How the Best Recruiters Prepare Candidates for Sendouts

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Jan 26, 2016
This article is part of a series called Tips & Tricks.

If you’re sending candidates to interviews and they’re not getting hired, it may be that your hiring manager could use help with their interview skills and probing for adequate information, or that your candidate didn’t present well despite being a strong sendout.

One way to mitigate both circumstances? Prep your candidates. It may seem like one more time-eater on your already overfull to-do list, but consider this: Helping your sendouts prepare for interviews can reduce your sendouts per hire by as much as 30 percent. That means you’re setting up fewer interviews and spending less time going back out for searches to replace the candidate that didn’t fit, for whatever reason.

And a prepared candidate not only presents better, they can actually help weak interviewers by using their knowledge to subtly guide the interview.

So how do you achieve that combination of quality and quantity that results in the most (and best) placements? Take a tip from how the top recruiters prepare their candidates for sendouts.

Research the Company

We’ve heard it (and said it) a thousand times. But before your sendout goes to the interview, have them research the company they’re interviewing with. Tell them how crucial company research is (one of the top 10 interview questions is “What do you know about the company?”) and have them look at the company through a variety of lenses like their website, social media and search results.

Then, before the interview, quiz them and role play the interview.

Pick two or three of these essential topics to test their knowledge on:

  • Values
  • Mission
  • Culture
  • Earnings calls
  • Quarterly reports
  • Blog posts

Then, role play a couple of questions the interviewer is likely to ask. For example, “What’s the company’s biggest growth opportunity in the next 5 years?”

While role playing, coach the candidate to work in information about the company. “I know it’s geeky, but I was watching the company’s stock price and noticed it hit an all-time high thanks to your latest product release. So, I think …”

Another great way to help candidates prepare is to train them to set up Google Alerts with industry keywords. Set them to send daily – they’ll keep your candidates updated on the latest industry news and trends, making it easier to effortlessly work industry knowledge into the interview.

Prepare an Elevator Speech

As with any sales opportunity, having an elevator pitch is key. Help your candidate prepare and rehearse theirs, so they can quickly and confidently state why they want the job. Use this as a springboard for other common interview questions, like:

  • Tell me about yourself
  • What interested you about this job?
  • Why will you excel in this role?

The Clothes Make the Sendout

We know it’s another “duh” tip, but it is one candidates still miss: the importance of dressing correctly. As the recruiter, you’ll know the company’s culture and what’s appropriate for an interview. Counsel the sendout on the appropriate attire and also remind them:


  • Turn off their mobile phones
  • Don’t wear heavy scents
  • Don’t smoke before the interview
  • Don’t bring in food, drinks or gum


Prepare a Problem, Actions, Results Strategy


The secret to a great interview is great storytelling. And a Problem, Actions, Results (PAR) strategy gives your sendout concrete examples of how they excelled in a difficult situation. Not only are PARs compelling testimonials, they make a positive first impression and can give sendouts the edge in landing the job.


When preparing this strategy, have the candidate write down three times they successfully solved a problem. Then break each story down into the problem, action and results, editing answers until they’re succinct and data-driven.


Coach the candidate on how to best work in the stories – and remind them to get to the punchline early, then back it up with results. They should be prepared to use all three in the interview.


Preparing sendouts for interviews is one of the top recruiters’ secret weapons to improving placement numbers. While it takes time up front, it reduces the number of sendouts and frees up the time you’re currently spending searching for replacements.


You can’t eliminate all of the potential issues in an interview, but helping the best candidates become the best interviewees will not only increase their confidence, it will help hiring managers with average interview skills focus on what’s important: hiring the right candidate.

This article is part of a series called Tips & Tricks.
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