In topics surrounding job interviews and the necessary steps that need to be taken to ensure success, responsibility is usually either rightly or wrongly placed on the shoulders of the person applying for a job. From written to visual and even audio media, most content that offers advice centres around how the interviewee should prepare.
Which, at a basic level makes sense, after all, it’s the job seeker that is attempting to “sell themselves” as being the right employee for the role. It’s the job seeker that is under pressure to succeed during the interview and thus overall, it’s reasonable to expect that most content around interviews would center around helping the jobseeker in particular.
However, it’s important to remember, in interviews, everyone from the recruiter to the business to the candidate has a vested interest in making sure the event runs smoothly and thus should all make a concerted effort to come prepared ahead of time.
So, following on from a team lunch & learn session where all the team shared their personal interview rituals, the MRJ team thought it might be interesting/informative to create a blog post around the topic for anyone interested in what prep practices modern-day recruiters should be implementing into their routines/
Ensure beforehand that the overall structure of the interview is understood.
Arguably one of the biggest factors in making sure interviews go according to plan is making sure the candidate is clear on what format the interview is going to take.
Whether the meeting is simply an informal chat or a complex competency test, it’s crucial as a recruiter that you are fully aware and relaying the correct information to your candidate to ensure they are not entering into an interview under an incorrect expectation regarding structure.
However, as one of our Associate Directors Billy rightly points out, there are nuances regarding interview structures that a recruiter needs to be mindful of when preparing a candidate for an interview:
“When relaying the overall structure of the interview to a candidate, you need to tread carefully around the term informal chat… no interview is ever truly informal under the actual definition of the phrase, so its best when talking to a candidate to maybe say that while there is a relaxed tone towards this meeting, it’s still important to go into the conversation with the mindset of it being an interview.”
It may seem simple enough, but how well do you know the personalities behind the two people you are working to connect? are you aware of the candidate’s interests beyond work and do any of them match with the interviewer’s hobbies?
It could be something as simple as a joint appreciation for music or a mutual connection from high school, when preparing for an interview it’s the recruiter’s job to gather as much information about both parties as possible so you can leverage this information and use it to your advantage.
As our CEO/Founder Jody Marks points out:
“If you have done your due diligence as a recruiter, you should have a good rapport with a client and a fairly good idea of who they are as a person – because the thing is, in a way we want interviews to become less about whether the person is necessarily “right” for the job (though that’s still important), and more about whether the person can work well with the other”.
This point is all the more relevant when considering today’s work climate, with organizations over the past year all jointly coming to value the influence positive working relationships can have on productivity. What better way than for a recruiter to promote this by striking up common ground between the candidate and the organization that sits beyond the norms of the standard formal interview process.
This point is probably more applicable to a recruiter that has interviewed more than one candidate for a role, but it should go without saying that to sharpen your toolset and narrow down your search, gathering feedback from both the candidate and the organization following on from an interview is a must.
In doing so, you can receive tanigble and clear insights immediately that if implemented correctly can not only improve you as a recruiter, but also the next candidate that is up for the role. One of the MRJ team, for example, through working with the same client on a number of different roles throughout the years has been able to slowly establish 5 core questions that are always asked during interviews.
Whether it’s seeing if there was a random question asked, (Favorite ice cream comes to mind) or a more technical task thrown in at the last minute, we at MRJ firmly believe that the best interviews are ones that stray beyond simple work formalities and into deeper conversations around who the candidate is as a human being.
So, when looking at each of the points and recommendations raised by the MRJ team and the overall theme that underpins each topic, we can see there is a need for recruiters to go beyond the normal expectations that would be expected for the role. In today's competitive work climate it is simply just not enough for a recruiter to rest on their laurels once an interview is confirmed, but instead to separate themselves and their candidate from the pack and delve deeper.
Thus, to ensure a candidate is correctly equipped for an interview, it is the job of the recruiter first and foremost to make sure that they themselves are equipped for it. Only then can a recruiter be sure that they have done all they possibly can to set up their candidate for interview success.