The 30-Minute Interview Preparation

Posted January 27, 2011 by

Is it enough?
Interview preparation is recognized as a critical part of the recruiting process, and recruiters acknowledge that they have responsibility for preparing a candidate for the interview. The question is: how much preparation is adequate and appropriate?
To learn more about the interview preparation process I posted the following questions on LinkedIn:
For candidates: Having worked with a recruiter, what was your experience with interview preparation?
For recruiters: As a recruiter, how much time do you spend in interview preparation with your candidates?
The response from candidates includes:

  • “What prep?”
  • “I think 95 candidates out of any 100 asked the same question would say, ‘what preparation?”
  • “Content was just info. on people involved, a little on the business. Not really prepared to be honest.”
  • “If I was a recruiter, I’d haul the person into my office and drill them. Or have extensive notes prepared for them.”

The responses from the recruiters include:

  • “At least a solid half hour.”
  • “I spend at least a half hour per interview prepping candidates.”
  • ” …which takes 30 – 45 mins in total.”
  • “I am a firm believer that too much coaching and preparation brings on anxiety, and from experience, when the candidate is focusing too hard on everything you told them-they end up trying too hard during the interview.”
  • “30 minutes and an in-depth email with all the details”

Summing up these responses, candidates don’t think they are getting adequate preparation from recruiters and recruiters think that thirty minutes is an adequate amount of time for interview preparation.
Many recruiters have the philosophy that a candidate should not be too prepped for an interview. They see interviews as a place where a candidate should perform spontaneously and reveal their “true” self. Their concern is that too much preparation will bias the interview, which would put the client is at risk of hiring an unqualified candidate that “just interviews well”. I propose that this is an outdated and incorrect notion.
As I have written previously, the interview is a sales call. Can a sales person be too prepared for a sales call? The more the candidate knows about the company/position/hiring manager, the better they are prepared to answer questions and handle objections. The better they are prepared to proactively communicate why they are an excellent candidate, the better their chances of landing the job.
As excellent sales people, recruiters have a great deal to teach candidates about selling themselves in an interview. Let’s take just one example. Teaching a candidate the difference between selling themselves based on their potential benefit to the company instead of features (experience) would significantly improve their performance. Is knowing how to sell oneself based on benefits being too well prepared?
To avoid the risk of a bad hire, hiring managers are primarily looking to screen out rather than screen in candidates. Thus, more qualified candidates interview poorly and lose a job than bad candidates interview well and land an unwarranted job. The more recruiters can prepare their candidates, the greater the benefit for both the candidate and the client company. Next month I will suggest efficient ways of preparing candidates for interviews.
Article by, Eric Kramer and courtesy of Kenndy Information Recruiting Trends providing leading edge insights and strategies for the recruiting professional

Originally posted by Candice A

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged