The Touchdown Recruiter – How to avoid the pitfalls of the obnoxious interviewer

I really enjoy attending interviews and being on the other side of the fence. Its character building and can also keep you humble about the recruitment process and what it feels like to be a candidate. As human resources professionals we can easily forget what it’s like to be a job seeker in a highly intensive market place.

In my book, How to Find a Job in 6 Weeks, I discuss the various recruitment techniques used by recruiters and how to best prepare for success. However, one style that I have not discussed is the Touchdown Method. It’s not a revelation and it has been around for a while, however, what makes this style stand out recently is that it’s becoming common place among many recruiters and those people that make recruitment decisions.

The touchdown method is very simple; fail to impress in the first 5 minutes and consider your interview done and dusted. Recruiters have become very skillful at winding up the interview to the point it’s obvious to the candidate. Is it a lack of respect for the candidate? Time restraints and pressure to meet objectives and measures or just plain lack of sympathy altogether for people?

I certainly encountered this recruitment approach more often that I would have cared for and I consider myself to be very well versed at interview performance.

I always compare the Touchdown Recruiter and their approach to interviewing with performance in sport. In most matches a game is not won in the first 5 minutes. Whether it’s a try in rugby or an early goal in soccer, you cannot assume that the team is going to outperform for the rest of the match and be the winner. There is the second half to contend with or another 80 minutes of play. Some players take longer to adjust to the tactics of the other team on the day or require some direction by the coach to bring out their specific talents in an advantageous way.

Have recruiters become inpatient in looking for an early win? Are they short cutting candidates prematurely? What dangers does this bring to selecting the best candidate for the job and opportunities lost?

If you are a job seeker reading this article it’s about awareness and preparation. Although I don’t subscribe to this method of recruitment, the reality is it exists, and I can’t change the attitude of these recruiters. I can also guarantee you will become a victim of the Touchdown Recruiter at some point during your job search.

Here are some tips to prepare yourself to navigate your way through this process and avoid a touchdown;

  1. Prepare a compelling introduction about yourself that is no longer than 5 minutes
  2. It must be a snapshot of your career to date, progression from studies to work and the evolution to your current job
  3. It’s should contain key highlights of specialization and successes specific to the position you have applied and the key competencies required
  4. Consider it a 5 minute storyboard of yourself, what you stand for and your career aspirations

That’s a handful in 5 minutes and it takes preparation. Start with your resume and draft a paragraph consisting of your career objective and career summary that will help construct your introduction.  The next step is to practice it aloud with a friend and refine your delivery by checking the timing and impact of your introduction. It should show confidence and be compelling. Be crisp and straight to the point, and don’t overstate or over talk your introduction.

Capture these points well and the Touchdown Recruiter will progress you to the next phase of the recruitment process. Be patient with yourself and don’t expect too much at the first introduction during a real interview, its takes time and practice to become confident in your delivery.


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