Welcome to The Fordyce Letter:

The Fordyce Letter

Straight Talk for the Recruiting Profession

Articles tagged 'interviewing'


The Power of Positive Candidate Coaching

My Fair Lady

My Fair LadyPerhaps on the classic movie channel you have seen the film, My Fair Lady. If you don’t recall the movie, check it out. It’s based on the play Pygmalian, by George Bernard Shaw. In the play, as well as the film, a professor takes on the challenge of transforming a girl of low social stature into a fine, articulate woman who could pass for royalty.

This tale has led to a popular theory, the Pygmalian Effect. Simplistically, this is the idea that individuals tend to rise to expectations. Why is it relevant to you? As a recruiter, encouraging candidates to rise to the occasion would be valuable to you, the candidate, and your client. We can’t work magic; however, the power of positive suggestions can do wonders when preparing a client for an interview. Fundamental advice and coaching are equally important.

Here are a few tips to start the transformation:

How-To, Interviews

Here’s How to Screen Prospective Leaders for Risky Behaviors

leaders org chart - free

leaders org chart - freeThe numbers of fallen leaders in sports, business, entertainment, and politics grows each day. Why do so many influential leaders engage in risky behavior that sends them plummeting from positions of power?

Consider the cases of NYC mayoral hopeful Anthony Weiner, Yankees star Alex Rodriguez, and hedge fund manager Steven Cohen. Some candidates barely make it out the gate (Herman Cain) before they become “disqualified.”

As employment professionals, we may ask: “How can we develop a more failsafe way to weed out leaders who may have risky, impulsive, addictive, and possibly immoral lifestyles? Do we have a role in directing them toward the help they need?”

Here are three guidelines that will help:

Ask Barb, Closing

With Candidates, You Have to Dig Deep and Pre-Close

Ask Barb

Dear Barb:
Am I the only recruiter who feels candidates are not telling us the truth during interviews? They tell me one thing and then give different answers when they are interviewed by my clients. How can I get them to be more truthful with me?

Cindy B.
St. Petersburg, FL


What This Classic Interview Question Can Tell You

interview - Freedigital

interview - FreedigitalWhere do you see yourself in five years?

Is this weathered old interview question still effective? In this dynamic age where entire industries can disappear in five years, is this question obsolete? Far from it, this question is like a classic movie – it sticks around forever. Where do you see yourself in five years reveals a great deal about a candidate’s personality and potential.

Take a look at these common answers to the question. Right or wrong, you form an impression very quickly based on the type of response. I know you have met more than your share of these candidates.

How-To, Jeff's On Call!

How to Meet The Press, Do It Well and Enjoy the Free PR

Placements and the law logo

Meeting the press can be terrific or terrible for people in placement, depending on the meeting agenda. It’s often a hidden agenda, too. I’m still never absolutely sure whether the final “piece” will be a true rendition of the placement industry or just a device to sell newspapers and get a by-line for the reporter.

But I’m learning. You can too. There are proven ways veterans get favorable publicity at press time. Here are six:

Jeff's On Call!

Coach Your Candidate For These Five Types Of Interview Questions

Placements and the law logo

The most effective recruiters are the ones who are most familiar with how the placement process works. When you understand how human resourcers think, and can use the right “buzz words” to sound like a pro, they trust your judgment. You can also properly coach candidates on what to do.

I became a recruiter right after graduating from college, then returned to recruiting after working the other side as an HR manager for several major employers. This inside experience enabled me to triple the number of placements. You can too.

I coached candidates on the types of questions interviewers ask and how to answer them. It got them placed f-a-s-t.

Here we go.

Ask Barb

Prepare Your Candidate, But Don’t Write A Script

Ask Barb

Dear Barb:

Last year I talked to you at the Fordyce Forum and when I explained my issues to you, you had suggested that I improve the prep I was conducting, with both my candidates and clients. I’ve tried to do that but candidates don’t call me to get prepped and my clients don’t think they need to be prepped.

How do you force people to do something that is good for them, but they just don’t realize it. Also, when I was prepping a guy the other day, he gave a really stupid reason for leaving a job. When I told him not to say that, he got upset with me. He felt the new employer should know the truth and if they didn’t like it than maybe this isn’t the right company for him.

I liked your advice, but I’m having a tough time getting cooperation here.

Kathy M., Dallas, TX

Barb Responds

Dear Kathy:

You don’t want to use the word prep with either your candidates or clients. They must understand the benefit to them, if they are going to give you their valuable time. To get their cooperation, you need to change your approach. You can’t force anyone to do something they don’t want to do. I don’t believe in client or candidate control. A more effective approach is to develop candidate rapport based on trust.


Can A Company Blow An Interview? Yes It Can!


tough-interview-questionsHas your company ever lost the competition for a great candidate to a competitive offer? If so, there’s an excellent chance that your firm may not have performed well in the interviewing, and recruitment of that candidate.

Proven executives are always difficult to find and attract; no recession exists for top performers. Competitive offers and offer “turn-downs” are more common now than ever.

Why should a firm’s leadership worry about such things? Let’s examine what’s at stake: First, the shortage of capable leadership inhibits optimal performance. Second, hiring the wrong person for important positions can prove catastrophic. And third, significant “opportunity costs” (unrealized revenue or savings) accompany understaffed positions. Undoubtedly, top performers make better decisions, and generate better results for your company.

Ask Barb

Your Candidates Will Interview Better With This Kind of Prep

Ask Barb

Dear Barb:

Is it possible to improve the communication skills of my candidates? I’m amazed how badly my candidates are interviewing. They reveal too much personal information and ask self-serving questions. They did fine when I interviewed them, but don’t interview well with my clients. The frustrating part is they have the experience, education and skills my clients want, they just don’t know how to interview. Am I the only recruiter having this issue?

Scott C.

Portland, OR

Ask Barb, Motivation

Believe You Can and You Will

Ask Barb

Dear Barb:

My husband wants to move to Florida because of the weather, I don’t want to start all over again developing my business. I work from home in Kansas City and have established a nice client base in Missouri. I’ve always met my candidates in person and feel that this has helped me make better matches for my clients. I specialize in high level financial positions. Do you think it’s necessary to personally interview candidates, or am I being old fashion? Is it unrealistic to think I can live in Ft. Lauderdale, but place in Missouri?

Judy B.

Kansas City, MO