Loxo Blog

Preparing your candidate for a job interview is a lot like giving them dating advice.

You may have recruited the best candidate for a job at one of the most coveted employers in your industry, but unless both parties ace that interview, your efforts are all for not.

Interviews, like dates, can intimidate the most confident of candidates, but there is one clear cut way to prepare your candidates for success.

Think back to your last amazing “first date.” You may have been smitten from the beginning but if your date had not shown interest in you, the relationship would have ended right then and there.

Your date probably left you feeling awkwardly giddy because he or she was interested in you too. They didn’t just listen to or answer your questions; they asked about your experiences and perspectives too.

Much like an amazing date, an amazing interview is two-sided. Even if a candidate has all of the right answers, if they are not expressing interest in the employer, the conversation will end after round one.

The best way to prepare your candidate for the best date (or interview) of their life, is to help him or her figure out what questions to ask their interviewer.

In fact, every candidate regardless of industry or position, should expect the same question at the end of every interview:

“What questions do you have for us?”

Asking great questions has two powerful outcomes for your candidate:

  1. Asking great questions helps the interviewer to know that a candidate cares enough about the role, that they took time to research and prepare for the conversation. Much like a date, if you showed up only to talk about yourself, your date would leave thinking you weren’t interested in what they brought to the table.
  2. Asking the right questions can position a candidate as the most qualified person for the role. When your candidate asks questions tailored to the role they are pursuing, they are seen as someone who understands the needs of the organization and is capable of meeting expectations.

Even the most confident and senior of employees can fumble under pressure though. If they know what questions to ask — and what responses they hope to hear — they can leave any conversation knowing they have the answers they need to make a decision and leave their interviewer impressed.

Whether your candidate is going into an interview or a date, the best advice you can give them is how to express genuine interest in a role they are working toward.

As their recruiter, you are the only person that knows their sincere interests, concerns and requirements. Because you have identified your candidate’s needs, you can help them come up with questions that garner transparent answers and position them as the best person for the job.

The following questions will show any hiring manager that your candidate is excited about their potential role and is serious about understanding the organization’s values and cultural norms.

  • How has this position evolved? Why is this position open?
  • What does a successful hire look like for this role?
  • How have previous employees succeeded in this role? What are the qualities of successful employees at this organization?
  • What have you enjoyed most about working here?
  • If offered this position, what are some ways that I would collaborate with my manager?
  • What challenges will the person who fills this role face?
  • How does your organization celebrate successes and deal with failure?
  • What are the top priorities for the person in this role over the next 2–3 months?
  • How do you think my experience to date would add value to your team?
  • Is there anything else that I can share with you that would help you determine I am the right person for this job?
  • What have you enjoyed least about working here?

Then, there are questions not to ask. Just ask any hiring manager if they’ve wanted to disqualify an otherwise great candidate because they started negotiating a starting salary before they were asked to come back for a second interview.

Share these quick tips with your candidate before their interview — you know, just in case they get nervous under fire.

  • Steer clear of asking questions that can easily be found on the employer’s website or in the job description that was provided to you. Asking questions about the vision of the company, when it is touted across every page of the employer’s website, makes it clear that you didn’t do your research.
  • Avoid asking about perks of the job until you’ve received an offer. If you ask about perks too early in the game, it may seem like you’re more interested in the benefits than the work. You wouldn’t ask a first date if you could celebrate the 4th of July on their parents’ boat would you? Don’t ask your future employer about their vacation policy in your first interview either.
  • Diva-like attitudes are not a fit for any company. Asking questions about how the hiring manager can accommodate you in your new work space will make it clear that you are going to be difficult to manage.
  • Do not ask questions that make you seem untrustworthy. Even if you are wondering if a drug test is the next step in the interview process, you never want to make it seem like you have something to hide.

You are great at what you do and we know you have top-of-the-line candidates, but unexpected questions come up when nerves are abundant.

If your candidate is uneasy about their upcoming interview, offer to set up a mock interview that focuses on questions to ask.

As coach used to say, “Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.”

Our team wants to help you make the perfect hire so please do use our blog as a content resource for your marketing efforts. Share some of these key points in a PDF with your letterhead or just email these tips to your candidates who are preparing for their next interview.

Loxo Blog