Choose your language:
March 27, 2017
By Lisa Dare
Have you ever left a job interview with the miserable certainty that you could’ve done better? Wished you could take back a half-baked answer or add a story of how you succeeded?
While advice-givers may lecture us that preparation is key to nailing your interview, job seekers often don’t have enough information to know what to prepare for. Sure, you can read the company’s “about us” page or the inscrutable job description, but that tells you little about the person interviewing you, the specific problems and opportunities their team has, and what intangible qualities they’re looking for.
Interview prep on...um...performance enhancing regimens
At the risk of sounding biased, I’m going to share something I wish I’d known a lot earlier in my career: working with a professional recruiter can give you a serious advantage in interviews.
1. They can get inside the hiring manager’s brain
A professional recruiting team doesn’t just accept a job description from a client and start looking for candidates. Before that, they have a detailed conversation with the hiring manager.
First, the recruiter wants to find out how they prioritize the skills they’re asking for, because most posted job descriptions aren’t terribly realistic. A good recruiter also digs deeper to find out what personal traits the manager seeks. Do they care more about positivity or blunt truth telling? Are they looking more for education and experience or are they open to eager learners? How critical are presentation and interpersonal skills?
Recruiters who know their stuff also look for details about the client’s upcoming projects. A smart job seeker can use this information to prepare problem/opportunity stories about similar problems they’ve solved.
After a resume has been submitted, the recruiter can find out exactly which parts caught the hiring manager’s eye. It’s one more piece of information that can help during the interview.
2. They gather client site intelligence
Most of the clients TEKsystems works with are long-term customers—and this means we have other consultants and full-time employees working there. Recruiting teams tap those relationships to find out more about what to expect in the interview so you know if you’re walking into a friendly conversation or a panel grilling. Recruiters can tell you whether your interviewer wants to hear longer, nuanced answers or prefers to get down to the essentials quickly.
3. They're privy to feedback you can’t get
While few employers will give you feedback on your interviewing skills, a recruiter can and will. They also have candid conversations about interviews after the fact—feedback you can use to improve your skills, and also feedback from previous candidates’ interviews that may help you know what the hiring manager responds to positively and negatively.
Batting cleanup: What recruiters can do after the interview
Ever worry you didn’t convey your skills and ambition adequately during an interview? Usually there’s nothing you can do about it after the fact.
While a good recruiter can’t (and won’t) try to help you win a job you’re not a good fit for, they can get you to home base in a tight game. First, they talk to the hiring manager to see if there are any outstanding questions or reservations.