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Hiring Managers Most Influenced by Candidates' Job Experience, According to Survey

Majority of Hiring Managers Are Filling Open Positions in 30 Days or Less

CHICAGO, July 31, 2003 - More than one-third of hiring managers rated the appropriateness of a job seeker's work experience as the number one factor influencing their selection of candidates for open positions, according to a new survey. With almost one half of all hiring managers reporting they are filling open positions in 14 days or less, job seekers will need to move quickly in marketing their experience and skill sets to potential employers.'s "Hiring Trends 2003" survey, conducted from June 25 to July 2, 2003, polled more than 450 hiring managers.

Hiring managers evaluate candidates based on a number of factors. After experience, hiring managers rated the candidate's professional behavior during the selection process as the most important criteria influencing their selection of candidates. Tied for the third were the candidate's fit within the company culture and a recommendation of the candidate by an employee within the company.

"Hiring in an employer's market means companies can cherry pick top candidates," said Eric Lochner, vice president of Corporate Marketing at "Hiring managers are looking for qualified, motivated candidates who demonstrate knowledge of the company and industry and are compatible with the corporate culture. To get noticed, job seekers need to network and customize communications to show why they are a good match for the company and how they can specifically contribute to its success."

The speed of one's communications will play a role in whether one is considered for a job. Seventy-seven percent of hiring managers said they are filling open positions in 30 days or less, an eight percent increase over those surveyed in March 2003.

"Hiring managers are gearing up departments now for new business opportunities down the road," said Lochner. "They are moving forward in their recruitment efforts with one in four stating they would increase recruitment budgets for the remainder of the year. In today's competitive job market, job seekers need to be aggressive and creative in their approaches to these hiring managers."

Lochner offers the following DOs and DON'Ts for job seekers:

  • Do use a combination of resources to maximize your visibility to employers. Sign up for's free Personal Search Agent that automatically emails job opportunities to you based on your interests.
  • Do your homework. Research the companies you are interested in – check out their Web sites and look at recent press releases and news coverage. Pay attention to how the company presents itself and reflect that in your communications.
  • Do something the other candidates are not. Call the hiring manager directly and offer to work for free for a week to demonstrate your value.
  • Don't overstuff resumes with keywords from a company's job description. Scanning technology used by recruiters will red-flag the resume. Pepper in words from the job description as they apply to your experience.
  • Don't show up to the interview in casual clothes. Even if the office dress code is business casual, you don't want to appear casual about the job.
  • Don't be late in any stage of the process. Apply quickly, always show up to the interview 15 minutes early and send a thank you note promptly after the interview.
Survey Methodology
The CareerBuilder survey, "Hiring Trends 2003," was conducted from June 25 to July 2, 2003 of more than 450 hiring managers. To collect data for the survey, CareerBuilder commissioned SurveySite to use an e-mail methodology whereby individuals who are members of SurveySite Web Panel were randomly selected and approached by e-mail invitation to participate in the online survey. The results of this survey are accurate within +/- 2.66 percent (19 times out of 20).

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