The Importance of Preparation

Written by Nancy Wu

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.

We’ve had an influx of Talent Acquisition and Human Resources projects from our clients lately, with many candidates who conduct interviews regularly when hiring talent for their own companies. Through being exposed to HR talent, we’ve noticed the importance of preparation and work ethic, even among those who are expert in their field. Though HR employees undoubtedly have a great amount of expertise in conducting interviews and screening candidates, the role gets reversed when they are the ones being interviewed. The pitfall for those who work in HR is to be overconfident in their interviewing skills because they conduct them regularly and ultimately being underprepared for their own interviews.

When we decide to select a candidate and send their profile forward to our client, we prepare our candidates with a briefing session to help them with the interview process. A frustrating situation is when HR candidates, due to their expertise at interviewing others, refuse to prepare adequately and then botch their interviews with the client.

Recently, we were working on a Talent Acquisition Director search and interviewed dozens of potential candidates with plentiful HR experience. One candidate was perfect on paper, but came off as inept in the interview due to his lack of preparation. Having worked for a decade in the talent acquisition field, the candidate clearly had the skills and experience for the job. However, he stumbled when we asked him for concrete examples of how he applied them.

To us, this is clearly not a case of incompetence, but of being underprepared. The most suitable and high-caliber candidate can seem woefully underwhelming if he does not convey himself properly. This brings us to a useful point for professionals in all fields of expertise, and that is the importance of preparation; even the most expert professionals must be humble enough to prepare adequately.

At every level of achievement, a lack of humility and preparation can lead to poor decisions, false confidence, and the undermining of others. Being humble enough to prepare is vital in all aspects of life. Never underestimate the importance of preparation to achieving and maintaining success.