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Are Your Client Interviews Really A Two-Way Street?

We’ve already agreed that it's standard practice to prep a candidate for interview and doing this well can significantly increase your interview to placement ratio. But how many of you prep the client? You can see results go through the roof if you’re taking care of the client end of the process as tightly as you maintain candidate engagement.

In my experience, client/line manager interviews tend to fall into two categories:

  1. The interviewer who talks at the candidate; tells them about what’s expected, what they must be able to do etc. Often, this is from their personal perspective, rather than the company viewpoint.
  2. The interviewer who interrogates the candidate, which usually includes outdated ‘read it in a book’ interview questions.

This will undoubtedly effects the level of interested feedback from your candidates and you can only hope to mitigate through candidate prep. and your own knowledge of the client.

Neither approach enables the candidate to show what they’re capable and worse than that neither of them showcases the company.

When I was operational, I used to tell my clients that my responsibility goes further than simply resourcing for their role, I was their brand ambassador. They are sharing the good, the bad and the ugly with me, so I can accurately match for a candidate who will accept and stay.

My point is that what may appear to be ‘flaky candidates’ could be missed engagement opportunities by your client.

Some of these tips will serve as a reminder, be honest “are you really do this consistently with every role and every client?”

Educating clients

Firstly, how are you pitching the role to the candidate? Let the client know what is it about them and the opportunity that is of most interest.

Remind the client why you submitted them in the first place. What was it that made the client agree to see your candidate? This will subliminally direct the interview to your candidates most relevant experience and encourage the client to share more detail on the areas of interest to the candidate.

We always tell a candidate that the interview is two-way, so help the client prepare the company story. Ask them:

  • If we went into your company and spoke to five people, what would they say about working ‘here’?
  • Who are your best clients and why?
  • What will a day in the life at … look like?

Feedback on the most powerful messages and encourage them to share them with the candidate/s.    

Candidates begin their relationship with your client before they attend the interview. In the Talent Board survey 49.27% of candidates indicated they had either been a customer or knew an employee as a friend or family member. Even without direct links to the brand, the research, reputation and messaging of a client’s brand 

What’s the client’s ‘career page’ like? Can you offer some improvement recommendations? Your candidates will be checking this page out and possibly their Glass Door reviews.

If you want to see a great clip on how this is done well, check out Dropbox “what’s it like to work at Dropbox”. I’m not a techie and I want to work there!

Working at Dropbox

How do they keep in touch with candidates once offered? Do they maintain contact and make them feel they are part of the team already?

Now I think of it, there’s probably more interview prep. For the client than the candidate!

It might not be ‘flaky candidate’s’ that’s stopping those placements!


Tracy Filler

Willow Training Services Ltd

119 Milton Keynes Business Centre

Foxhunter Drive, Linford Wood, Milton Keynes, MK14 6GD

(t)   Direct Dial  01908 711 625 

(t)   Main 01908 711619

(m) 07917 224 525


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Connect with Tracy Filler on LinkedIn


Candidate Experience, by Talent Board Survey

Willow Training Client feedback

Emma Browning HR Consultancy Client research