Your Candidates Will Interview Better With This Kind of Prep

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Aug 28, 2013

Dear Barb:

Is it possible to improve the communication skills of my candidates? I’m amazed how badly my candidates are interviewing. They reveal too much personal information and ask self-serving questions. They did fine when I interviewed them, but don’t interview well with my clients. The frustrating part is they have the experience, education and skills my clients want, they just don’t know how to interview. Am I the only recruiter having this issue?

Scott C.

Portland, OR

Barb Responds

Dear Scott:

I don’t believe anyone who comes to us is great at interviewing, unless they are a job-hopper, or have interview or sales experience. The interview process is uncomfortable and nerve wracking for most individuals. I believe it is our prep and debrief process that helps our candidates outshine and interview better than their competition.

The information you obtain during your debrief process, can provide vitally important information for you to share during your prep. This is one process that needs your commitment and 30 minutes of your time. The prep needs to be conducted when your candidate can openly talk, which is often during evening or weekend hours.

To set up a prep, explain to your candidate that you have inside information that could give them a competitive edge. They must understand the value to themselves to commit to this conversation.

Part one of your prep is describing each function of the job and asking three questions:

  1. Have you done this?
  2. Is this something you want to do in your next job?
  3. Please give me a specific example of when you did this?

Then you ask the most important question: Does this sound like a job you would accept today? The most important word in this question is today. If they say anything but yes, you must address their concerns before you move on to part two.

Part two of your prep is role playing questions and answers. You ask questions and listen to their answers. You also help them prepare questions that will reveal the priorities of the person conducting the interview.

The prep you conduct with both your candidates and clients is what will result in more job offers and placements or fills.

If you’d like a copy of our prep or debrief form, send your request to I’m glad to share it with you.

Barbara J. Bruno, CPC, CTS

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