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6 minute read

5 Deal-Breaking Questions Recruiters Forget to Ask Clients

To get the best hires, you need to ask your clients the right questions when taking on a job.

So instead of asking basic questions time and time again, ask these well-considered, loaded questions during the briefing stage, and you'll set yourself up nicely for a winner!

Here are 5 deal-breaking questions we often forget to ask that could easily seal the deal, and even land you retained business with your client.

1. ‘Why has this position come about in the first place?’

deal-breaking-questions-minHas this opportunity come up due to company growth? Is it a back fill due to an internal promotion or a team member moving to a new company? Or, is it that the client has tried to make the hire themselves but struggled, which is why they’re turning to you?

It’s crucial you get a solid idea of the real pains and aims of the posting by asking this simple question before you ask anything else. Understanding if/why the role has failed in the past will help you tailor your search to reduce the chances of this happening again.

2. 'How would you measure success in the role?'

As a market expert, you know the calibre of candidates on the market at any given time, but it’s hard to know how they’ll fare with your client. Asking this question will give you an instant understanding of how reasonable (or unreasonable!) your client’s expectations for the new hire are.  

If the bar is set too high, you’ll need to manage their expectations and convince them to be more open-minded about any candidates you do put forward. Or if they’re really asking for the impossible, it might be worth cutting your losses so you can focus your effort on working with a less demanding client.

Knowing how your client measures success can also help you prepare the candidates you put forward for interview. Instead of highlighting successes that the client doesn’t value, they can focus on talking up the metrics that matter.

3. ‘How do you see this new hire impacting business?’

It’s not just about what the candidate will do in their role, but about the rippling effect they’ll have on the rest of the business.

Asking this important question during the briefing stage demonstrates you care about the wider goals of the client and company, and aren’t just looking to tick boxes and push your candidate through the door.

The answer to this question will also give you a clear picture of who your client is (and isn’t!) looking for, and indicate just how important this hire is to the business more broadly. And the best part is, if you’re able to gather that your candidate will be making a significant impact on business, why not take the plunge and ask for a retainer?

4. ‘What's the workplace culture like?’

Now more than ever, good workplace culture is a key deciding factor for any candidate looking to move roles. But as recruiters, we often overlook its importance when taking on a job.

Asking this question at the brief stage gives you two advantages: Firstly, if the company has a vibrant company culture this gives you extra selling points for your job ads that will make the role more attractive to candidates.

Secondly, with this insight you’ll also have a clear understanding of what your client values within their working environment. From this, you can determine which of personalities will and won’t work for this company and focus your sourcing efforts on finding a candidate that is a good ‘cultural fit'.

This will earn you extra points with your client and increase your chances of placing a happy candidate that lasts well beyond the probation period.

5. ‘Fast forward 3 months: What would you like to see in this new hire?’

What objectives would signify to the client that the person you’ve hired is performing well, adding value and would pass their probationary period? This question is gold for a few reasons:

    1. It demonstrates to the client that your interest goes beyond getting a candidate through the door on start date so you can get your fee
    2. It has the potential to create a further opportunity for more business if the client mentions anything about growing a division or moving up the ranks quickly
    3. It gives you some additional information to take to your candidates to give them a view of what would be expected and what can be achieved with hard work in this time frame
    4. It creates a great stepping stone opportunity for you to pitch for an assured delivery package as part of a retained contract (to learn more about what this would involve, read this eBook). You could propose that you’ll only receive your final payment if and when the candidate has passed their three-month probation period. Who can say no to that!

Download the eBook below to start building a pitch based on what you can offer your client over your competitors and begin pulling in more retained business as a result.

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About the Author: David is a Senior Growth Outreach Specialist at Firefish. After working as a 360 recruiter, he loves innovating recruitment with Firefish Software.

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