Hiring Managers Look For In A Potential Candidate - Ad Culture

What Do Hiring Managers Look For in a Potential Candidate?

6 min read | Nov 10, 2021
 Stephen Pedder- Ad Culture By Stephen Pedder

A question that frequently crosses the minds of interviewees on the days leading up to your interview is “what do hiring managers look for?” 

Aside from presenting the best version of yourself, there are a few other things you can do to make a stellar impression during the process of your job search. 

Your goal is to be remarkable and be everything they’re looking for. Here at Ad Culture, we’re breaking down the eight things hiring managers want you to know.

Let’s take a deep dive into the mind of recruiters!

A Uniquely Written Cover Letter

Just like how it’s recommended to tailor your resume to each job opening that you’re applying for, the same goes for your cover letter. This is the portion of your application that they’ll see first — you want to make sure it grabs attention by displaying excellent written communication skills and an impressive summary of your professional achievements. 

In case you’re lacking work experience in a particular field, a stand-out cover letter is your chance to make up for that. A unique cover letter that’s written for the specific role is what hiring managers are looking for. 

A Responsible Social Media and Online Presence

There are countless reasons for why being a responsible netizen is critical — the fact that a hiring manager might one day scroll through your feed is one of them. 

Social media is a representation of you and your personality. Someone who presents themselves responsibly in the real world and virtual world is what hiring managers look for. Remember to be careful about what you post on social media, because it will always come back to you. 

Prompt, Quick Responses

If you’ve received an email from a hiring manager regarding an assignment or an interview schedule, don’t procrastinate. The chances are high that you aren’t the only applicant they’ve responded to; so, it isn’t time to feel too relaxed just yet.

Sending out a reply as soon as you can will show them how alert you are and how much interest you have in working at their company. 


Arriving on time for interviews will always make a great impression. If you can manage to arrive at least 10 minutes before, then that’s the best way to go! Punctuality is what hiring managers look for because it’s a fundamental part of achieving success in the workplace. Companies would much rather not hire people who might show up late to work everyday or won’t be able to complete tasks on time. 

Tardiness is a sure-fire way to taint a hiring manager’s first impression of you. Of course, sometimes, there are unavoidable instances when important matters arise that you really have to take care of first. If this is the case, make sure to inform them as soon as you can.

Punctuality - Ad Culture

Personality On Top of Work Experience

Yes, your work experience is a heavyweight on the hiring scale — but being a culture fit within the company has just as much gravity. If you’re wondering “what do hiring managers look for?”, it’s someone who’s genuine and will seamlessly fit in. And they’re skilled enough to see right through you. 

You could have the most impressive work experience among all the candidates, but if hiring managers find someone whose personality might blend in better with the rest of the employees, then it isn’t far-fetched that they’ll go with the candidate who’s a better culture fit. 

One way to zoom in on what their culture is like would be to do some research on the company’s vision and mission. Simply browsing through their website and social media pages will give you a clearer overview of what the personality and overall tone is of the organization. 

Reputable References

You can count on it that hiring managers will get in touch with those references you’ve included on your resume to know more about you. But since these people have most likely been listed because you’re confident they will only have good things to say about you, hiring managers are going to want to dig a little deeper.

What do hiring managers look for when they do this? As much information as they can get to prove that you’ll be an asset — or in worst cases, a liability — to the company. 

Be prepared for them to connect with other people you might’ve worked with at your previous companies; even if you haven’t officially included them in your list of references. 

How You Talk About Your Previous Jobs

The way you talk about your previous jobs, colleagues, and employers says a lot about who you are. If you enjoyed being a part of the company you used to work for, then casually bringing that up during the interview would be totally fine. On the other hand, if you weren’t very fond of some people at your old job, that’s okay too. Just don’t bash them during your interview.

What hiring managers look for is someone who is conscientious in every aspect — including their words.

The company you’re currently applying at could one day become the company you used to work for. They won’t want to be the company you might badmouth in the future.  

Someone With Thoughtful Questions

So you’ve been pondering on the question “what do hiring managers look for in an interview?” One thing they’re really waiting for you to do is ask questions. Not having anything to ask them will make it seem like you don’t have any genuine interest in being a part of the company. 

Here are some questions you might want to consider asking the hiring manager:

  1. What are the specific tasks and responsibilities that this role entails?
  2. How would you describe the management style of the company?
  3. What is the company culture like?
Job Interview - Ad Culture

What Hiring Managers Look For: Industry Unicorns

What do hiring managers look for? Unicorns, of course — but, there’s absolutely no need for you to show up at the interview galloping in a unicorn onesie. 

What hiring managers are looking for is someone who is unique and shines bright — just like unicorns.

Are you currently on a journey towards finding a dream job in the tech, brand/business, or advertising industries? Ad Culture is a reliable recruitment firm connected with some of the biggest companies in North America. We’re always on the lookout for industry unicorns who aim to apply their skills. 

Contact our team today to start the process of getting hired!

Let’s chat
about building
your team!

    Let’s chat

      Let’s chat

      What's New In Ad Culture

      Contact Us

      Let’s Find The Right Combination Of Talent And Personality For Your Company.

        Hire TalentGet Hired