How to work smarter, not harder, as a recruiter – Part 1

Expert AdviceThere are few places in the process as likely to help you make more money than the interview preparation. In all my years of recruitment training and working hands on as a billing manager I have always stressed how important this really is. Health warning – watch out for competitors who will work smarter AND harder!!

Our industry is unique in the type of selling that takes place. Firstly we must acknowledge that it is a multiple step sale with each requiring the need to close both our clients and candidates on different objectives throughout the process. We deal with two very distinct types of customer. Already, there are those who go wrong at this point. There are those in our industry who see candidates as a “product” rather than customer. Both of our customers need to have their expectations met if we are to successfully make a placement. Even in the current climate of high unemployment, candidates have certain expectations.

How do we minimise the chances of things going wrong? Manage the process properly and exercise control. For this model let us assume a single stage interview process:

Step 1 : Prepare the client for interview

How many of you prepare your clients for interview? I know consultants who prepare their candidates really well for an interview, they go into the interview positive, confident and armed with some good questions and the client is a wet lettuce! The candidate then pulls out of the process as they don’t feel like they have been interviewed and really don’t know any more about the role before they went in!

Consultant: “when did you last interview a Sales Manager? (example)?”

Client: “About a year ago I guess..”  OR “yesterday.”

Consultant: “How do you feel about this interview? Some of my key clients find it useful to run through a few interview questions before hand…what are the key things you are hoping to test the candidates on? How will you decide who is the right candidate for your team?”

OR

Consultant: “Really? Who did you see? How did they get on? How did you feel about the interview? Some of my key clients find it useful to run through a few interview questions before hand…what are the key things you are hoping to test the candidates on? How will you decide who is the right candidate for your team?””

Suddenly, before you even know it you are writing the interview questions with the client! The client will love it too….Certainly something that justified a full fee with my clients in the past.

Consultant: Naturally, as you are already aware, candidates like this are in short supply and high demand. How are you going to describe this role and your organisation to them if you feel they are the right candidate?”

Use this to test if they are going to be motivated to sell the company and the position. If not – coach them.

Consultant: “What in particular do you see makes this particular candidate of interest? What weaknesses, if any, do you perceive currently?”

Make sure the client has got all they need for the interview (CV, room booked, questions prepared) and then move on to the candidate(s).

Step 2 : Prepare the candidate for interview

The majority of consultants I know are pretty good at this. Clearly with the above approach with the client there will now be additional things that could help the candidate get an offer.

HEALTH WARNING – When the client tells you the questions they are going to ask do not share these with the candidate. I learnt this the hard way. Painful. CERTAINLY share with the candidate the areas they are hoping to test the candidates on and give them advice as to which areas they should prepare the most for.

Make sure they know where they are going, how to get there, who they are seeing and what time they should arrive (not what time the interview starts). Conduct your normal interview preparation and instill upon them they have to phone you as soon as they come out of the interview with benefit to them.

Consultant: “To ensure that I can get you as pertinent and meaningful feedback as possible I need you to call me as soon as you have left the building. This will then allow me to phone the interviewer as close as possible to the interview finishing so I can reinforce the positive impression you have left with them and maximise the probability of you being offered the role. How important is that to you?”

Candidate: “Err, very I guess.”

Consultant: “Good, here’s my mobile number. Remember call me as soon as you leave the building and good luck!”

Job done. Next post – Debriefing Candidates and Clients.

Related Posts:

How to work smarter, not harder, as a recruiter – Part 2

The 7 deadly sins of recruiters

How to succeed at sales- Top 10 tips for planning success


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