When I hire a person , I ask the lawyer . The kind employee is for this job ,and the skill that they need. from Dr. Rylene Irvin


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