Recruiters get a bad rap across the internet, which is often deserved. That said, if you’re working with a recruitment consultant and they’ve organised, an interview on your behalf, you need to make sure you get as much information as possible from the recruiter to help with your job interview.
A good recruiter will have a wealth of information both on the company, the hiring manager, what type of candidate they’re looking for and most importantly what you should and should not say in your job interview.
It’s my job as a recruiter to make sure you know as much information as possible before you start your job interview. The more information you have, the less stressed you’re going to be, and the better you’re likely to perform.
The problem is that not all recruiters take the time to ensure that you, as the candidate, are prepared for your job interview. As a result, you need to know what questions you should and should not be asking.
Below is my checklist to make sure you take control of your job interview and perform at your best.
How Long Has The Position Been Open?
Too often over the years, I’ve been asked to work on positions where a full search and interview process has already been completed. In this situation, the right candidate has not been found because of three things; Either, its because the recruiter is very good at sales, and less good at actually finding candidates, or its because the hiring manager has no clue what type of candidate they’re looking for and is totally unrealistic in their expectation, or finally the job has no future and therefore candidates do not want it. All three things mean you’re likely to waste your time.
Replacement or Newly Created
There is no right or wrong answer here, however, if you’re replacing someone, it can be helpful to understand why they’re vacating the position. Maybe they’ve been sacked, in which case you could ask questions around where they failed, or perhaps they’ve been promoted in which case you focus questions around where they were successful and more importantly, use the fact that you’re replacing someone who is being promoted for a reason to why you want to join.
The Time and Location
Yes, this is obvious, and you can probably look on the company website when you do your company research, however, what happens if your interview is not in the main office, but in a subsidiary? The office location can sometimes be in a problematic position which given that the recruiter will have been to meet the client, they should be able to give you directions.
How to Get to the Office
Again, google maps works wonders with this type of question, however, you might as well ask the recruiter. Is the best way to travel to the office by train or is the office too far away from the train station? Are there any traffic or transport delays that you need to be aware of? Remember you need to arrive at least 15 minutes before the interview starts.
What Do You Know About the Company?
You must ask this question to your recruiter as it’s likely to come up in your job interview. A good recruiter should have a wealth of knowledge about their client. The essential facts you need to know are company size, department size, number of employees, company development plans, and company culture. You also need to check their website address and social media sites (Vault.com and Glassdoor.com are useful as well).
Who to Ask for at Reception
Another simple question, but it may not be the interviewer that you’re asking for at reception. The last thing you want is to walk up to reception and say the words “I have an interview, but I do not know who it’s with”.
Who Will Interview You
Your recruiter will most likely have both met the interviewer and will have a good idea of what he/she likes and what they’re looking to hear during the interview. Building rapport with your interviewer is a massive part of having a successful job interview and while I would still recommend that you Google and LinkedIn your interviewer, asking your recruiter what to talk about, is a great question to ask.
How Many Interviewers
There are times when a company will surprise you, however generally if a company sets out a plan to interview you with one interviewer, there will usually be one interviewer, however its always good to know in advance.
The Job Interview Type
There’s a selection of job interview types with each one potentially wanting something different. The key point it to prepare for the likely interviews which includes competency-based, assessment, panel, Group Interview, Phone Interview, Presentation, Case Study. Make sure that you know and have prepared for each type of interview.
What’s the Interview Process
Can the recruiter provide you with any additional information about the interview process or how many other candidates there are in the process.
What Should You Wear
The obvious is to wear a suit, shirt and tie, however, will this fit in with the company ethos? I once went to see an advertising company and was refused a contract to work with them because I did not know their company. I wore a suit and tie; their office dress code was shorts and t-shirts…!!! Other scenarios that you need to check the dress code include out of office meetings and interviews on a Friday when the office has a casual Friday policy.
Make sure that you have the latest job description, and you’ve used it as part of your interview preparation. Ask your recruiter if they know anything else about the responsibilities of the position that can help you with your interview preparation.
Recruiters generally will not make changes to your CV other than adding their contact details. That said, I know many recruiters that will change the layout and may add or remove content before sending your CV to a client. It’s always a good idea to make sure you ask if there have been any changes made to your CV.
The Salary On Offer
Check the Salary on Offer is the same as what your expecting – there’s nothing worse than getting to the end of a great interview to find that the salary on offer is 30% below what your expecting.
Does the recruiter have any candidate feed-back from past interviews with the hiring manager? Maybe you can find out there feed-back on how the interview went and use this information to your advantage.
What Interview Questions Are Likely
If your recruiter has done their homework, they will understand what the hiring manager is looking for in a candidate and therefore what a candidate needs to know to be successful in the role. It’s likely what the hiring manager is looking for in a candidate, they’re going to test through interview questions. This can also help you prepare for the questions.
Hiring Manager Special Questions
What are the hiring managers unique questions? These are questions that a hiring manager always likes to use during their interview. In the past, I have worked with hiring managers that used to ask every candidate how he or she would sell a pen. Thinking of an answer can be difficult, especially if you’re under pressure to perform, but if you know the question is going to come up beforehand, you can quickly prepare an answer.
Do you have any other questions that you usually ask your recruiter before you go for an interview?