man pushing puzzleSo much emphasis is placed on experience in a resume and an interview, a job seeker might easily overlook other important factors impacting a hiring decision.

CareerBuilder conducted a survey of hiring managers and human resource professionals nationwide. When asked what would differentiate two equally qualified candidates, these were the top responses:

Good sense of humor (27%)

Involved in community activities (26%)

Well dressed (22%)

Commonalities with interviewer (21%)

Physically fit (13%)

Knows current affairs & pop culture (8%)

Social media savvy (7%)

Follows sports (4%)

Some of these percentages are surprising and should alert job seekers to what’s important to hiring managers above and beyond qualifications and experience. Fit with company culture is extremely important. Companies try to keep the costs of hiring to a minimum, and it starts with choosing the right candidate the first time so a duplication of costs for a second hire doesn’t occur.

Many companies are expanding the hiring process to include several layers of employees being involved in interviewing potential candidates. They can experience first-hand how the job seeker’s personality fits with the team, how they might solve problems, how they handle stress, and many other factors that are critical to fitting into a new company’s culture.

One of my clients recently told me that he went through 8 interviews with a company and if any one of the interviewers reported he was not a fit for their department, he would have been eliminated from the hiring process. I’m happy to say that he did make it through all 8 interviews and was offered the job.

Another client was chosen to be interviewed over other candidates with similar experience and background because of his involvement with a community organization. The interviewer shared with my client that most everyone he knew that was involved with that community organization turned out to be stellar employees. So he chose my client because of the good experiences he had with others.

Knowing what hiring managers value in candidates is half the challenge. The other half is examining which of the qualities you have and how you can highlight them in your pre-screen phone call to get an interview.

[photo courtesy of]