I recently interviewed someone who was a referral of one of my employees. My employee spoke so highly of his friend who wanted a job on my team, so as soon as I saw her resume come through, I immediately scheduled an interview with her.
The candidate’s interview was scheduled a week in advance, and on the day that I got the opportunity to chat with her, I left afterwards feeling disappointed, annoyed, and like I wasted sooooo much time. Being a referral from an amazing employee, I assumed that the candidate would knock the interview out of the park. I just knew she would know allllll about the company, our culture, and especially the position she applied for. However, from the start of her interview, the candidate could not answer simple questions – questions that she surely could have practiced with her friend that worked at my company.
While you may think that the candidate mentioned above was just a “special case” and that most referrals come into interviews well-prepared, this is not true based on my experiences. Looking at my referral interviews from at least the past year, I have noticed that many of the referral candidates tend to do minimum research, and they appear to be betting on the fact that they are a referral so they will automatically get the job.
I can honestly tell you that even as a referral candidate, you MUST do your research and PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE before you interview. Being a referral of an employee (especially a great employee), itcan definitely give you a leg up on the other candidates. Hiring managers will assume that since the high-performing employee is referring you, you must be just as good (if not better) and should definitely be hired. Don’t disappoint the hiring manager and prove them wrong by going into the interview ill-prepared and uninformed. Use your friend that works at the company to your advantage and get the FULL scoop on the job and company you are applying for. Drill your friend and get the tea on the company culture and even the person you are interviewing with. Ask your friend if they have ever interviewed with the manager and see if they remember the questions they were asked when they interviewed (typically interview questions don’t change that much over time). Remember, you can never learn too much prior to interviewing, and the more you know, the better you will interview, and the higher your chances of getting hired will be.