Meeting Tips – Helping Candidates Win the Work
Twenty Things to Consider at Client Meetings
Before the meeting:
“Client needs, client needs, client needs”. Fully understand what the client wants to do.
- Undertake preparation to understand the client – website, accounts, LinkedIn profiles, press releases, and competitors.
- You are a skilled professional. Be confident, but never overconfident. You might, if a little rusty due to Covid and reliance on video conferencing, schedule a mock meeting with a close business associate and/or with one of the Russam team.
- Be prepared for the opening question, “Tell me about yourself”—answer in a succinct and relevant manner.
- Prepare six to eight questions before the meeting. Let the client see that you have done this.
- Take the last meeting/interview* slot, if you can, and arrive 15 minutes early. *we don’t like to use the word “interview”; we very much encourage a two-way exchange to understand the brief and how you can work together.
- Importantly, prepare equally for a Team/ Zoom video meeting as you would for a face-to-face meeting.
At the meeting:
- First impressions cannot be undone. Be professional in all elements, dress professionally in nice business attire, have a firm handshake, be confident, and be motivated to succeed. Taking some notes can also be seen as a positive (appearing that you are already on the job!). Ensure you have a pen or pencil . . . we had one client who was seriously unimpressed with one of our interim CFO candidates and didn’t offer him the role!
- Positive body language. Maintain eye contact throughout the meeting, but be conscious of giving negative signals with arms, legs, and mouth – smile!
- Aim to allow the client to talk more than yourself. Say 66% of the meeting.
- Listen – answer the question, do not ramble, or give your career history (unless specifically asked – they will have read your CV).
- To impress, be impressed. Build rapport quickly, be empathetic, and show passion and commitment.
- Do not overtly sell. Remember that the company/organisation has invited you for an interview. They are already inclined to like you.
- On complex (perhaps personal) issues – don’t linger. Give three sentences plus a question back.
- Show that you have done this or a similar assignment before and that you can hit the ground running.
- Give the solution and show that you can add value.
- Resist presentations and visual aids unless requested.
- Take notes if you wish but don’t hide behind a laptop.
- Handle any client misgivings at the meeting.
- Don’t negotiate or talk money. We have done that already and can support the practical elements, e.g. IR35 and contract set-up. If you do need to discuss rates (if you are going “direct” to the client), then we are happy to advise, and you can also consult the IIM’s (Institute of Interim Management) annual survey.
- Ask for the assignment, clarify that you want the job, and determine when a decision will be made.