Prepping Your Candidate

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Good news. All the hard work you have done developing the client and recruiting the best candidate boils down to this moment. An interview request. Yes! Now, just call the candidate, set the interview and Bob’s your Uncle, right? Wrong. There’s work to be done! Recruitment is all about stacking the odds in your favor. An unprepared candidate could be a disaster waiting to happen. You job is to do everything in your power to prepare your candidate for success.

The best analogy I can think of is landing a plane. As a Private Pilot – I know that landing the plane is not only the most critical phase of the flight – it is also the busiest (and most stressful) time in the cockpit. After all, we’ve come this far – it would be a shame not to get on the ground safely!

Firstly, take care of the logistics. You have to ensure that interview actually happens, on time! You’d be amazed how many recruiters fall at the first fence.

All Interviews:
1. Make sure you understand your Client’s interview process. In addition to where and what time, how long and with whom? Ask your Client if they have any suggestions or preparation tips for your candidate. Check Dress code. Share information with candidate. (More on Prep later)
2. Make sure that the interview is confirmed, in writing, and acknowledged by BOTH parties (your client and candidate) at least one day prior.

Face to Face Checklist:
3. Call your candidate the night before to fully prep them. Help them plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before the interview. (map, traffic etc.)
4. Ask the candidate to text you upon arrival at the client. Call your Client and confirm that your candidate is in the lobby.
5. Wherever possible (I have even flown in for this) – meet your candidate 30 minutes before the interview in the lobby so that you can prepare and motivate them. Stick around and introduce the candidate to the Client. This will do wonders for your relationship with the Candidate and the Client and give your interview:offer ratio a solid boost.

Phone Screen Checklist:
6. Call your candidate the night before the phone screen to fully prepare them. Tell them that you will be calling half an hour prior to the interview.
7. Call your candidate half an hour before the interview to ensure that he/she is ready to roll and has a meeting alarm set for 5 mins before the interview.
8. Land lines are preferable. If not – make sure the candidate has scoped out a private area with great cell reception – 5 bars!
9. Call the Client 15 minutes before the phone screen to confirm that your Candidate is ready for the phone screen
10. Text your candidate 5 minutes before the phone screen to wish them the best!

Follow these instructions to the letter to mitigate the #1 reason that interviews don’t happen: no shows!

An interview should not be a reactive-only environment – but, rather an opportunity for the candidate to present their achievements and skills in the context of the job at hand. Make sure that your candidate has a proper understanding of the position and it’s requirements. (ie. what business problem is your client looking to solve – as opposed to what software skills do they need in a candidate). In my next article – I will be sharing my Checklist for the Prep Call that you make the night before the interview. Thrilling stuff!

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I am fascinated by the spectrum of challenges facing Recruiters and Agencies in their quest to grow revenue. What is the biggest problem you are facing right now? I will get back to you inside 24 hours with some real pearls of wisdom...

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