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The 4 P's of Interviewing...Admin Style!

The 4 P's of Interviewing...Admin Style!

Thad Peterson / Monster

If you wanted to pick someone’s brain about interviewing, Kent Kirch’s would be a good one to pick. He’s been involved in recruitment and candidate selection for 25 years and reckons he’s interviewed about 3,000 candidates. He’s now the global director of recruitment for Deloitte, which hires thousands of people every year.

Expert Advice

Kirch divides interviewing into four buckets — the four P’s of interviewing:

1. Preparation.
2. Practice.
3. Personal presentation.
4. Pertinent questions.


“It’s really frustrating for an interviewer to have someone that they’re talking to who really doesn’t know the company or the position they’re applying for,” laments Kirch, who is confounded by candidates who don’t do the bare-bones research before the interview. He estimates roughly one out of five prospects commits this crime.

Candidates should have “looked at the Web site, read the [company’s] brochure, talked to people who’ve worked there – that’s kind of baseline homework,” he says. “If you haven’t done that, it can really make it uncomfortable in the interview, because either you’re not going to understand what the interviewer’s talking about, or you’re going to ask some dumb questions.”

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“Another thing is not really preparing for the interview itself.” Applicants should “sit down and think, ‘What are they going to ask me when I’m in that interview?’ With a little bit of asking around, you can find out things like, do they use behavior-based questions, do they use case-based questions, do they use a really unstructured conversational interview?”

Finding people to talk to within the organization can yield a lot of information. Kirch also says it’s perfectly acceptable to ask some questions when setting the interview up, including:

  • -Who will I be talking to?
  • -Any suggestions on how to prepare?
  • -Should I expect a particular type of interview format?

“You have nothing to lose by asking,” says Kirch. “It shows that a candidate is interested in what’s going to happen. They’re interested in you as an employer and they’re inquisitive, and in most cases, that’s going to be a very positive thing.”


Candidates can often anticipate the kinds of questions – if not the exact ones – they’ll be asked during interviews, particularly if they’ve done their due diligence. Once you’ve determined the probable questions, Kirch advises practicing in front of someone.

“They always talk about preparing yourself – looking in the mirror and answering the question,” Kirch says. “It’s much more difficult to give your answer to a live person and ask them what they thought of your answer than to look yourself in the mirror and do it.”

Personal Presentation

Dressing appropriately is sometimes lost on recent graduates, says Kirch, adding that many times young people will show up wearing a coat when a suit would be more fitting. “Or even if they do come with the right tie or suit, sometimes it’s that they’re not well-presented,” he says “They’re wrinkled, or they’re wearing white pants in January. It could be a lot of different things that are easy to fix, but it just doesn’t help them when they’re up against a lot of competition for a position.” Again, doing your homework should reveal the appropriate attire.

Be sure to cover all the standard interviewing etiquette points as well. “Even the basics – like a good handshake, not being nervous, smiling – because they don’t see the real you if you’re uptight,” Kirch explains. “And basic eye contact; a lot of people put a lot of weight into eye contact. Maintaining that is really important.”

Pertinent Questions

Kirch says it’s profoundly disappointing in interviews to “get to the end and say, ‘Do you have any questions I can answer for you?’ and they say, ‘Nope, I think you answered them all,’ and that’s the end of it. It’s just really disappointing and reflects negatively on the candidate.”

Include developing a tough question in your preparation to finish things off. “For me, I just love it when someone asks a really difficult question – something that takes some guts to ask, asking really well-thought-out questions that show you know the business that that interviewer is in,” says Kirch. “You know their company to some extent, and you’ve thought about your question. It all goes back to preparation, and it tells the interviewer you thought about this interview before you walked in the door.”

This article originally appeared on

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