Ever wondered what clients REALLY say to the recruiter after the interview? The story below is 100% true and was taken recently during a call with one of our favourite clients. However, this feedback is not isolated to one person. We hear EXACTLY the same thing (in slightly different formats) over and over….so read on to find out what you need to do to ensure the feedback after your interview is as positive as it can be.
I’m currently working with a fantastic client in the FMCG sector. His business has experienced year on year growth over the past 10 years and he now requires a super star EA to keep him on track. Nothing out of the ordinary there, placing senior EA’s is our core business.
After he met with two candidates we caught up on the phone to debrief.
The conversation went like this:
(For privacy reasons we’re going to call them Jenny and Sue).
Naomi: How did you go with the two candidates?
Client: I really liked both candidates however, Jenny’s answers were so much more in depth and detailed than Sue’s. Sue still answered the questions but there was no passion behind her answers and they fell short. I didn’t really feel as confident in her ability as I did with Jenny.
Naomi: Ok, can you give me an example of one of the questions you ask?
Client: Oh look, I don’t think they’re overly difficult – I just like to encourage the candidate to speak and open up. One of the questions is about as basic as they can be – I ask what makes them a good EA? Both said similar things and both mentioned being organised. Pretty standard answer – no issues there. Obviously that’s something a successful EA needs in spades but simply stating “I think I’m really organised’ doesn’t paint any picture in my mind as to HOW they will be organised.
However, then Jenny started describing her list systems, how she’d taken herself off to do the advanced outlook course and had smashed its functionality which in turned helped her manage her bosses calendar and scheduling. She spoke about her own little rituals and ways that she stays on top of things – she was just so authentic. I was sitting there thinking ‘WOW! This is amazing, I need all of that!
Whilst Sue was nice and given she has the experience on paper there’s no doubt she could do the job but I just felt that Jenny sold herself better. She gave me the feeling that she’d really turn things around and make my work life easier. She was really good at describing how she runs her day. I didn’t even have to ask or dig for information, she was very forthcoming. I walked away feeling that it was an obvious choice to move forward with Jenny.
So there you have it.
One candidate opened up and SOLD themselves to the hiring manager, using descriptive answers and painting a clear picture of HOW they will take control of their day. The other definitely still answered his questions but only in words. She used short sentences that fell flat.
So now would you like to know the background on these candidates? Sue actually has 5 years more senior level EA experience than Jenny.
As you can see, experience isn’t the only thing a client assess when they are interviewing you. Don’t assume they know what you have done in each role simply because you’ve listed words on your CV. A piece of paper does not engage someone, personality does!
Therefore, don’t miss an opportunity to sell yourself in the interview. Give depth to your answers! Ensure you cover off the HOW and the WHY, not just the WHAT.