3 Questions Hiring Managers Always Ask (Themselves) About You


What do hiring managers look for?

This question comes up for job seekers everywhere. Constantly. Wishing you could read minds? You may not have to- you just need to know the questions hiring managers ask themselves when deciding on a new hire.

In this handy video we help you sneak a peek into the minds of hiring managers by asking the three big questions involved in every decision to hire: 

1. Can you do the job?

This is question #1 in an employer’s mind. Are you capable of doing the work involved? Convince them by listing evidence on your resume and discussing it during your interview in a way that supports your claim. Think about how you plan to present your abilities to the employer- lead with the job responsibilities you are confident you can do and use language that demonstrates your ability to shine in those areas.

2. Will you do the job?

This involves demonstrating your passion for the organization’s mission and excitement for the work. Just because you can do the job doesn’t mean you want to, or that you will be committed to doing it well. Show you have the work ethic needed and the passion to support you in your work with the organization. Ask yourself- if I was hiring for this position, what would I look for? Then take a look at your resume and see if you can locate the things you identified. If not, tweak it so the hiring manager has no doubt about answering this question with a “yes!”

3. Will you fit in?

Cultural fit- it counts! Do you understand the culture of the organization? For example, is it easygoing, playful, buttoned-up, traditional, or curious? What are its supporters called- donors, partners, freedom fighters? How an organization describes supporters, staff, volunteers, and the population they serve is very telling. If you relate to the organization’s culture, make sure it is evident in your application, and reaffirm it in your interview!

While there may be no crystal ball or mind-reading tricks to really know what a hiring manager is thinking, there are ways to anticipate what they might be looking for. Asking these three questions is a great way to start!

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About Author

I became acquainted with Idealist in late 2000 while working in the career development office at a private liberal arts college in NYC. I used it almost daily to help students and alumni find meaningful careers. After a 12-year stint in higher education, I worked as a career coach for professionals in various industries (and still used Idealist). During one of those many searches, a listing really caught my eye- the one for the newly-created position, Careers Program Coordinator. So... I jumped at the opportunity. Since then, I took on the role of Manager of Career Content for Idealist Careers, creating career content for job seekers, leaders, and other nonprofit professionals. Understanding the roles that a positive outlook and holistic self-care play in career success, I've shared with our readers time-honored methods for improving confidence and productivity. Now, as Manager of College and Professional Development, my focus is on lifting the advice from Idealist Careers "off the page". Drawing from my experience in career development, I propel job seekers and career changers towards taking control of their searches with confidence and removing fear, uncertainty, and other blocks to success via in-person workshops and seminars, webinars, and conference programming. My great loves are cooking (preferably without a recipe, otherwise I doctor it up), dancing, live cultural performances, identifying the tasting notes in a good cup of coffee, exploring neighborhoods for hidden gems, and anything else that sparks the senses and allows me to experience all the beauty, dynamism, and intrigue that vivaciously living in a remarkable world offers.


  1. Pingback: 3 Questions Hiring Managers Always Ask (Themselves) About You - Aim Blog

  2. Catherine Kellogg on

    Very true! And as a candidate, I often ask myself #2 and #3 as well. And I’d rather pass up on an opportunity than end up in the wrong place for my work style and expectations.

    • Thanks for sharing, Catherine! Glad these questions have helped you evaluate job opportunities. Many times, seekers forget they are interviewing the organization just as much as they are interviewing you!

  3. Hiring Manager Tips on

    Hey Victoria,

    Great tips. I agree. First and foremost, a hiring manager needs to know if you have the capability to do the job. Once that is established, then the hiring process can take different approaches depending how much training and support the company provides.

    Thanks for the post,

  4. They also want to know if you’re a long-term potential as well. It costs companies a lot of money to go through the hiring process, so the less they have to recruit, hire, train, etc. the better. They want to know you’re in it for the long haul.

  5. These questions are really important for every hiring managers and recruitment manager out there. It determines whether the applicant is committed to the job or not.

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