In this day and age, it’s rare—to score the perfect role by filling out an online application. It can be challenging to figure out the best way to “get your foot in the door” by reviewing their website and LinkedIn page. Job hunting in 2023 is more about quality than quantity: the application is only one of many tools for marketing yourself to potential employers.
The ultimate goal of the corporate hiring process is to identify the best fit for the position. Of course, every organization has a different idea of what that means: they may be looking for different kinds of experience, knowledge, hard skills, a positive attitude, and a great addition to their culture. You ultimately win opportunities by showing that you’ve done your homework and are the perfect fit they seek.
In this article, we’ll look at each phase of the hiring process from the hiring manager’s point of view. You’ll discover a few new inroads to make high-quality connections and learn how to stand out as a proactive communicator.
Corporate Hiring Process Overview
Every company’s hiring process will be a little different, but most often, they include these five distinct phases:
- Relationship building
- Resume and application
- Interview process
1. Relationship Building
It used to be known as “getting in through the back door.” Still, with all the communication tools available today, people have recognized that networking and building organic relationships often create more successful placement outcomes. Making connections with people who work for the top employers on your list can take a lot of patience and determination, yet, over 30% of hires come from employee referrals. So mastering this strategy will give you a huge advantage, and getting an unfiltered look at the company culture and work environment before the interview can be worth the extra effort.
Your most valuable tools for relationship building are LinkedIn and informational interviews. First, find someone on the team with whom you have a lot in common, and then use InMail to make a personal connection with them. Comment on their posts and get to know them, but be honest about your intent. Next, ask for an informational interview to learn about what it’s like to work there, and if it goes well, see if this person can connect you with a hiring manager or another advocate.
Be sure to build a relationship with your recruiter as well. They should reach out at least weekly, but be sure to discuss expectations for communication. Be clear about what you’re looking for and how much you’re willing to negotiate so you can help your recruiter determine which positions are a good fit.
2. Communication During the Application Process
Hiring managers and recruiters will appreciate clear, concise, consistent, and timely communication. Keeping your answers short and to the point keeps the entire interviewing process moving forward, but ensure you provide complete answers with enough information. Don’t forget to be kind and professional too! All of this shows that you’re invested in the opportunity.
When and how you show up during these early stages is an indicator to the employer of how you will show up at work. As “time kills deals,” timely responses are essential, and sending a thank-you note the same day is best practice. While responding quickly can be challenging when you’re still working a full-time job, the faster you can respond, the better.
3. Resume and Application Materials
If you’re doing your relationship-building work, your resume and application aren’t necessarily make-or-break. But in some cases, they may be the first and only glimpse a hiring manager will get of you. Unfortunately, this blog hasn’t enough room to cover how to optimize your resume for your current job search—check out our Ultimate Guide to Resume Writing for a full breakdown. The most important strategy we cover in the guide is finding and using resume keywords, so you’ll stand out in an automated applicant tracking system (ATS).
Some companies may ask for a cover letter; if not, don’t feel obligated to include one. If you submit a cover letter, be sure not to repeat what’s in your resume; use the cover letter as a way to connect the dots, provide context, and tell them how you will be an asset to their company specifically. Having someone review your documents and provide feedback is a good idea. Make sure they are accurate and typo-free, and save them with your first and last name (not something generic like “resume.doc”) so recruiters can easily find them.
There’s a good chance you’ll interview with more than one person at a potential employer before they extend an offer. When they reach out, ask how many interviews to expect and how long the process should take. Try to be flexible when scheduling, and don’t be afraid to take ownership of the process along with them.
Prepare before every interview so you can give solid, detailed answers. Try using the STAR method to organize your ideas, and come prepared with your own questions to ask. Check out their reviews on Glassdoor and ask about challenges, opportunities, and organizational goals. Use the same tactics interviewers do: ask them about things you found in your research and ask for specific examples. For instance: “Can you tell me about a time an employee idea was implemented?”
It can be challenging to talk about transitions and reasons for leaving. Don’t give too much information, but be accurate. Speak as positively as possible about previous employers and be open to post-interview feedback.
You’re in the home stretch! Once a company has made you a job offer, you can negotiate on more than your salary. Ask about any benefits and work environment arrangements that are important to you, and above all, be clear and honest. Companies want to make competitive offers, and telling them your salary is “negotiable” can be more challenging than helpful: they don’t want to make you an offer that’s too low.
If you’re working with the Mulberry team, they are a great resource to help you negotiate!
Advocate For Yourself
We know how frustrating it is to wait on hiring managers to get back to you while you’re doing everything you can to get hired. Ask your contact person about the best way to communicate with them and decide when it makes sense to follow up, but don’t overdo it. Do something else to stay busy and keep your phone at arm’s reach.
Ready to start your job search? Fill out the form on our Job Seekers page, and we’ll be in touch soon!