Most recruiters provide 30 minutes or less of interview preparation to their candidates. A recruiter’s interview preparation typically consists of informing the candidate about position details, company culture, and interviewer(s) background/personality. Recruiters do not have the time, nor do they see a benefit, in providing more general interviewing skills and strategies. Imagine if 45 to 60 minutes of interview preparation increased the send-out-to-hire ratio by 3 to 5 percent. The ROI on that time would be very high.
The following are suggestions recruiters can use to maximize interview performance with a minimum increase of time.
An interview is a sales call so talk sales skills. Helping candidates think of the interview as a sales call gives them an orientation and a structure to prepare for the interview and then guide the interview. Just as a sales person would do, candidates need to define the problem to be solved, understand the company’s needs, and then prepare to communicate how their skills and experience can be applied to solve the problem.
Take a problem solving approach
Recruiters can help candidates define the problem they are being hired to solve and then suggest ways to link their background and skills to solving the problem. An accountant is not hired to do accounting. An accountant is hired to solve the problem/challenge of making sure the books balance. A project manager is not being hired to do project management. They are being hired to make sure projects get done correctly, on time, and within budget. What is the bottom line problem the candidate is being hired to solve? Have them speak to the problem.
Make a sales pitch
Candidates should not depend on the interviewer’s skills and questions for a successful interview. Like a sales person, candidates should be active in the interview communicating why they are a good fit for the position. Recruiters should encourage candidates to be assertive, not aggressive, in making their sales pitch.
Its benefits not features
Most candidates do an adequate job of talking about their background, experience and skills; their features. Few candidates talk about the benefits their features will provide to the hiring company. Simply by asking, “How will your experience provide benefit?” the recruiter encourages the candidate to think about benefits VS features and the advantage of selling themselves on what they can do rather than what they have done. Any discussion between the recruiter and candidate should be focused on the valuable benefits the candidate provides.
The one most important question to ask
Every candidate should have in writing the one most important interview question to ask which is, “Based on my background and experience, what do you think would be the greatest challenges for me in this position?’ This question is essentially the sales objection question “Is there any reason why you would not buy this car today?” The objection question provides feedback about the candidate’s fit for the position from the interviewer’s perspective as well as gives the candidate an opportunity to address any potential objection both in the interview and in the follow-through letter.
By introducing the above five interview strategies and asking questions that help candidates establish a sales orientation, recruiters will go a long way towards better interview preparation. Better interview preparation will result in higher placement ratios and greater customer satisfaction for both candidates and clients companies.