February 2nd, 2021

How to control a candidate meeting

Have you ever been in a meeting where you asked the candidate about his/her first role and before you know it, they are running through their entire life story without giving you the opportunity the interject and or ask follow-up questions? Well, you’re not alone.

Here we walk through the ‘how to’ guide for running and controlling a highly effective candidate meeting.

Build a good rapport with the interviewee:

Most people are nervous at the prospect of an interview. Building a sense of commonality and trust before the meeting starts will help the person ease into the interview and feel more comfortable, thus providing clear and transparent information about their history, likes and dislikes.

Set an agenda and manage expectations:

Once a good rapport is built, let the candidate know you will discussing their entire career history with specific questions about each role, company, departmental structures, reason for leaving and remuneration details. This will give the interviewer an idea of what’s coming and will forewarn them follow up questions will be asked to fully understand their unique story. At this point, there’s normally a question about asking to turn the A/C down…

Have a structure to follow:

Knowing what you need to cover and in what order will allow you to take the meeting in the direction you choose and not the interviewee (please see link to best practice candidate meeting structure here). It’s like reading a book, you start at the beginning and read to the end. In the case of recruitment, the ‘end’ is the most recent, so we would start with the candidates’ first job and work to the most recent. Following a set structure for every meeting will allow you to build control, listen (actually listen) to what the candidate is saying and will ensure no important information is missed.

Actively listen:

There are varying degrees of listening, but roughly there’s; pretending to listen, listening to respond and listening to understand – the latter is what we’re aiming for as a professional recruiter. Listening is not something that just happens, that’s hearing. Listening means making a conscious decision to be fully engaged in what the speaker is saying to understand their unique story. Listening is broken into verbal and non-verbal communication (click here for link on active listening). Active listening is also a great way to build rapport with candidates and ultimately build control too.

Know when and how to rein someone in:

When it’s clear the candidate is moving through their experience without you having the chance to ask questions that need to be answered, it can be a little tricky. You will need to politely interrupt the speaker and ask to go back to where you previously were to clarify missing information. At this point, you could reiterate there’s certain information required to ensure there are no mishaps in the recruitment process.

For more information and advice on best-practice recruitment, please reach out directly.

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