As professional recruiters working both retained and contingency search assignments, we spend a significant part of our effort preparing both the candidate and the client employer for prospective interviews. Preparing each side to meet and interact removes much of the predisposed tension that is inherent to the interview process on both sides. If each participant of the interview is prepared thoroughly with a detailed mental picture of what to expect, the normal nerves or "butterflies" are lessened and the result is a more fruitful interview from both sides of the table. After all, the purpose of the interview is to discover if a variety of factors match from both sides and to hopefully provide an introduction to what it would be like to work together as part of the same organization.
While candidates and client employers place a tremendous amount of 'weight' on the first interview, from my perspective the most critical part involves the "debrief" or follow up after the first interview. That's why I put forth that the 5 most critical words for candidates are: Call me after the interview. Most candidates and client employers generally perceive the first interview as "make it or break it". I would assert that barring a disastrous performance by either side, very few candidates are hired after one simple interview. Client employers in today's ultra competitive market place are seeking candidates who have good "depth" to them. Generally, it takes more than one interview to determine if a candidate has this "depth". Thus, the debrief after the first interview is a critical step in the process for both sides. As a recruiter, we are tasked with the process of managing the expectations of both candidates and client employers during the process. Both sides must make a concerted effort to provide meaningful and significant feedback to the recruiter so he or she may determine:
1. That there is a high level of mutual interest in moving the process forward.
2. That both sides have exchanged enough information that a framework for subsequent discussion is natural.
3. That any key decision makers are now involved or scheduled to be involved in the subsequent interviews.
Additionally, after this first interview and during this debrief period, it fundamental for the candidate to follow up with written correspondence to the key decision makers that will reinforce their qualifications, key points discussed during the initial meeting and most of all, interest/desire in moving forward. The inexact science of recruiting contains elements of emotion and momentum. Keeping both emotions positive and momentum moving in a positive and timely direction is integral to a strong recruiting effort. The ability of the recruiter to perform for both the candidate and the client employer will be significantly enhanced by following those 5 critical words: Call me after the interview.
Executive recruiter William Werksman is a frequent columnist to job boards including http://www.NevadaJobBoard.com addressing both the candidate's and employer's perspective. Werksman's expertise has been featured in business magazines, national newspapers and television news segments. His firm, Resource Partners, is recognized as the leading source of specialized and executive talent in the Casino and Gaming industry. He manages a staff of recruiters out of his firm's Las Vegas, Nevada headquarters. He may be reached at: Bill@CareerInsider.com