Table of Contents
News, Training & Commentary by Bill Radin
Avoiding Interview Disasters
control our candidates' behavior during their job interviews?
As recruiters, we'd like to think so. That's why we spend so much time coaching them
how to handle the questions they'll likely be asked.
But once the interview begins, we're no longer the ones gripping the
wheel. It's the
candidates who must steer themselves squarely in the direction of
a job offer -- or hurtle, Titanic-style, into the nearest available
"Oy-vay" Moments I'd Like to Forget
Bob was a sales candidate with a terrific track record. Best of all, he
was perfectly matched for the job I was trying to fill.
"Don't be shy," I told him prior to his interview. "You increased
sales by 1,000 percent in less than three years, and landed several
"Right," said Bob. "I'll be sure to highlight my strengths."
I was so confident Bob would get the job, I nearly pinned my invoice
to his jacket. Unfortunately, things didn't go exactly as planned.
Just as I had coached him, Bob stressed his accomplishments, plus his
mastery of the latest sales techniques. He frequently referred to his
powerful closing skills -- but without ever asking for the job.
"Sorry," said the employer after the interview. "We're going to pass on
Bob. We've found that great closers know how to ask for the order."
Okay, so I forgot to prep Bob to be more assertive. Fortunately, I had
Jerry, another outstanding candidate, lined up to interview. So as not
to make the same mistake, I instructed Jerry to go ahead and ASK for the job.
Which he did. But it seems Jerry also told the employer he really
needed the job because he was unemployed, and might lose his house
if he didn't land a position soon.
"No dice with Jerry," said the employer following the interview.
"Enthusiasm is fine; begging is something we're not real comfortable with."
More than Animal Attraction
The experience with Bob and Jerry reminded me of what can realistically
be gained from a thorough pre-interview preparation session:
1. Confidence. A well-informed candidate will perform at a higher
level than one who's caught off-balance or asks dumb questions.
2. Better use of time. An intelligently briefed candidate will
use the allotted interview period more efficiently -- and will help save
the interviewer's voice.
3. Insight into the intangibles. Every company (and every hiring
manager) has a corporate culture or unique personality. The more
accurately you can describe these traits in advance, the better the
potential "chemistry" between the parties involved.
At the same time, Bob and Jerry also made me painfully aware of the
limitations of interview prep, and how it's unrealistic to
anticipate every conceivable question or script a response for every
If the candidate is fundamentally suited to the job and clicks with the
company, great. But in the real world of interviewing, no amount of
perfume can sweeten the smell of a pig.