Don’t you Dare “Interview My Candidates!”


It’s one thing to convince a new client to abandon the old way of engaging a recruiting firm and embrace the best way to conduct a search by retaining us, and it is still yet another thing to get them to dispense with the old mindset of “interviewing” the potential candidates that we bring them.

Their default is to have the standard “behavior based” interview questions and ease into increasingly complex follow up questions to really vet them and see how they respond under the pressure of the moment. The problem is that if they conduct that type of interview, they will turn the person off. I often tell my clients, please don’t interview this prospect. Your job in the first call is to sell the dream. Tell them why you joined the company and what still charges you up about being part of the company. Talk to them about your vision of where you plan to take the company. Your primary goal is to get this person excited about the opportunity. Most recruiters don’t know what it’s like to be recruited, so they miss a major factor in the recruitment process when dealing with what I call a “prospect.” this is someone who you’ve networked to find plugging away in their job and they are very happy where they are. Most recruiters, once they hear this, turn the call into a call for referrals. But a good recruiter will engage their curiosity to the point that they are “open to an exploratory conversation with your client. I have found these to be some of the most incredible people to place. They don’t have a resume on the Internet, nor have they even updated it in years. It will take a phenomenal opportunity to attract this prospect and engage them as a candidate.

If you are lucky enough to bring this person to the table for an “interview,” your client BETTER NOT INTERVIEW YOUR CANDIDATE, or they will be turned off and the door will close.

So it is not merely enough to convince your client that working on retainer is better for them than contingency. You have to prepare them for this on advance.

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One thought on “Don’t you Dare “Interview My Candidates!”

  1. I like the way you say this, although “tongue in cheek.” There is something to be said for this, however as a Contingency Recruiter, we don’t have the luxury of coaching clients because we rarely have access to the actual decision makers. HR keeps us at a distance because they always want to control every single detail. So you are right that we can’t really bring this type of candidate because it will be a complete waste of time. No one will be happy because the HR person thinks the candidates didn’t sell enough and the candidate thinks, why leave a good thing. Thanks for your insight.

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