Attend More Interviews to Add Value to Recruiting

Sitting in on interviews can be one of the most overlooked ways of adding value in the recruiting and hiring process. While this can be very time-consuming, whenever possible, the benefits are bountiful. The observations you encounter are very powerful and will allow you to make more placements.

Let’s face it: if a candidate is interviewing, we’ve done a great job up to this point of getting them there. But it’s what occurs in the interview that heavily influences whether the placement is going to happen.

Being part of the actual interview shows your commitment to being a partner in the recruiting and selection process. If handled appropriately, you’ll no longer be seen as just a source for candidates but as an expert in the interviewing and hiring process. You can share your observations about what the best ways are for hiring managers to present the company and opportunity and share it with others in your organization.

So many times we rely on a hiring manager and a candidate to debrief us on what occurred in an interview. While they try their best to tell us how it went, small details that really matter can be very hard to explain. By attending, you will be able to anticipate any candidate concerns and put both sides of the deal together.

Observation Only

To make this work, you need to be there only to observe. You’ve already had your chance to interview the candidate, so this is the time for the hiring manager and the candidate to get to know each other. Try not to intervene unless absolutely necessary.

During the interview, take notes on what the interviewer did well as well as areas for improvement. If you can coach your hiring manager to become more effective in selling the company and the position, you’ll have more candidates continue the hiring process, resulting in more placements.

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Not long ago, I had a corporate controller at a publicly traded company tell a director of tax candidate that if he were not to get promoted to the CFO position that was open within the company, he was going to start looking for a new job himself. The interview should be about what the company and candidate has to offer each other and whether or not they’re right for each other. This would’ve been less likely to have been said if a professional recruiter was sitting in on the interview.

There’s no better time than right after the interview to speak with the hiring manager about better ways to present the company and position it in the best light possible. If done appropriately, they’ll be grateful for your assistance because it will help them attract and hire candidates who will produce the results they’re looking for.

Even though we do a thorough needs analysis, collecting relevant information upfront when accepting a search assignment, we can learn much more by listening to a candidate and hiring manager ask and answer questions about what they do for a living.

Since candidates usually know more about what they do for a living than a recruiter may, we can get so much from the interview because they typically ask specific questions we never thought of to ask.

Although finding the time can be challenging, the rewards are there. It’s a great way to build relationships with your hiring managers and candidates and ensure your company is attracting and hiring the best talent possible.

Jerry Land, CPC, owns an organization that is hired by a selective group companies who want to grow and prosper by having a sales force made up of highly motivated and career driven professionals. These companies only hire overachievers who separate themselves from their peers due to their performance. They are the type of people who have obtained President's Club status, putting them in the top 15% of their company. He only works with quota-reliable sales reps, managers, & VPs. He is the headhunter who connects these game changers to companies who are not willing to hire second best. He can be emailed at


10 Comments on “Attend More Interviews to Add Value to Recruiting

  1. I’ve found sitting in on interviews, I can gain a wealth of information about the requirement, the client and the candidate. Many times I learn more details about the requirement that allow me to better describe it to new candidates later. I better understand the client’s skills (or lack) in interviewing techniques. I can better present candidates in the future if I know what are the hot buttons discussed in the interviews. And finally, face it, most technical people are terrible at interviewing. Seeing them in action helps me coach them and giving them real life examples for improvement.

  2. I think listening in/being at interviews is grossly over looked in the industry, and is a huge asset to recruiting. A lot of times, especially in contracting, there are multiple openings for the same position, and listening to the interviews also teaches you more specifics about the roles at hand. There is so much to be learned from interviewing just beyond that specific role. I appreciate your view on this, and I’m glad that this topic has been brought up. Thanks for the article!

  3. Sitting in on interviews will be on my to do list tomorrow – Great article again, Jerry. Being new to my latest corporate recruiting assignment, there may not be a better or faster way for me to evaluate both interviewer and candidate and establish credibility at the same time. I can see it being unexpected and welcomed – one of those ‘why haven’t we been doing this for years’ kind of things….!
    Keep the good ideas coming.

  4. I am curious how other people have approached their client/hiring manager to ask to sit in on these interviews. For fear of offending the hiring manager or having the request be misinterpreted, I want to approach it with soft gloves and in the right way. Please share thoughts. Thanks!

  5. I have had two situations where this was a life saver! I had a team who had a steady stream of great candidates put in front of them and over and over we couldn’t close the deal. Finally I went with the candidate unannounced to the rest of the interviews and found that the hiring manager was bringing in the entire team of 12 to conduct a group interview. This team was tough and would almost tell a candidate when they thought they were stretching their experience or wouldn’t be a fit. Once I coached them on their methods, the next candidate who was offered the job accepted and is very happy in the role.

    The other time I attended an interview that stands out the interviewer asked NINE illegal questions. NINE!!! It was all I could do not to jump across the table.

    Great training opportunity to say the least!


  6. We have always asked our clients to allow us to sit in on the first interview associated with a new project/position. On only a few occasions have we been told that we would not be able to participate.

    We also make a point to also let our consultants know that we may be joining the interview–often they are the ones who are not used to a representative from their company sitting in on the interview.

    The benefits are great as it lets us know some key screening questions for future candidates–if the current one doesn’t make the cut–as well as gives us insight to the personality of the team!

  7. This is horse s**t. As a candidate, I don’t want the recruiter anywhere near the the interview. This is wrong. As a candidate or employer any recruited that wants to do this is not be welcome. Very stupid idea.

  8. This is horse s**t. As a candidate, I don’t want the recruiter anywhere near the the interview. This is wrong. As a candidate or employer any recruited that wants to do this is not be welcome. Very stupid idea.

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