Rethinking candidate interview prep – from recruiter to coach

Preparing candidates for interview is about more than just equipping them with information. The right approach helps pro-actively vet their readiness to interview, and transforms consultants from recruiters to personal interview coaches. 

What makes ‘bad’ prep?

There are many reasons why candidate interview preparation can be ineffective. 

Among others, these include:

  • Not enough time spent on prep by the recruiter, hurried or rushed, no structure or planning
  • Recruiters talking too much, firing information at the candidate without listening
  • Generic interview advice, not tailored to the role or client
  • No feedback or challenge to candidate responses or statements
  • No candidate accountability developed
  • No testing of candidate answers 

Each of these issues can create serious problems later on in the process – although recruiters can check off ‘interview prep’ on their workflows, they haven’t necessarily increased their chances of making a placement.

In some cases, they may have made them worse. 

Articulate & Match

At its core, an interview is flawed before it even starts.

It’s flawed as a concept. 


Because an interview doesn’t actually give someone the chance to show they are the best for the role, it gives them an opportunity to describe or articulate why they’re the best.

What this means for recruiters is simple – they need to coach and enable candidates to articulate their suitability. 

For many candidates, this won’t come naturally and it won’t be obvious how to do it. Recruiters will need to work with them to help them highlight experience, quantify achievements and better showcase their abilities. 

But it’s also important for candidates to show clients the match between their profiles and what the client is looking for.

Recruiters who fail to specifically prepare their candidates in this area are leaving too much to luck – knowing what the client wants and what the candidate has to offer, but trusting that the client independently will make that link. 

Coaching candidates to not just articulate their suitability but explicitly match their profile with client needs dramatically increases the chances of a successful interview, as well as consolidating the sense of a mutual fit on the candidate side. 

It’s not about preparation, it’s about testing

Great interview preparation isn’t about recruiters sharing their information with the candidate. 

It’s about allowing or giving candidates the space to show what they’re prepared already, and helping them to improve. 

By bombarding candidates with ‘insight’ and failing to assess their readiness or how they present their suitability or differentiators, recruiters have no way of gauging how likely their candidates are to perform strongly during interview.

Consequently, they’ve got little to no insight into their own deal pipeline and future revenue. 

Making the jump from recruiter to coach might feel daunting to some, but with the right foundations it’s a game-changer for consultants operating at every level.  

About Barum Jeffries 

Barum is the founder of reclearn- recruitment training that works! and brings over 14 years’ experience training over 10,000 recruiters, managers and leaders to maximise their sales

revenue and build high performing teams.

Combining neuroscience, behavioural psychology and “stuff that just works”, Barum helps businesses to rapidly increase consultant billing, leader capability and supports internal learning & development teams to deliver effective training that gets results.

DOWNLOAD FULL EBOOK: ‘A Recruiter’s Guide To Maximising Billings’ here.