Even experienced recruiters can overlook the importance of fully preparing their candidates for interviews. As recruiters, we have an obligation to tell our candidates everything we know about the people and organisation. You must be prepared to tailor your advice to each individual because they may not know how to make their skills shine. This is your opportunity to pass on your professional expertise to secure your candidate the position they want.
You will know that confident candidates make a lasting impression. So, by preparing your candidates as well as possible, you’ll help them to feel self-assured so that their experience can do the talking, rather than their nerves. Here are a few reminders to bear in mind:
Give your candidate constructive criticism
Before you put your candidate forward for any role, don’t be afraid to have a difficult conversation. Things like chewing gum; having phones on the table during interviews; looking scruffy, and having an unprofessional email address are all things you need bring up, if necessary. The conversations don’t have to be personal. Instead, frame these points so that your candidate feels as though they are a standard part of your due diligence process.
Strengthen their weaknesses
Candidates are likely to have some weaknesses – whether it be gaps in their working history or evidence of job-hopping on their CV – so ask them to think about how they can frame them positively. Perhaps they took some time out to travel so that they could gain some soft skills, which they can apply to the role they’re applying for.
You should also prepare candidates to discuss their weaknesses and give examples of difficult situations that they’ve faced in previous roles. Give your candidate the tools they need to make an interviewer feel as though they have learned from these situations and are able to deal with adversity confidently, using their problem-solving skills.
Set your candidate up to answer common questions
Interviewers commonly ask candidates to talk about what they consider to be their biggest achievement. Request that your candidate writes up and memorises some of their biggest professional achievements and instances where they have added value to their employers in the past. Encourage them to think of achievements that are relevant to the role they are applying for so that the interviewer can see their potential for similar successes in their company.
If you can glean the future direction of your client’s organisation from the briefing process, you could even ask your candidates to tailor their answers so that they highlight the skills that will help to achieve these long-term objectives.
Prepare them for the interviewer
So that your candidate has the best possible opportunity of securing the role, you should share everything with them that you know about the organisation – good and bad. This includes the personality of the people they’ll be interviewing with. You are likely to have met their future managers, so pass on your thoughts on what they are like. This will give the candidate a better idea of what to expect and help them to prepare answers that are more likely to appeal to these personality types. Doing so will also enable your candidate to make a qualified decision about whether they think they will thrive among these kinds of personalities.
Talk them through the practicalities
It may seem obvious but so many candidates risk their chance of securing a role by failing to prepare for their journey. When you have set the date, time and location of the interview, you might like to run through logistics like parking, train times or road closures to make the interview day as smooth as possible. If the interview is out of office hours, you may also have to prepare special instructions for when your candidates arrive.
About the author: David Morel is the CEO/Founder of Tiger Recruitment, one of London’s leading secretarial/administrative recruitment agencies. David founded Tiger in 2001 and has written extensively in the press and wider media advising both employers and job seekers on best recruitment practice.