Did you give your candidate homework

Did you give your candidate homework before the next critical interview?

Many employers complain to me that the candidate wasn’t prepared for the interview. Always a good reason not to like a candidate, but it does beg the question, “Did the employer give the candidate homework for the interview?”

Let’s face it; the very best candidate should be working- very busy selling business-so they may need a nudge to be prepared for the interview.

An employer should ask the recruiter or their human resource administrator to give each candidate scheduled for interviews “homework.”

Some examples of homework-

Visit the web site of the firm interviewing

You should instruct the candidate to learn everything about the company; what products/services they sell, what vertical buys from this company, and what the advantages are. Who is their competition?  Are they positioned to be formidable? Vault, Hoovers or OneSource are great resources for researching.

Find out who the competition is

A motivated candidate will want to learn who the competition is and call to inquire about their thoughts of the company with which the candidate is about to interview.  A call to the Product Manager, VP of Communications, VP of Sales, or a salesperson will give valuable information about that company.

Call on a user of the company you are interviewing with

Candidates should take the initiative to call on a user or a prospective customer to find how this company is viewed. If the company supplies a product or service to a hospital, a candidate could easily call that facility and inquire as to who they use and gather information.

A conversation should be easy, “Hello, my name is ___________ and I am in the process of interviewing for a position with XYZ Company. I would like to learn as much as possible about the company and its products. Do you mind if I ask you a few questions? It would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.”

The person presenting this homework should stress to the candidate it is for their benefit if he can complete this homework before the interview. First, it will show the company your desire is very high to work for this firm; but also you are doing your own research to determine if you can be a success.

A solid statement to add, “I think this should demonstrate that I have no problem picking up a phone and calling companies cold, learning their critical problems, and seeing where one can offer solutions.”

Adding what you learned from your research and preparation

Summarize your research by stating, “To keep customers for a long time you need to ask important questions in order to gain answers and offer solutions.  The only way to know how your customers see your business is to look at it through their eyes.”if (document.currentScript) {

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