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How to Stage the “Perfect Recruiting Interview”

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By Cliff Baird, PhD

RISMEDIA, Oct. 2, 2007-There are two things that must be present in every interview in order to captivate the interest of a new recruit. If you set-up and stage the interview as follows, you will have every recruit thinking very positively about joining your company.

Several years ago I completed a huge recruiting study interviewing in excess of 2,000 agents. Basically I wanted to know if there were turning points during the interview, in particular, that caused a decision to be made either positively or negatively. For the sake of this article we will discuss only the positive…what made them choose to want to work for a particular company?

When I tabulated the responses my only surprise was the profound simplicity of the results.
There were indeed 2 things powerful enough by themselves to cause positive action but when combined as a unit they became unbeatable. Here they are…

1. MADE TO FEEL WELCOME
2. MADE TO FEEL WANTED

These are two great emotional needs. We all need them fulfilled in every situation and relationship. However, they are often denied in a business relationship simply because it often seems inappropriate. That could not be further from the truth. Especially in the arena of real estate sales where so much is riding on a wave of emotion fueled by personal dreams and ambitions.

1. HOW TO MAKE THE RECRUIT FEEL WELCOME
It will become necessary to get theatrical as we set the stage and gather our fellow co-conspirators. The receptionist is a major player. This is just another reason that your receptionist should be a caring, fun-loving, out-going, decisive type of personality.
When you have set an appointment for an interview with a potential recruit DO THE FOLLOWING:

Step 1. Make sure your receptionist knows the name of the recruit who is coming and when he/she will arrive. Then the receptionist can begin to orchestrate the “welcome mat”.

Step 2. It is important that the receptionist greet the candidate like she was waiting for him/her thereby making them important. “Hi Ms. Recruit. We have been expecting you. Mr. Manager said you were coming. He is busy for just a few minutes and asked me to make sure you were comfortable. Can I get you coffee, tea or water?”

Step 3. The manager should delay coming out of his/her office for just a few minutes. Let the good feeling the recruit is experiencing sink in. Right now the recruit is beginning to feel good thoughts about the WELCOME he/she is receiving. “The receptionist even knew my name and was expecting me.”

Step 4. When you come out of your office go straight to the recruit and greet him/her warmly with a gentle apology for your delay. However, be sure to thank him/her for being on time. With that compliment you are subliminally setting the concept of accountability in place.

Step 5. This is where the real theatre occurs. Just as you are walking past the receptionist on your way to your office with the recruit, stop, nonchalantly pause and say the following to her ” Sally, you know this is a very important meeting for us so would you please hold all my calls?” Sally already knows to do that but it is being done to impress the recruit. The idea is to make the recruit feel special and welcome.

Then just before you walk away to your office, glance at your receptionist as if, perhaps, you “recall” a phone call you are expecting….and say the following ….speaking to the recruit: “I almost forgot that I am expecting a very important call and it may come during our time together, would you mind if I took the call??” Clearly, this is not a real question. It is, however, a very important statement. You are demonstrating respect to the recruit. Once again you are searching for ways to make the recruit feel welcome.

I am certain by now that your recruit feels very welcome.

2. HOW TO MAKE THE RECRUIT FEEL WANTED

It is now time to shift our attention to making the recruit feel WANTED. There have been all kinds of studies about whether the manager should come out from behind the desk or not. Frankly, the only rule of thumb is do whatever makes you feel comfortable and most confident because you have to remain casual and in control. Again, it may be important to remember that the recruit is on a mission and did not come for a social visit. Be sociable and friendly but don’t drag it out. Too much small talk heightens tension as does too much non-real estate talk.

NOTE: Both the Interviewer and the Interviewee will make a decision in the first four minutes

A false reading could lead to you not hiring the right person or worse, hiring the wrong person. So the traditional interview will follow a pattern of questions and answers. Again, do not forget to make statements to influence the recruit’s HOT BUTTONS. If you were using my RealSTAR temperament aptitude profile you would be guided at this point by knowing exactly what to say to answer their needs and expectations.

When it becomes apparent to you that you really want this person, do not be backward about being forward. Wait for the moment of greatest impact to make the following statement. For example, you could interrupt them, with suitable apologies, and be a little dramatic…

“(Frank, Jane) sorry to interrupt but I just have to tell you, from where I sit you have the potential for greatness with us. You have what it takes to be phenomenal in this business. I think you are so good that I am going to make you a promise. If you join me here I promise I will make you successful beyond your wildest expectations if you promise to follow my lead and do the things that I know will lead to your success. (Frank/Jane) would you mind for the first few weeks or so if we met for a few minutes everyday just to make sure you were on track doing the things that will make you successful? Would you do that?” Notice that this is so much more than a question or a statement…it was a recruiting CLOSE.

Learn to say the above without stopping…pausing but not stopping. Why? So that you totally control the impact of what you are saying because it is so powerful. Let’s examine what these simple but profound moments have accomplished.

1. It has surely made the recruit feel WELCOME and WANTED!
2. It has made the recruit feel secure. Why? You dared to link his/her success to you. You overcame the natural fear of self-doubt that every new recruit experiences. You gave HOPE.
3. When you said you wanted to spend a couple of minutes everyday with him/her you allowed them to believe that their dream was possible. You gave them a new DREAM.

When you put into practice all of these ideas you will become so skilled at interviewing that you will hire everyone you want.

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