How should hiring actually be?

I have been here quite some time now and after reading a few of the messages, I realized that while there are many queries and opinions being expressed, I haven’t seen any concrete guidance for interviewing. I’ve seen some awful suggestions though.

First, let me introduce myself. I currently hold the title of Director of Product Management, but before that, I have held positions as a salesperson, a sales manager in the automotive business, a graphic designer, and a product management leader for more than 15 years with titles such as VP, SVP, and CPO. I have experience working for small as well as large companies.

In order to avoid pontificating, here are some ideas I had:

First of all, people are seeking for teammates, which entails finding people they get along with, who are competent on par with the rest of the team (but lack experience), get things done, are dependable, and can think of inventive solutions to problems. Being a creative problem solver is a significant asset, even at simple occupations. You need to project a positive image. Furthermore, you want the interviewer to start supporting your achievement.

So, how do you go about doing that? You must be prepared to share anecdotes during an interview that will draw the interviewer’s interest and highlight your value. You must assist the interviewers because most interviewers are not very skilled.

These days, when I hire, I screen for 4 criteria. Grit, Integrity, Empathy, and Creativity, in my opinion, these are the four qualities that are universally sought and essential in order to succeed in any profession.

I think your chances of getting recruited are significantly increased if you can demonstrate these four qualities in an interview. How do you illustrate these concepts and what do they mean?

  1. Grit: It is the capacity to complete a task or undertaking despite difficulties. You must demonstrate initiative, the ability to recognize and resolve obstacles in your path (sometimes this entails seeking assistance, especially if you’re younger), but largely it entails perseverance in the face of difficulty.
    So, prepare a story that you may use to demonstrate your tenacity. Tell a tale about a challenging issue you overcame. Explain the background, the challenges you faced, and how you overcame them. It’s acceptable to share a tale that is unrelated to your career for your first job or if you have less experience (1-3 years). Or a circumstance where you identified a challenge beyond your area of expertise and escalated to request assistance from your supervisor or a senior colleague, finishing the project as a result. It can sometimes be preferable to work together as a team and to have the humility to ask for assistance than to struggle alone. It’s probably more crucial to demonstrate your independence if you’re a more senior individual.

  2. Integrity: Are you dependable and trustworthy? Tell a story about a time you faced a moral or ethical dilemma and had to make the difficult choice to uphold morality in order to demonstrate your integrity. Or, if you’re bold, a time you made a mistake but learned from it. To be clear, I’m not referring to a time you made a mistake; rather, I’m referring to an instance in which you failed, did the wrong thing despite knowing it was the wrong thing to do, took the decision, and suffered the consequences. Of course, it’s crucial that, if you choose that route, your attention is on the lessons you learned and the reasons you won’t repeat that error. If anything in your past may be uncovered by a quick social media search or background check, this could be quite crucial. While you are vulnerable in an interview, especially while discussing integrity, the interviewer may start to support your achievement.

  3. Empathy: This is the capacity to step into another person’s shoes, observe the world from their vantage point, and act accordingly. I would use an example of a moment when you found it difficult to cooperate with someone else, perhaps even someone you didn’t particularly care for or even disliked. However, you soon gained empathy for them, understood why they were acting the way they were, or knew what was motivating them, and you were able to resolve the problems. Perhaps you had a wonderful working relationship, or perhaps you simply managed to get along with a challenging coworker. In either case, this will demonstrate empathy and the capacity to work cooperatively with others, even when they are challenging.

  4. Creativity: This one can be more challenging. I use a question during interviews to gather stories about creativity from the candidates. So, exercise caution when inserting this into a discourse. Describe a time when you came up with a creative solution to a challenging problem. You may mention a business you founded, even something as simple as a lawn-mowing service you ran as a child, a church activity, or a summer project. After that, I urge them to elaborate on the concept and consider other angles of it until they either demonstrate their ability to reason through problems and reach a conclusion or hit a brick wall. In either case, it’s incredibly instructive for the interviewer.

Hopefully, this was helpful. Just keep in mind that hiring managers want team players. They are assessing both your suitability and your qualifications. Therefore, it’s crucial that you allow people to see you as you truly are so that they can judge you accordingly. People who were too reserved and wouldn’t let me get to know them were filled out of interviews by me.

Just one more thing. You ought to be interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you. Bring thoughtful questions, conduct your homework about the employer before the interview, and be prepared to explain why you want the job. Find out if the interviewers are people you will have to work with every day or if you won’t be working with them every day if you find that you don’t get along with them. If you don’t like the coworkers, it might not be worthwhile to accept the position.


Absolutely amazing post @MatthewShun, but how do I avoid going insane before the actual interview? 200+ applications, each taking 25 to 40 hours to complete. My entire creative energy is devoted to coming up with ways to get around filters and spamming keywords and phrases, much like I did when I worked in SEO/SEM as an undergraduate.


This really bothers me. The worst aspect is that it’s impossible to determine whether the algorithm is deleting my CV or if a real person is doing it. I have no way of knowing if I need more specific keywords, more demonstrable successes, or if I should alter my first name to initials in order to avoid being discriminated against because of my gender.


@AngieGoodwin, you can put your resume through a sample Applicant Tracking System. That’s how I found out my PDF LaTex written resume wasn’t showing half of itself to the computer because I had indented wrong.

Use this to write beautiful pdf’s. You can also host your resume as a static webpage by knitting to HTML.


Resumes are no longer looked at by people. AI and ATS systems read them. You can use ATS websites that are free to use. The system checks both the job description and your resume after you add them. You are given a score and a list of keywords; you must get an 80 or higher to move your resume to human eyes. I had to discover this for myself after numerous stressful rejections. I wish you luck!


Excellent post @MatthewShun. This is why I never believe the “worker shortage” narrative - it’s always a lie. Am curious to know what others have to say on this.


The real shortage is of jobs with lucrative salaries @AngelaBlue. There are a lot of employees. There are also many occupations available. There aren’t many hiring opportunities for jobs with decent salary.

Nobody wants to end their lives for a part-time work that doesn’t pay well or provide enough money to cover their rent, let alone the rest of their expenses.

“Jobs paying the minimum wage are for retirees and teenagers,”

Cool, but where are the jobs above that level that don’t call for a trade or a degree worth over $100,000?

Nobody is ready to trade experience for a strong work ethic anymore; everyone wants a senior or top-level employee with extensive experience at the lowest possible price.

People used to be “loyal” to their work and retire after 40 years at the same place because they could afford to. Because they could support their family of four on one income and buy a house, a couple of cars, and pay for their children’s college. An income from a factory job, that they got after seeing a “hiring” sign in a factory window while riding their bicycle and drinking a $0.05 coke.

This is how the hiring conversation went. Hey Mr., I sure could use a job. "Any experience there, kid? “No sir, but I swear to work very hard.” “Great! You start on Monday.

That was 75 years ago, and that “kid” just sold his second property for a million dollars just because he could.


The true problem is the minimum wages, which should allow you to support yourself. Almost every American has been raised with the incorrect belief that minimum wage is only for young workers and retirees.


It’s more that minimum wage hasn’t increased with inflation.

So it’s not that people have that attitude, it’s that the end result is those jobs can’t support anyone else outside of those two groups.


What are you referring to? There may be dozens of people that “apply” for a job, but just a few show up because they lack the qualities stated in this post, such as Grit or Integrity (strong work ethics), and half don’t return calls or emails.


My boss left the room during my interview for my current position since his wife could be in labor at any minute. We discussed the differences between nature and nurture. We barely talked about work. I believe I was hired because the interview went so well and was enjoyable, and my supervisor was already confident that I’d be a good fit (he subsequently verified this, saying he was impressed by my résumé and previous education, which had nothing to do with my current function or profession).


With the exception of my wife going into labor, that sounds precisely how I conduct my interviews. I get nothing from asking potential employees inane questions such, “Tell me your biggest flaws,” and “tell me about a time when you argued with your boss.” I conduct in-depth conversations with candidates to get to know them as individuals, then base decisions on what I discover. Those “tell me your weakness” inquiries only elicit prefabricated responses. Making a prospect feel at ease increases their likelihood of being open and honest with you about their weaknesses or of becoming so relaxed that they unintentionally reveal any red flags.

Most interviewers just lack interviewing expertise or good judgement; thus, they tend to ask foolish questions without understanding how to analyze the responses.


It took me years to realize I was interviewing them as much as they were interviewing me.

This past job search cycle I’ve leaned into this concept more heavily and walked away from a lot of negativity based in answers to my questions, or sometime body language or other forms of responses.

My fav question so far is ‘where will the company be in 5 years?’ Or variations on this question. I’ve had several interviewing managers lock up on this.


Glad to see the responses and am thankful for your insights.

@MarcoSilva,jJust be thoughtful about how you ask questions. Interviews shouldn’t be aggressive on either side. They should be collegial.


Agreed @MatthewShun!

In general, I’m asking basic questions about how I fit into the company bigger picture and what their future plans are.

In one case the guy nervously laughed and admitted he had no idea, in a multi-million dollar aerospace company. His ‘salespitch’ to convince me to take an $18/hr job with 42 mile commute one way (84 mile round trip daily) was ‘our benefits are better than McDonald’s!’

He didn’t know I had mcd’s benefits Info already. He didn’t like that.

Over a year later and they’re still trying to hire for the same position.

1 Like

I had interest in project management in school. I couldn’t get a job in that field and ended up in finance out of school. I worked in that field for about 15 years, but actively looked for jobs in my preferred field. I got some interviews, but I felt like I never could showcase myself because the interviews were very structured. I finally stumbled across an interview that let me showcase myself a bit. And I spoke to my car hobby - want vs need, sequencing work, managing resources, etc. And I asked what I feel like were good questions - What makes one good at this job? What causes people to have a hard time? They loved it and I got a chance.

So, I wholeheartedly agree about pulling from personal experience. But there is something about the OP’s post that doesn’t sit right with me. Grit? Get out of here. Also, I feel like you are either a creative problem solver or not. So the “one time I was creative” type stories feel a little manufactured.

I’m not a hiring manager, but I now have input. I don’t want rehearsed stories. I want a look at your thought processes and how you approach tasks. I want your vision. I want you to ask good questions that demonstrate those things.

This topic was automatically closed 180 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.