Your Competitive Edge: Your Prep and Debrief

executives-racetrack-7261517The prep you conduct for your candidates can separate you from your competition and will result in you making more placements and fills. This process helps you package your candidates, so they beat out their competition.


• Candidates obtained from job boards.
• Candidates obtained as a result of social media sites.
• Ad candidates.
• Walk-in candidates.
• Employee referrals.
• Internal candidates.


1. Thorough knowledge of the candidate, their strengths, weaknesses, and hot buttons which will enable them to go through the trauma of change.
2. Total understanding of the specs on your orders, assignments, and contracts.
3. Knowledge of the interviewing format, style of the interviewer, forms to be filled out, and questions asked (from prior debriefs).


1. General – This refers to the first interview scheduled with a new client.
2. Specific – Utilizing information gained from debriefs on prior candidates.

The more you work on orders, assignments, and contracts from a specific client, the more information you have to conduct a thorough specific prep.


1. Job specifications.
2. How to interview to get an offer.

Each part of the prep takes 15 minutes. Never take any shortcuts during the prep process! This is where you differentiate your candidate from their competition.

Part 1 – Job Specifics
Candidate is given the basic information:

• Company address.
• Contact name.
• Directions.
Review duties of the job one by one. After each duty, ask the following three questions:

• “Have you done this before?”
• “What experience do you have that qualifies you for this responsibility?”
• “Would you enjoy this as a function of your position?”

Once you have reviewed the responsibilities of the opportunity, ask your candidate if they have any concerns or questions. It is better to uncover red flags prior to the interview. Questions often reveal your candidates’ priorities and concerns.

You Then Ask The Most Important Question of Part 1:
“Does this sound like a position you would accept today, if an offer is extended?”

Common Answers:

• “I need to discuss this with…”
• “It depends on the offer…”
• “I have to meet the person…”

The hard part is now you must keep quiet and wait for their answer. If it is any answer but yes, go back and deal with the problems or issues. If there are sound reasons they would not accept an offer, save yourself the grief and cancel the interview.

An interview is an audition; not a fact finding mission. Teach your candidates not to attempt to decide if they want the position during the interview. They must focus on what they can offer your client and why they are the best person for the job.

• Review the entire process, application form, background and reference checks, interview process, etc.
• Role play, ask specific questions, listen to the answers, and modify where necessary.
• Review reasons for leaving positions.
• Close on money.
• Assist them with questions.
• Inform them of the hot buttons of your client.
• Stress the importance of feedback.


• More offers.
• Forces you to know your candidate and your order, assignment, or contract.
• Invaluable information for future openings with this client.
• Eliminates most surprises.
• Enhances your candidate’s trust of you as a knowledgeable professional.

• Lowers your send out to placement | fill ratio.
• Enables others in your company to prep for your openings.

A thorough debrief process leads to a thorough prep. This process helps you identify the top priorities of your candidates and clients.

The debrief provides the following benefits:

• Helps you find tune your recruiting process.
• Eliminates surprises.
• Helps you complete your prep form.

The information on the prep form will greatly assist you and the other recruiters in your office to prep their candidates for any of your clients.

Next, let’s address the client prep. The job market is candidate-driven, and it is becoming more and more important to prep your clients prior to the interview. How you present the prep process will determine if your clients understand how this process can help them attract the top talent they want to hire. This should also be included in the written list of expectations you will provide to your clients.

Often These Realities Exist:

• The client may be more interested than your candidate.
• Candidates can obtain multiple offers.

Prior to the interview you want to give your client the following information on your

• Hot Buttons.
• Five things they would change about their current position.
• Desired pay rate | salary.

Your clients must sell the following:

• Their company.
• Their culture.
• Tenure of their employees.
• Advancement potential
• Personal and Professional Growth

Benefits of a Client Prep
Top talent knows they are in demand and often accept the offer where they feel they fit in best with the individuals they meet. When your clients are prepped and focused on the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) of your candidates, you have a better chance of filling the orders, assignments, and contracts you write.

Why the Candidate is Not Always Debriefed First
It is more effective to debrief the person who is most interested first, whether it is the client or candidate. You want information from the most interested party to have pertinent information to share with the other party. The market is candidate-driven which means the client may have to be debriefed first, so you have their feedback prior to talking to your candidate.
When you master a proper debrief and prep, your candidates and clients will be prepared, and you will make more fills and placements.

If you enjoyed this article and realize the value this type of training would bring to you and your team, please use the QR code to schedule a call to talk to one of our experts about your training needs. We would love to help you fill jobs faster with top talent as you increase sales and profits.

Barbara Bruno

Barbara Bruno

Barbara Bruno, author of HIGH-TECH HIGH-TOUCH RECRUITING: How To Attract And Retain The Best Talent By Improving The Candidate Experience, is an internationally recognized recruiting expert who has a proven track record of helping recruiters and talent acquisition professionals become more successful and less stressed. She has created several popular LinkedIn Learning courses and is president of Good As Gold Training, HR Search, Inc., and Happy Candidates.

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