What hiring managers look for during interviews

In many situations, hiring managers have a systematically way of evaluating you as a candidate. Unlike standardized tests where you get an “objective” score, you may get a qualitative battery of interview assessments, where you will receive an “opinion” score (or subjective score) based on the interviewer’s evaluation.

If you’re familiar with Likert scales, you know that the Likert scale is a qualitative way to assess a parameter. The scale usually ranges from 1 to 5. In MSL interviews, hiring managers can use a Likert scale to score your answers.

Likert scales used in MSL interviews aim to assess the level of “evidence” of a desired trait in a candidate.

An example of such a 1-5 scale:

1 – Very Weak evidence that the skill is present
2 – Weak evidence that the skill is present
3 – Average evidence that the skill is present
4 – Strong evidence that the skill is present
5 – Very strong evidence that the skill is present
Or, N/A – Insufficient evidence for or against the skill as present

As a job candidate, you want most of your answers to score a “4” or “5” in whatever competencies you are being assessed for. In order to do this, you need to provide strong- or very strong evidence to the interviewer that you have a certain skill.

The key word here is “evidence”. Most people confuse “evidence” with “claim”.

For example, a candidate claims that he has good interpersonal skills and works well with people. Yet evidence on his resume shows that his projects are often solo projects, requiring little collaboration with others.

If the interviewer asks this same candidate to describe a recent project and the candidate keeps talking about what he did in this project, the interviewer may score only a “1” or “2” for teamwork.

Now, this candidate may indeed have worked with others to get this project done! But if the candidate doesn’t tell this to the interviewer, the interviewer will not know.

In other words, in an interview situation, if you do not give specific, real-life examples of how you have put your skills and knowledge to the test, then those skills do not exist.

Sometimes the candidate is so eager to show how motivated he is and action oriented he is, that he talks as if he was the only person involved in the
project.

While the MSL career can be isolating because MSLs travel much of the time, MSLs aren’t supposed to act like “lone rangers”. Teamwork and being able to collaborate with other people are essential to succeeding in this job.

So here are some potential evidence that you should be be looking to demonstrate with your resume:

– did you actually have to approach someone out of your comfort zone (or department) for a project?

– did you put a process or policy or program in place that improved and changed the way things are done?

– did you mentor or coach people who could then show how your help made a difference in their performance?

Start looking for evidence in your resume right now, so you will be prepared to score “4” and “5” when your chance for an interview comes.