July 19, 2018

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Prepping Your Candidate For An Interview

The purpose of thorough interview prep is to give your candidate the best possible shot at getting an offer. You have zero control/influence once the door closes and the interview begins. Consequently, you should do everything possible to ensure that the outcome will be positive. This is especially true in today’s IT market where interviews are scarce.

The length and detail level of the prep is inversely proportional to how many interviews this candidate has had through you. If it is the first one, take more time to prep. Other factors include how receptive your candidate is to your prep. Does she/he recognize the importance of this exercise? Is she/he cooperative and receptive or are you wasting your breath? If the answer is no, you have another problem (candidate control). You also have to make sure that you sell the candidate on the client and the specific opportunity.

The Basics. Tell Your Candidates To:

  • Check out the client’s website.

  • Dress their best; announce themselves 5 minutes early; make a strong opening (good eye contact; smile; handshake; posture).

  • Project a high level of enthusiasm and energy.

  • Ask Open Ended questions, ones that elicit discussion and that cannot be answered with a yes or no. This will demonstrate their interest in and comprehension of what has been discussed thus far.

  • Be prepared to defend their resume, to answer questions in a "net" fashion.

  • Do not bring up money or benefits. If salary comes up, state that the opportunity is the most important factor in their decision criteria. If the interviewer pins you down, give a salary range.

  • Make a strong close (Thank you for your time. "I am very interested; I am looking forward to the next step", etc.).

Other Points

  • Most clients make decisions that are based on chemistry (50%) and technical skills (50%).

  • Do not complain about you current or past employers.

  • Keep a nice dialogue going; do not talk too much.

  • Sell the client on the requisite skills that you possess; what you bring to the picnic table.

  • Maintain a positive attitude at all times.

  • Always give it your best effort. A lot of clients have multiple openings and you may be considered for another area if you impress them.

  • Send a thank you card or e-mail (check grammar and spelling carefully).

Very Important

Role play answers to the following questions and statements:

  • Tell me about yourself.

  • Why are you looking to leave your current job?

  • What are you looking for?

  • What are your strong/weak points?

You will be surprised how weak a lot of candidate’s answers are to these questions. You have to take the time to embellish their answers. Otherwise, they will not come across very well.

-Bill Bostrom
Vice President, Infosys International, Inc.