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Preparing candidates for the client interview, the recruitment life cycle stage we're all striving to get to with all of of our candidates. The key to a successful client-candidate interview including a recruiter's interview to offer ratio is directly linked to to how effectively the recruiter prepares his or her candidate for the client interview. Unfortunately, far too many recruiters think that telling their candidate what to say and do in the interview is how you conduct a candidate interview prep. Even more recruiters believe, and have been taught that simply telling a candidate where and what time the interview is, who it is with, or and what to wear is considered "candidate interview preparation."
Previously I discussed the keys to effectively screening and qualifying a candidate’s current situation, their technical skills and experience and how to qualify and establish pay rate/salary history. I also shared best practices for screening and qualifying your candidate’s compelling event and motivators for leaving their current situation/employer and accepting a new opportunity. In this blog I’m going to share with you why recruiters must understand their candidate’s decision making process including how they will arrive at a final decision.
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IT recruiters interested in improving their recruiting effectiveness including client job offer offer to candidate acceptance ratios-particularly with passive candidates, will want to make sure that they know how qualify the candidate's compelling event. Executing the entire IT recruitment process is the lifeblood for any recruiter. Perhaps the most important aspect of screening and qualifying candidates is qualifying your candidate's compelling event and motivators.
Money is a funny thing in our culture. In general people don't go around sharing with other people how much money they make or what they paid for their house or car. For most people, money is emotional. People have different feelings and attitudes toward money. You could it's even taboo to talk about money openly in the public. For these reasons, candidate interviews and specifically discussing salary compensation and pay rate history can become awkward if not executed properly. In this blog I’m going to share tips and best practices for qualifying candidate pay rate including training exercises you can adopt to improve your pay rate qualifying skills. To be a good recruiter and certainly a top performer, IT recruiters must be comfortable discussing money. Recruiters have to learn to get comfortable asking their candidates direct questions about pay rate and salary history. Qualifying your candidate's pay rate and salary history is a key step in the IT recruitment process. The ability to qualifying your candidate's pay rate is the heart and soul of what it means to be a good recruiter. Recruiting is not just about sourcing, recruiting is about good salesmanship. Recruiters who are afraid to ask the pointed questions or push back and challenge their candidate on salary expectations are those who struggle with closing candidates.
Once you have effectively sourced and qualified your candidate’s current situation, you can transition the candidate interview to screening and qualifying your candidate’s technical skills and experience. Screening and qualifying your candidate's technical skills and experience is arguably the most important step in the entire IT recruitment process. But before you make the transition you want to be sure to share a little bit of information with your candidate about the opportunity and client company. This is a critical step because if you don’t share any information with the candidate, you risk losing his or her interest, or turning the conversation into an interrogation. That being said, you also don’t want to share too much information because you want to remain in control of the discussion and continue to qualify your candidate. So it can be a bit of a slippery slope maintaining the candidate's attention level and interest but also controlling the conversation. Be sure to share just enough information to wet their appetite and pique their interest. And remember, to get information, (as a recruiter you have tons more qualifying questions to ask) you have to share information and learn to effectively disarm your candidates. If you always ask for information but never offer any in return, don’t expect your candidate to open up and be fully transparent with you.
One you have sourced your active and passive candidates it is time to begin interviewing and screening your candidates. I think a good and natural place to begin is by qualifying your candidate’s current situation. Uncovering and qualifying your candidate’s current situation refers to the recruiter understanding the candidate's current employment status including:
In this blog post I’m going to highlight best practices for sourcing active & passive candidates. Candidate sourcing, an early stage activity in the overall IT recruitment process, is the recruiting activity of finding candidate resumes that “on the surface,” appear to fit either an open job opportunity or, the recruiter's ideal target candidate profile for candidate pipelining.
If your recruiters make calls that sound like this, "Hello Mrs. Smith, my client is looking for a Java Developer with 5 years of experience in JSP. Do you have that?" then you have your answer. That is NOT a recruiting approach. That is a sourcers approach. Now, I want to be crystal clear, before I get one thousand angry calls from recruiters, I am not saying that recruiters are bad at their job. I am also not saying that sourcers aren't important or that they are ineffective. What I am saying is that in the candidate driven market that the majority of us are in the type of call I described will not yield positive results. I don't think that's news. So why do I hear calls like that one so often?
This article was written by Tricia Bielinski of K2 Partnering Solutions.
I have come to discover that one of the most under-performed activities and under-valued skills in the IT recruiting industry is preparing candidates for client interviews. When I ask sales and recruiters how they prepare their candidates for interviews I get the following responses: "I go over the job description with the candidate" "I give the candidate the client's web site address to research the customer" "I tell him/her who they will be interviewing with" "I tell the candidate what to expect (if known) in the interview" "I give the candidate directions and make sure they have the phone number" "I tell them to come prepared with questions to ask the client" Have you noticed the theme that has emerged here? We are constantly telling the candidate what to do. But where in there are we testing and probing the candidate to understand what he or she has done on their own time to prepare for the interview? Where in there are we testing to see how our candidate will actually perform in the interview? The whole purpose of preparing the candidate for the interview is to put the candidate (and ourselves) in the best possible position for success right? Here are a few ideas and examples on how to tweak your candidate prep process so you can help your candidates increase their odds of nailing their interviews. One Simple Examples Instead of telling your candidates to "research the client's web site," wouldn't it be more effective if we asked the candidate "what did you learn about the client through your research and what questions have you prepared based on that research?" Again, don't we gain much more insight into how prepared our candidate truly is by taking this approach vs. simply telling the candidate what to do? I don't know about you but I want to hear what questions my candidate plans on asking my client. If they're poor or inappropriate questions I want to know beforehand so that I can help my candidate develop thought provoking questions that will garner him/her credibility with my client. Advice Vs. Mock Interviewing Most recruiters and sales professionals I have seen tend to offer their best advice for their candidates on how to answer interview questions. That advice is usually pretty good. But once our candidate goes out on that interview we wait on "pins and needles" hoping they nailed it. That being the case, wouldn't everyone be better off if we did mock interviews to prepare our candidates before the interview instead of simply offering our advice? Instead of "telling." try to focus your time on asking your candidates to explain to you what their plan is for handling the various scenarios a candidate faces when interviewing. Role play those scenarios out with your candidate. Wouldn't you rather hear your candidate's response to the follow questions vs. simply telling them to prepare for the following questions? Tell me about a time where you had deal with a difficult customer? How did you deal with it and what was the outcome? Tell me about your experience with JDBC and Oracle materialized views? In this role you will be responsible for producing "A, B & C." Explain to me where you have done this in your past and what your approach was. The questions here of course are irrelevant. The point is we want to understand how our consultant is going to perform in the interview BEFORE the interview. You can't accomplish this by simply telling your candidate what to do. Conducing mock interviews and asking our candidates to practice their responses to tough interview questions with us is far more effective than simply offering them our advice and "telling them what to do." For every time you want to "tell" or share a piece of advice with your candidate, think of a way in which you can ask your candidate to explain to you what their plan of attack is (and what they have done to prepare) regarding the advice you have to offer. If they are not willing to invest the time to properly prepare.....well you know the answer. And if you need help developing interview questions to conduct mock interviews simply google "interview questions," or go to the "career advice" section of any of the major job boards and they will have plenty of sample interview questions for you to chose from. These are just a few ideas on how to prep your candidates for client interviews. There are a number of other factors that also need to be covered when prepping a candidate for an interview in which case I will try to cover in my future blog posts.