Maximize The Recruiter Meeting

An executive recently asked me about strategies that make a best-fit candidate. I relayed the concepts I shared in my Medium article which suggest you’ll be seen as undeniably hireable when you expertly demonstrate three things:

  1. You understand their challenge
  2. You have a solution to their problem
  3. You’re a fit with the organizational culture

Then he asked the 64,000-dollar question. “If I’m on the outside, how can I truly understand their challenge?” Boom! He was right. It would be hard to land a smashing answer if you don’t understand their core challenge.

This conundrum got me thinking, and then it came to me — the recruiter meeting! You know the one, that pesky 20-minute conversation everyone sees as a necessary evil to advance to the “real” interview? BINGO.

Recruiters are the people who have the inside scoop on the roles and the organization. They know who was in the position before and why they left; potentially even what made them successful or unsuccessful. They have strong relationships with hiring managers, and they know the organizational culture. Quite simply, they’re a treasure chest of information.

Here are five questions you need to ask your recruiter as you take extensive notes:

  1. What are the current challenges the organization faces most applicable to this role?
  2. What role would the hired candidate have in solving those challenges?
  3. What experience and attributes would the best-fit candidate display to be successful in this role?
  4. Is this a new role? If so, why was it created? If not, why did the incumbent exit and what challenges did they have?
  5. How would you describe the organizational culture?

You may be saying to yourself, “Hot dang! Those are straight-forward questions. No recruiter is going to be so honest!”

Possibly, but I invite you to state, “I’d rather know the truth of what I’d be getting myself into; and while I like to embrace a good challenge, this needs to be a match on both sides.” Also, be honest and say, “I want to demonstrate for the hiring team that I fully understand the inherent challenges of the company. Your responses will give me the best chance of demonstrating that I have what it takes to solve those challenges.” Damn, right it does.

The initial recruiter meeting doesn’t seem so pesky after all does it? Make good use of your time with the recruiter and then go on to ensure you can ace the top three interview questions. Download my complimentary tip sheet here if you haven’t already. It includes helpful response strategies. You’ve got this!