In my role as a corporate recruiter for a Healthcare IT consulting firm, I answer a lot (!) of questions from candidates. To be accurate, I also ask a lot of questions and after all, fair is fair in love and recruiting. Everyone that I hire for my company is a full time employee and consults for our various clients. One question I hear quite a bit is, “Will I have to interview with the client, too?” The answer is, “Yes, after you get through all of our interviews and questions, you’ll also have to earn your place at one of our customers.” When I put it that way, it does sound exhausting.
This question has me thinking though that interviewing isn’t an innate skill for many of us. Selling yourself isn’t always the easiest task in the world, therefore I’ve included below a few tips and tricks from the trade.
Check out your potential client’s website and research who you will be interviewing with on LinkedIn. By understanding your interviewer’s background you may be able to illuminate commonalities between yourself and build rapport immediately. Let’s say the interviewer is a nurse and so are you, “I understand you’re a nurse as well . . . “
Have your resume handy during your phone interview. Does your company brand your resume or significantly alter their client-facing resumes? If so, have both versions ready. Also, I suggest having a couple examples of your work in mind, too. For instance, “My team and I overcame XYZ problem by identifying XYZ and finding a solution via XYZ.”
Prepare some questions for your potential client to show interest in the role, knowledge, and to get your interviewer talking a bit, too. If you are not sure what phase the project is in or have some doubt, use the words, “I understand” before your question. “I understand that Hospital’s project is in Phase XYZ, what will be the next major project deliverable I’ll be required to complete for XYZ?” Using these words shows you’ve done a little research, but also that you are open to correction. I use the phrase “I understand” all the time to clarify something I don’t understand with candidates and clients; and it’s a great way to “cushion” your questions.
Sell Yourself as Their Solution
Don’t be afraid to play to your strengths and illustrate yourself as a solution to the client’s problems. Also, if you are asked a “stumper” question (for instance, about a topic you don’t have much experience with), don’t just say no; but tell the interviewer any experience you have relevant to the topic or where you would go to find answers/solutions.
Close with a question. I suggest closing interviews with the question, “Have I answered all your questions or do you need to know anything else about me?” or “Have I addressed all the necessary qualifications for success in this role?” By closing the interview like this, you may have the chance to answer another previously unanswered question or get a good read on how the interviewer is feeling about the interview and you at that moment.
Have I helped better prepare you for client interviews? 😉