How to Coach Your Candidates to Ace Difficult Interviews

When your candidate reaches interview stage, it’s easy to think your work is done. How things go from here is solely down to them, right?

This is not the case, and thinking like that could cost you the placement.

Your knowledge and experience is invaluable to your candidates, and it’s in both your interests to help them out.

Here are some things you can do to help your candidate nail that dream role (and secure your fee!).

Show them the S.T.A.R Method

Recruiter-helping-a-candidate-out-of-a-hole-shaped-like-a-questionThere is a strong chance some competency-based interview questions will come up during your candidate’s interview (e.g. questions that begin with “Tell me about a time…”).

These are the kinds of questions that candidates find difficult to answer – especially if they’re unprepared.

Introducing your candidate to the S.T.A.R method will give them a useful framework for these types of questions.

S.T.A.R is an acronym for:

Situation: Describe the situation that you were in - provide some context around your example if necessary but keep it concise

Task: Explain the task that this challenge presented to you

Action: Describe the actions you took to complete the task

Result: Share the outcome you achieved (always good to share numbers at this point).

Introduce them to this method and your candidates will become interview super S.T.A.Rs (see what I did there?) and they’ll also see you more as a recruitment expert – the key to earning candidate loyalty points!

Prepare them for abstract interview questions

feedback clients business development speaking interviewInterviewers love to throw abstract questions at candidates to gauge honesty.

Our Chief Fish Wendy is a bit of an expert at this, and has been known to ask interviewees things like: “What 3 words would your Mum use to describe you?”- one that throws many a candidate off!

The good thing about abstract questions like these is that employers tend to ask the same ones, so you can give your candidate a list of a few humdingers to practice!

But the real trick to giving a good answer to an abstract interview question is to be entirely honest, show their personality and try not to give the answer they think will get them the job.

Abstract questions are about getting under the candidate’s skin, so the best way to pass the test is give the interviewer the insights they’re digging for.

Run through their weaknesses

The one question everyone dreads at an interview is this: “What is your biggest weakness?”

But it’s easy to coach your candidates to answer this. The important thing is that they understand that the interviewer isn’t asking this fishing for a reason not to hire them – it’s an opportunity for them to demonstrate important qualities like self-awareness, accountability and the desire to always improve.

Running through weakness prior to interview will mean they’re totally prepared and also gives you some insight to pre-empt any potential post-interview objections from the interviewer too.

Make sure they know their CV inside out

silly questions recruiters-minThere’s nothing worse than a candidate who doesn’t know their own CV. All this does is scream out to the interviewer that they’ve embellished their CV or thrown it together quickly to get an interview.

But really, the candidate should be able to talk through their employment history without looking at their CV. They should also be prepared to elaborate on areas such as projects, achievements, duration of employment and the reasons they left a job.

Interviews can be stressful, so it’s easy for your candidate’s mind to go blank. Running through your candidate’s CV with them to jog their memory before an interview will avoid any embarrassing moments where they forget the last few jobs they’ve had!

Perform a mock interview

They say that practice makes perfect and this is definitely the case when it comes to job interviews.

If a candidate is nervous or the interview process particularly intense, performing a mock interview in advance is a brilliant way to get them ready and iron out any stumbling blocks.

The whole point of the mock interview is to help build your candidate’s confidence before the real event, so make sure you give them plenty of time to absorb your feedback and don’t be too hard on them. You can leave that to the interviewer!

Download the eBook below to learn how to prep your candidates for interview and increase their chances of landing the job. 

How to Prep a Candidate for Guaranteed Interview Success

David Connolly

David is a Senior Growth Outreach Specialist at Firefish. After working as a 360 recruiter, he loves innovating recruitment with Firefish Software.

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