Prepping Your Candidates

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Prepping Your Candidates

This Is The Best Self-PR Exercise You Can Do.

In my opinion this is the most important part of our jobs, not qualifying candidates for a role and not closing them to accept an offer. Don’t get me wrong, both of those things are important but if your candidate cock’s up the interview then your initial qualification call is irrelevant, and you won’t have anything to close anyway. I cannot stress how important it is to prep your candidates for every interview they have and if you don’t do it yet, then you need to start right now.

There are two main reasons why this is so important, first off, you genuinely can influence how they perform in the interview, no matter who says otherwise, it is not out of your hands once they are booked in, but this all comes down to the prep. Second, this is a great self-PR exercise, this is where you get to really show your stuff and make yourself stand out compared to the other agencies they may be working with.


So, let’s start with reason number one. The fact that you can genuinely influence and have an effect on your candidate’s performance in an interview. It’s true, it’s a fact. Do not be influenced by people who say otherwise. I’ve heard it too many times where people will say things like ‘it’s down to the candidate to get the job’ and ‘it’s out of my hands, there’s nothing I can do now’. Of course, you can affect the outcome, and if you are reading this shaking your head thinking you can’t then please keep reading and then read it again. It all comes down to the prep itself. Everyone has their own way and style of prepping candidates. And if you think you can’t affect your candidate’s performance then without sounding too blunt, then maybe your prep is wrong. The two go hand in hand, if you think you can’t then you’ll prep them with that mindset.

Are you doing enough in your preps? Are you spending as much time with them as you perhaps know you should?

Are You Still Going Today?

Just calling them up the morning of the interview to see if they are going and if they have the address is not a prep!

Try something for me, if you are of the opinion that your prep can’t affect an interview, then just try this right now and think ‘what can I do to positively effect and influence my candidate’s interview?’ Whatever ideas come to mind are all good ideas, write them down, save them and use them next time round. Play around with them and expand on them, keep doing that until you get a prep you are happy with. This is not a fool proof plan, it will not guarantee you an offer for every candidate you have interviewing, that’s impossible, but it will up your game which is what I will go into next.


Reason number two, this is a great self-PR exercise. Yes, helping the candidates should be our priority, but a great prep can also help you. And it’s not a bad thing to think that either. In fact, if this is what it takes you to think differently about prepping your candidates then so be it.

You will have a much better relationship with your candidate if you spend time on the prep, they will feel like you are on their side and there to help, not just to close a deal and to move on to the next.

The reason this is a great self-PR exercise is that, not everyone out there prep’s their candidates. So you will automatically stand out compared to any other agency they are working with, and that may be reason enough for them to accept your offer over someone else’s. I have had it happen to me, where a candidate has had two offers or more on the table and has accepted mine because of the time I took to prep for them for the interview, to genuinely help them. I’ve had candidates come back to me months later if they have unfortunately taken someone else’s offer to either refer me someone they know or to ask me to help them find their next hire, again all because I spent time prepping them. It’s also a very small world out there, and you have no idea who they know, which is why it’s important to prep every single candidate you have for every single interview they have. And do it the same way every time, no shortcuts. Lay the ground work now, show them you know your stuff, show them you are there to genuinely help them and you will reap the benefits one way or another.

Show Them What You’re Made Of.

I pride myself on my prep’s, you should too, this is the part where we get to really show our stuff. It’s not all about learning the tech jargon and using buzz words. This is about showing them you are a professional recruiter who knows how to help their candidates do the best they can for every interview they have giving them the best shot they can.

Once you’ve read this, spend some time going over your current prep and what you can do to improve it. Are there gaps in it? Are you emphasising the most important parts? Are you sending them all the info they need, LinkedIn profiles, social media links, news or blog articles? What would you want to know before going to an interview?

Just be honest with yourself, are doing all you can and could you up your game? 

About the author

Hi, I’m Chris Hart, my day job is as a Team Lead for Client Server in London, but I’ve also recently created and launched a new industry blog called The Recruiter Index. It’s less than a month old so it’s still in the early stages of growing but it’s growing on a daily basis at the moment. I wanted to create a place that people could go to for free advice for all the problems we face as Recruiters, but I also wanted it to be modern and honest advice as I felt a lot, not all, advice out there was written like it was written in the 80’s. The plan is to have lots of different Recruiters contributing to it so it becomes the hub or platform people go to for advice and also to grow their own personal brand by getting their thoughts and experiences out there. So if you want to contribute something then get in touch.

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