The Hiring Process, Demystified

According to Manager Tools, the interview process or hiring process is an artificial reality designed by companies to keep people out. What that means is that despite companies wanting to hire people, they put applicants through a process to make sure that not everyone who is interested gets in.

Think about it — do you want just anyone to work alongside you and your team?

The Hiring Process

To understand the hiring process better, there are two primary parties you need to consider: the company and the applicant. In the Philippines, the company usually involves two groups — HR and the hiring manager. This group is also referred to as the interviewer. The applicants, on the other hand, compose the interviewees. This approach gives you a better picture of the hiring process because you get to see it from both perspectives.


For this article, the hiring process I’m talking about simply starts with the resume, the phone screening, the face-to-face interview, and the job offer. In every part, I will share what each party is thinking and explain the disconnect that each party encounters.

Normally, when the applicant submits his resume, he gets a phone call, then an interview, and finally a job offer. Of course, this assumes the candidate passes every stage with flying colors. Each stage acts as a filter and narrows the options to choose from. Some hiring managers make it a point to look for a reason to say no to an applicant — it’s only when they find no cause for rejection throughout the hiring process that they proceed with a job offer.

You can also use this knowledge to become better at interviewing (if you’re a manager) or being interviewed (as an applicant). The more you know how the whole process works, the more you can use this to improve your performance.


The resume is the start of almost every hiring process worldwide. In the Philippines, when applicants apply for a job, they normally submit a resume , sometimes with a cover letter. A resume is a summary of your professional background, experience, and accomplishments as it relates to the position you are applying for.

The Interviewer’s Perspective

At this stage, the interviewer is looking for an applicant who has done the job and has produced results that the company benefited from. Not only is the company looking for experience, the company is also looking for results. Why? Because the person who did not produce any results could have been fired for simply being in the role.

In addition, remember that a company usually has one job opening and hundreds of people applying for that single role. This affects how much (or how little) time they spend reviewing each application.

The Interviewee’s Perspective

Now, let’s take a look at the applicant’s perspective at this stage. They are likely concerned about showcasing their entire background to the company. In addition, most applicants don’t see this process from the eyes of the interviewer. This causes them to blindly follow advice from the internet, their school, or their friends.

Here’s an example: almost every university recommends a specific resume format — a photo on the upper right, administrative details on the upper left, then you list your personal objectives, education, and end with your co-curricular activities.

There’s nothing wrong about universities giving resume-writing advice to their students. The problem lies in blindly following this advice. This “school format” allows the student to share everything about themselves, even information that the interviewer doesn’t necessarily need to know.

The Disconnect

Let’s go back to the definition of a resume: “a summary of a person’s professional background, experience, and accomplishments as it relates to the position he is applying for.”

It is a summary — you don’t fit in everything about you. Remember, the company might get hundreds of applications a day for a single post. There simply isn’t enough time to read every single one of them without having to make shortcuts to eliminate or weed people out.

Companies are looking for experience and results. They want to know if you have done your job and have done it well. The traditional resume format doesn’t always address this. Hiring managers look for results because experience is a non-differentiating factor (experience is a function of you doing the job; results differ per person).

The traditional format only includes a list of the activities the person did on the job — responsible for this and that; coordinated with suppliers; organized events. This poses a huge problem, because the same person who executed all those tasks and activities could have been fired for not achieving any results.

  • If it’s a project, was it delivered on time, on budget, and in scope?
  • If the role is in sales, how much additional revenue did you contribute to the business?
  • If it’s account management, how much up-sell and cross-sell business you generated? What percentage of customers did you retain?

The resume is tailored to every job you are applying for. That is the reason why the school format doesn’t necessarily help the candidates.


Phone screening is a little hack companies do to help them save time. It is a phone call (or a video call) done by the company’s representatives to eliminate candidates from the funnel. Instead of inviting them for a face-to-face interview (that takes a lot of time, resources, and effort), a simple 15- to 30-minute call will help you decide if you should be investing more time and effort into this candidate or not.

The Interviewer’s Perspective

Hiring managers are busy people. Apart from their daily tasks, they still have to hire. Remember, they have to go through stacks of resumes, yet they have the same 24 hours in a day like the rest of us.

The call’s purpose is to screen — to qualify or disqualify. In a short phone call, you can’t possibly know for sure if the person is the right person. This brings me back to our original definition of interviews; it’s a process designed to say no.

So, in this short call, you are looking for reasons to say no to this applicant.

Normally, the hiring manager is looking for communication skills, or trying to verify that this skill exists. In addition, given that the call was scheduled in advance, the interviewer will also be looking for preparedness. If the applicant is simply winging it, that may already be one reason for the recruiter to say no.

The Interviewee’s Perspective

There have been horror stories from recruiters all over: some applicants take this call as if it’s a regular phone conversation with a friend. For those working, some take the call in the office or in front of their computers while checking their emails or Facebook. Others who are in the field might not take the time to go to a quiet place. For those in between jobs, some even take the call after just waking up; others might not even pick up the phone.

In fact, some applicants who have applied to a lot of job openings have asked the person calling them what company they are from, despite previously corresponding via text or email — definitely not a good sign.

The Disconnect

The hiring manager is looking for communication skills and preparedness in this stage of the hiring process. The applicant might not be taking this as seriously as he should. When the hiring manager asks a few questions, the applicant stutters; he might be distracted or preoccupied.

This sends a signal of unpreparedness and an inability to communicate effectively.

What happens is the hiring manager doesn’t invite the candidate for an interview. Then, the applicant assumes a lot of things then gets into this mentality of companies not giving him the opportunity, etc.

Let’s get this thing straight. The moment you applied for a job, the hiring process began already. Your resume — whatever format you used — will enter some sort of filtering system. This phone screening is no different. You either pass on to the next stage or not.



The face-to-face interview is the one that all of us expect when it comes to the hiring process. Sadly, this is the only stage in the hiring process that applicants and hiring managers prepare for.

This interview is where the applicant meets the hiring manager in person. This is normally done in the company’s premises. In some cases, this is done remotely, like coffee shops, etc.

The Interviewer’s Perspective

The interviewer is looking for different a lot of things at this stage. You can group them together into 4 aspects:

  1. Interpersonal skills
  2. Cultural fit
  3. Core skills
  4. Technical skills

For interpersonal skills, the hiring manager is looking at how they related to them during the interview. Basically, you are evaluating whether the applicant will get along with you and other people.

For cultural fit, the hiring manager assesses whether the person can thrive on his team or in the company’s environment. For example, here at Bridge, we focus on results (via OKRs). These are public to everyone on the team. We talk about results and numbers in our daily 7 AM huddle.  That is why it is essential for everyone who joins our team to be comfortable with results.

The core skills the hiring manager is looking for differs for every role. For example, an inbound marketer needs to be able to write well. The role also requires research abilities, especially for topics they have never encountered before. These are all important because they will produce actual results.

Technical skills are skills that involve the ability to use specific tools or programs. In my previous job, a technical skill I was looking for was the ability to use Adobe Photoshop and InDesign. For that, my team created an timed exam to test that ability to use those programs.

Apart from this, the hiring manager usually asks questions based on the candidate’s resume. In most cases, they ask hypothetical questions (if you were in this situation, what would you do?). These questions are also behavioral questions (tell me about a time where you…) that evaluate whether the candidate has done this in the past.

The Interviewee’s Perspective

At this stage, the applicant is looking for ways to show off. They are constantly selling themselves and their experience — that they have done this or that part of the role they are applying for.

During the interview proper, candidates rarely prepare their answers . They usually answer in 1-2 sentences and provide vague statements.

Towards the end of the interview, the applicant usually asks for self-gratifying questions like “how much is the salary, what is the working hours, do you have work on the weekends?”

This is also the stage in the hiring process where the applicant hears the dreaded phrase “we’ll get back to you” from the hiring manager.

The Disconnect

Hiring managers care about whether you have done the job and how well you did it. The face-to-face interview is a validation of what is written in the resume.

During the interview, the hiring manager asks a series of questions. The candidate should expect — and prepare for — the standard questions: tell me about yourself, what is your greatest weaknesstell me about your leadership style, and questions about greatest accomplishments.

Again, the hiring manager is verifying if what you wrote on your resume is accurate. He is looking at your thought process, especially on certain decisions that you made. For example, you said you decided to choose this strategy over the other. The reason for that is it shows critical thinking and the ability to make decisions on your own.


The job offer is the final stage in the hiring process. Up until this point, the interviewer controls the interview. What that means is the applicant has to play by the rules of the company. If he/she doesn’t then that is a ground for rejection.

The Interviewer’s Perspective

The hiring manager at this stage has decided to give a job offer to his “best” candidate. I place an open and close quotation on the word best because effective hiring managers don’t give job offers to the best candidate in the bunch of applicants.

They make sure the candidates pass through a certain standard first. If no candidate passes the standard, you don’t give an offer to anyone. If only two out of a hundred pass, then you choose the best between the two.

The job offer is composed of 5 parts:

  1. Job title / description and responsibilities
  2. Compensation and benefits
  3. Location
  4. Start date
  5. Deadline for acceptance

Once the job offer is given to a candidate, the hiring manager loses control of this stage. That is why it is important to have the deadline so you can regain control of the process.

The Interviewee’s Perspective

This is the only part where you gain control. Here’s when you can ask questions. Again, do so in moderation. What will give you plus points here is to ask further about your role in the project that you discussed during the interview.

Also, this is also the stage where the applicant makes lots of assumptions. At times, when they don’t hear anything from the hiring manager (after hearing ‘we’ll get back to you’), the candidate follows-up in an angry manner.

The Disconnect

Generally speaking, the applicant’s interview process ends after he / she is interviewed. However, for the company, there’s still this stack of resume to screen and interview. That is the first disconnect you have to be aware of.

The “we’ll get back to you” phrase can sometimes be taken literally. I’ve done it because I still have 4 interviews lined up. I’ve tried to update them on what’s the status of their application as often as I can, but admittedly I fail at it sometimes. And that just makes me want to keep improving myself.

If you ask the people I interviewed recently here ar Bridge, I can honestly say that to everyone whom I said the ‘we’ll get back to you” phrase, I later told them that I decided not to hire them because they weren’t a fit for us at the moment. They might have waited a couple of days, but I did tell them of the status. I didn’t cower behind my desk and didn’t do anything about it.

Also, as mentioned above, you don’t give an offer to anyone who is the best in a bunch. You give it to the best AFTER they pass a certain standard.



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