Interviewing is a Two-Way Street

By Veronica Blatt

interviewing-candidates-for-jobOur guest blogger is Pam Robison of J. Gifford Inc. in Tulsa, Oklahoma. J. Gifford Inc. is a small, quality conscious firm providing highly individualized recruiting services to clients on a local, regional, national and international basis. The firm’s recruiting activities are focused on professional, technical and managerial placement, as well as contractor and international staffing for clients. Pam is the Director of the US Midwest Region for the NPAworldwide Board of Directors.

We’ve all been there. We may be at an industry event or simply enjoying dinner with other professional recruiters, and someone will say, “I could write a book with all the stuff I’ve seen over the years.” I couldn’t agree more. I’ll spare the novel and focus on just one of those topics for now. As a professional recruiter I am amazed how many of my clients’ hiring managers lack the skills needed to “recruit” top talent. All too often the hiring manager believes he/she has the leverage in an interview of a potential hire. Depending on the market that may be true, but in this time of historically low unemployment rates the candidate may indeed have the leverage. I know, I’m preaching to the choir. However, in this dynamic, exceptional recruiting skills are critical!

Let’s assume for this example we’ve done our job well. We’ve identified candidates with the requisite skill set and experience level and they’ve passed the initial screenings by HR, etc. Now comes time for the hiring manager(s) to get involved. At this stage, it is paramount everyone involved in the interview process understands we’re still recruiting. Interviewing is so much more than just reading a copy of the candidate’s resume and asking questions like, “So, tell me about yourself.” “Where do you want to be in 5 years?” Of course, telling a candidate more about the position and the company are part and parcel of the interview. Candidates who’ve gotten this far in the process may be fully prepared for stock questions, but they want to know so much more! For instance, what challenges will the department and/or company be facing in the coming year? What are the expectations for the candidate to have accomplished in the first 6 months, or in the first year? Who will they be working with and what will their actual work space look like? Is there anything about this company that sets it apart from others the candidate may be considering? Does the company offer ongoing professional training? Does working for this company promote a healthy work/life balance? What is it like to work here? Why should I want to work here?

Let’s face it, there’s not much worse in the recruiting world than spending many hours (often dragging on for days/weeks) on a candidate search only to have everything fall apart with the most-desired candidate due to a lackluster interview experience. If this describes a client of yours, be proactive. It’s okay to coach your clients on interviewing techniques! Hiring is a two-way street. When a company is interviewing a potential hire, they should understand the candidate is also interviewing them.

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