Our previous topic was about qualifying the candidate for the opportunity and today we will be focusing on the actual interview process of putting the candidate and the client in front of one another. This process consists of not only preparing the candidate but also preparing the client for the interview process.
Let’s begin with the candidate. When we talk to the candidate about the interview process and what to expect, there are several components the candidate needs to be prepared for.
- Research the company: We provide a lot of detail about the company to the candidate but we also request that the candidate also do his or her own research. All of our clients are virtually public companies so finding plenty of information won’t be difficult.
- Research the particular individual(s) he or she will interview with: This could be used as a powerful tool to make a connection with an individual.
Our poster child of doing research on people is an individual we represented several years ago. Through his research he discovered one person attended the same law school as he and another worked at the same law firm, albeit different times. Suffice to say, he interviewed with four different people and had a connection with each one. This was so profound that he received the job offer over other candidates with more technical experience because he found the connection that helped facilitate those interviews.
Another thing we encourage our candidates to do is create due diligence questions for the client because it shows the candidate is prepared. An example of a great question to ask would be- If you were to hire me for the opportunity what would you have wanted me to accomplish within the first 12 months of being hired?
Additionally, we prepare the candidate by making sure his or her value propositions are ready. You can’t waltz into an interview and only talk about your responsibilities because this doesn’t tell the interviewer why you should be hired. You have to explain that you were responsible for a,b,c that resulted in…and then you qualify and quantify your accomplishments. At the end of the day, a client only cares about how you can create value in their world.
Let’s switch over to the client, because oddly enough we also have to prepare the client. We already know what intrigues the candidate about this job, but the client doesn’t. One of our present searches; the candidate wants more international experience. Client X could provide that, but we have to convey this to the interviewer. The interviewer must be vigilant in making the candidate aware that this opportunity exists because this is the dominant reason why this candidate is investigating this job.
We also coach our clients on finding a healthy balance between asking questions to determine if the candidate is qualified and selling the opportunity. Most hiring authorities don’t grasp this concept. The professionals we represent are in high demand and there needs to be a compelling reason why this opportunity is right for the candidate. We’ve already had this conversation with the candidate, but our client has to piggyback off of this; be consistent and reinforce the reason.
One of the final steps of the process is constantly debriefing both candidate and client. This will help us see if there are any objections or concerns that need to be addressed during the process. This can be a long process and may consist of six, eight interviews; so we continually debrief, measure progress and address concerns of either party to stay on track.