Tales from the CryptTale #1 – All hope is LOST
I receive a phone call from my client; my candidate has yet to arrive for her 12pm interview. It is now 12:13pm. I immediately call the candidate, only to get her voicemail. Maybe I didn’t provide the correct details for the interview, or maybe she had an emergency that prevented her from coming to the interview. Why didn’t she answer her phone? After a few agonizing minutes the client calls to inform me that the candidate had gotten lost. Most likely so are her chances of landing the job. Concern now turns to frustration. As a recruiter, I pride myself on presenting quality candidates. As you can imagine, showing up 15 minutes late to an interview can set the tone; a negative tone, needless to say the interview did not go as planned.

Tale #2 – Too much information (TMI)
Last week I was conducting a phone interview with an experienced OR Nurse looking to relocate. The interview was going well and my enthusiasm was starting to build, the position I was trying to fill had been a difficult one. Suddenly the candidate uttered something I had never heard before, “Can we finish this interview tomorrow? “I need to go – my husband just got home and he doesn’t know that I am leaving to take a position in another state.” After a few moments of stunned silence I quickly said, “Sure, I’ll call you tomorrow.” I sat at my desk looked out my window, and tried to process the last few things she had said to me. Did she just say she was leaving, and her husband didn’t know it? Say that in an interview and you’re not opening up a can of worms your putting the tap in a fresh a keg of Worm Light. Refreshingly bold, and best served cold. Note to self: Remind candidate tomorrow not to bring this up during the interview process.

Tale #3 - CanNOdate
“Don’t ever send me another candidate like the one that interviewed today.” And that was just the subject line of the email. Have you ever heard that from a client? This had never happened to me before. My gut feeling about candidates is usually spot on! Where did I go wrong? How could this happen? Long story short, my Manager questioned my candidate on her nursing school experience and the candidate became defensive, and the interview went downhill from there. There is more to the story, but I won’t bore you with the details. The point is I should have spent more time screening my candidate, preparing her for the interview and the Manager’s interview style. Maybe the outcome would have been different.

Okay, no more tales, let me get to the point. We present quality candidates to our clients and part of our job is to ensure that the candidate is prepared for the interview. In the past, this just meant sending the directions, and the date and time of the interview. However, I have learned over the years not to take anything for granted, and that it is important to provide guidelines to my candidates on the “dos and don’ts of interviewing”. Here are some keys to a make or break interview:

1. Dress professionally – It doesn’t matter what type of position they are interviewing for – they need to dress professionally!

2. Be positive – Explain to candidates that they should not talk negatively about a past employer or Manager. Instead, tell them to highlight their experience and the knowledge they gained from the position.

3. Be prompt - Allow extra time for parking and traffic and be respectful of everyone’s time.

4. Bring copies of your resume – The candidate may end up having an impromptu meeting with other people during the interview process and having extra resumes on hand is imperative.

5. Stay on point – Talk to your candidate and let them know that they should not be discussing personal information in the interview. Sometimes candidates get to comfortable and they start opening up about their personal life. Tell them to talk about their experience and provide specific examples. I actually had a Manager tell me once they really liked a candidate but in the group interview the person started sharing personal information. It turned them off and they passed on the candidate.

6. Manager interview style – Be sure to discuss with the candidate the Manager’s interview style. For example, “This Manager really likes to hear specific examples of your achievements so identify those achievements and be prepared to speak to them.”

Finally, I tell my candidates to …… Have a great interview!

Originally posted on Recruitalicious.

Views: 24

Tags: Tales from the Crypt, candidates, interview, recruiter, tips

Comment by Cathy Shere on May 13, 2010 at 12:01pm
Nice article, Laurie. I could share similar stories, but most of all resonant with your point that we not take anything for granted. Having great success in your work can lead to taking things for granted, or dare I say complacency! It just takes one reminders/story like those above to keep us 'on our best game'!
Comment by Jean-Pierre Gadsdon on May 13, 2010 at 12:22pm
Hi Laurie

Great piece, I think we all have our own tales that are similar, male candidate turning up in a dress was one of the best I have in my repertoire.....but could be a recruiter myth!!!

Quick question do you talk your candidates through closing hiring managers, I have read other articles recommending this. I think it can put some hiring managers off and depends on the role itself.

Any thoughts
Comment by Laurie Gentile on May 13, 2010 at 4:26pm
Jean-Pierre -

Thank you! Wow - a male showed up in a dress? I think you win for the most outrageous tale!

Regarding your question, I will certainly discuss the hiring managers interviewing style with the candidate and sometimes depending on the position, will advise the candidate to try to close out the interview by asking what the next step will be in the process. It is necessary, not pushy, to discuss the next action step.

I tell the candidate that if they feel the hiring manager may have a concern, to show understanding and reaffirm why the manager should not be concerned. For example, "I understand your concern; however, (Share information about your background, experience or accomplishments that would illustrate reasons why the hiring manager should not be concerned.)”

Some key questions to offer to candidates when they close out the interview are:

"How do you feel I would fit into your organization?"

I know we have only spend a short period of time discussing the position and my experience, however, my background appears to be a good fit and I am very excited about this opportunity! What would be the next step in the process?

I think your right though, I do it depending on the candidate, the hiring manager, and the position itself.
Comment by Ann Marie on May 13, 2010 at 8:08pm
This is a great reminder for both recruiters and applicants. Thanks for sharing!

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