"Every problem is a gift. Without problems, we would not grow."
Anthony robbins

Embracing the dreaded "feedback" during job interviews

I have a confession to make. In my previous life as a medical sales rep, I always cringed when receiving FEEDBACK or CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM from my managers. Call it ego, call it insecurity, call it whatever you want...but admitting my weaknesses (and I have plenty) was never my strong suit. In fact, I still bristle about negative remarks made in performance reviews from 15 years ago. Most of that feedback, e.g., “you are lousy at expense reports” was probably true, but I still struggled to accept it.

As a recruiter, whether I like it or not, part of my job is providing feedback to my candidates. This feedback can take place in the form of coaching prior to an interview, post-interview downloads, or postgame wrap ups when a candidate was not selected. While I don’t love passing along constructive criticism, it is part of a good recruiter’s job and instrumental in helping the candidate get ready for their next opportunity.

After all, we are contingency recruiters…meaning our income is contingent on finding talented salespeople and getting them HIRED. Providing feedback and coaching is part of our service that makes us different than robots who hit forward on resumes or applicant tracking systems.

When a recruiter provides you with feedback, understand that they are trying their hardest to HELP YOU GET HIRED. The recruiter is telling you that they believe in you and they want you to get the job. They are investing time in giving you the tools you need to succeed; but they are also sending you a simple, direct message that your current approach might need to be tweaked.

I worked with a candidate a few months ago who did very well in his first interview. The manager advanced him to the next round, but politely told me that he was concerned that this guy was coming across as TOO CONFIDENT. The manager purposely set up a follow up interview with a senior sales rep in the area to test his “over-confidence” theory.

When I told the candidate that he did well, but needed to tone down some of his bravado, he swore up and down that the feedback was wrong. He went on to get frustrated with me for “siding with the manager”. WOW!... talk about shooting the messenger!

Ultimately, he did not get the job, but it wasn’t because he was a bad guy or unqualified. In fact, he checked all the boxes and was extremely qualified. What got him in trouble was not realizing that the simple suggestions were designed to help him…not break him down. There was no value in getting defensive, as the ultimate goal was to guide him through the process successfully.

Of course, there are some negative recruiters that can be a little heavy handed in their comments. The good news is, you don’t have to work with those people. The majority of recruiters are there to help you, because WE NEED YOU to earn a living. The feedback we provide on your resume or on your interviewing acumen should be viewed as a free of charge service that we probably wouldn’t offer if we didn’t like you. By investing time in giving you feedback, we are investing in you!

Don’t be one of those candidates who “CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH”. Ask for feedback and be willing to digest it. Most salespeople are not professional resume writers or constantly interviewing for jobs. That said, there is nothing wrong with tailoring your approach based on tips from an “inside source”. Your recruiter presumably knows the manager and should be able to bring value in what that person is looking for. After all, adjusting your style to your audience is part of being a good salesperson.

Most successful salespeople utilize a pre-call plan, and the interview process is no different. A recruiter that is worth their salt should be an asset and coach for developing your plan to be hired. The relationship formed between and recruiter and a candidate can (and should) be more than just scheduling an interview.

Grow Your Vine! CrossVine Recruiting.

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