How to BEST Prep Your Candidate For an Interview
Now that you’ve secured an interview for a candidate with your client, it’s time to prep them for the face-to-face encounter to capitalize on this opportunity. Learning how to best prep your candidate for an interview is huge. First, one of the best practices we use at Michael Greg Search (prior to the candidate ‘prep conversation’) is requesting the following from the candidate:
- Research the company in question
- Research the hiring authority (or the person conducting the interviewing)
- Do some industry research (I say industry research because account management skills may be transferable from industry to industry, so if you are sending in an account manager with a telecom background into a healthcare organization, they should be familiarized with the change of industry).
This arms you with a simple metric for when it’s time to hold the candidate “prep conversation,” as you can gauge whether your candidate was compliant with your requests. You now have the opportunity to ask a few simple questions about the company and\or industry and based on their knowledge you can measure how serious your candidate is about the opportunity.
Your next agenda in the interview preparation process should be interview basics. Although rudimentary, we always follow these guidelines as not to overlook step of make a simple mistake:
- Confirm time (and time zone for phone interviews), locations, directions, travel time with possible traffic delays, etc.
- Clarify names of interviewers, including spelling and pronunciation
- Reiterate the importance of punctuality; however, share with that candidate that they should arrive no earlier than 15 minutes (as this may cause agitation on the candidates behalf from excessive waiting)
- Once on company property, treat everyone with respect and courtesy (I’ve seen candidate rejections based on mistreatment of the front desk representative)
- Appearance and Hygiene:
- No heavy perfumes or colognes
- No prior smoking
- No food\drink\gum with you
- Conservative dress (jewelry to a minimum)
- Mobile phones turned off
- Review with the candidate the potential impact of their social media activity. Legally, a client can reject a candidate based on what they see or read on the internet about you. We always advise that candidates lock their security settings in order to minimize what can be viewed about you.
Next, we review the types of questions that may arise. A common form of interviewing style is called Behavioral or Competency-Based interviewing. Questions such as “Tell me a time when…” or “Have you ever had to… and how did you handle that situation”. These questions have no right or wrong answer. The best method to address these questions is with a complete, full spectrum response. Making sure you take the interviewer through the entire process; from the situation you were in; to the actions you put in place;to finishing with the final results.
Finally, we always encourage the candidate to show interest at the end of the interview (provided they would like to move forward with the opportunity). The employer is embarking on a potential investment in you, and they’d like to know your commitment to this role. Ways for the candidate to show interest are offering questions like “Is there anything else you need from me to move forward?” or “What are the next steps in this process as I’m very excited about this opportunity?”
Remind the candidate that it is a professional courtesy to thank interviewers after the interview and to make sure they have the contact information of all key members so they can email thank you notes after they leave.
Best of luck to all of your candidate send-outs, and remember, failing to plan … is planning to fail! Hopefully this helped you learn how to best prep your candidate for an interview – keep checking Michael Greg Search for more interview and job hunting tips!