You’d be surprised how much money we lose by arranging interviews for candidates who are ill-prepared, poorly dressed, and lacking in the basic interviewing skills required to compete in a tight employment market. In our daily activities on a desk, we’re so busy marketing our service and digging for new referrals that we sometimes forget that it’s the successful interview that ultimately pays the rent. All too often, candidate preparation gets put on the back burner.
I’ve found that I can increase my sendout-to-placement ratio by making certain my candidates are well prepared prior to their interviews. To do so means taking the necessary time to help them understand the fundamentals of a successful interview.
In addition, I ask my candidates to read two of the Career Development Reports I’ve written, entitled “Seven Keys to Interview Preparation” and “How to Master the Art of Interviewing.” These 2,000-word essays reinforce the messages I’ve communicated with them verbally, and at the same time enhance my credibility and professional image, since people generally respect the authority of the printed word. Here are a few excerpts from the Reports, as told to the candidate:
Fundamentals of a Successful Interview
In addition to establishing empathy, there are four intangible fundamentals to a successful interview. These intangibles will influence the way your personality is perceived, and will affect the degree of rapport, or personal chemistry you’ll share with the employer.
Both for your sake and the employer’s, try not to leave an interview without exchanging fundamental information. The more you know about each other, the more potential you’ll have for establishing rapport, and making an informed decision.
The Short and Long of It
There are two ways to answer interview questions: the short version and the long version. When a question is open-ended, I always suggest to candidates that they say, “Let me give you the short version. If we need to explore some aspect of my answer more fully, I’d be happy to go into greater depth, and give you the long version.”
The reason you should respond this way is because it’s often difficult to know what type of answer each question will need. A question like, “What was your most difficult assignment?” might take anywhere from thirty seconds to thirty minutes to answer, depending on the detail you choose to give.
Therefore, you must always remember that the interviewer is the one who asked the question. So you should tailor your answer to what he or she needs to know, without a lot of extraneous rambling or superfluous explanation. Why waste time and create a negative impression by giving a sermon when a short prayer would do just fine?
Bill Radin is a top-producing recruiter whose innovative books, tapes, CDs and training seminars have helped thousands of recruiting professionals and search consultants achieve peak performance and career satisfaction.