When you’re taking a brief from a client, asking the right questions can mean the difference between filling the role and not delivering.
Even if you put your number one candidate in front of your client, if you’ve not asked the right questions and based your shortlist on the answers, they might not be the candidates for the job.
Here are seven killer questions to ask when taking on a brief that’ll help you get a thorough understanding of the brief so you can impress your client and deliver better candidates than your competitors.
1. 'Describe your strongest team members – what makes them so effective?'
This question is bound to impress your client as it shows that your sourcing tactics go a lot further than just matching candidate CVs to the job brief. It’s a great way to find out which soft skills you should be sourcing for and it'll tell you a lot about what the company looks for in terms of team culture.
Asking this question at the start of the process can help you sell your shortlist to your client later on too. When you’re selling in a candidate, say something like, “this candidate has a lot of experience with excel, a skill that you mentioned made your current employee Sarah so effective”. This is a sure-fire way to get you candidate to stand out against the competition.
2. 'What personality traits haven’t worked out in the past – and why?'
This question might be a bit negative, but it’s a great way to disqualify wrong-fit candidates that you’d have otherwise put forward.
It’s likely you’ve put a shortlist forward in the past only to have a candidate that you thought would be a shoo-in rejected after the first interview because they’re not the ‘right fit’.
This question will help you avoid that situation, so you only put forward right-fit candidates and don’t waste precious spots in your shortlist (especially as you’ll have plenty of great applicants in this candidate-heavy market).
3. 'What opportunities for growth are there in the role?'
Asking your clients about growth opportunities in a role is great practice as it shows you’re looking for candidates who are interested in growing within the company.
New hires cost time and money, so any opportunity to show you care about improving retainment for them will go down really well.
The information you gather from asking this question will help you sell the role to the candidate too – as most jobseekers are looking for jobs with good career progression opportunities.
4. ‘Can you talk me through an average day in this role?’
Job briefs rarely reflect the true nature of a role, so asking this question can reveal key information about the position that isn’t already in the brief.
Knowing what an average day looks like in the job you’re recruiting for will help you source candidates that have the skills to meet the day-to-day requirements of the role – and as you’ll have a better understanding of the job, you’ll sell the job to them better too!
5. 'What are the management reporting lines?'
Asking hiring managers about the reporting lines can reveal a wealth of information about the team you’re recruiting for. The information you gather from this question will help you provide vital information to potential candidates about their manager’s role and their own job position in the team. And show your client that you care about really getting to know the role too.
Candidates rarely think about team structure when job hunting and interviewing, but when it comes to accepting the offer, reporting lines can have a huge impact on whether they accept the job or not.
Having a good understanding of the company structure will help you find the candidates who are a good fit for the team and prevent any last-minute offer rejections.
6. 'What’s your availability for interview?'
A question like this can genuinely give you an edge above your competition. If you know the hiring manager’s earliest interview availability, you’ll know what timelines you have to work to and can get your candidates in front of them before any other recruiters.
If your shortlist is good enough and you fill up all your client’s interview slots – you might land a placement before your competitors even send their CVs.
7. 'If I found an exceptional candidate, how quickly could you move on them?'
If you can get a hiring manager to say they can move quickly for the right candidate early in the process, you can use this later on when you’re pushing for an offer on a candidate.
For example, when a client says they’re going to offer your candidate, you can say something like, “You mentioned at the beginning of the process that you could move quickly for the right candidate. Steven is interviewing elsewhere right now, so I’d recommend getting an offer out quickly if you don’t want to lose him.”.
This puts the onus on the client, so they move faster on your candidate. Time kills deals – it’s a fact – so asking this question could save a placement down the line.
Thanks to Covid-19 and budget cuts, your clients will only give you the very toughest roles to work right now, so download the eBook to learn how to fill them…
Sophie is a Content Marketer here at Firefish! After working as a 360 Recruiter she found her perfect niche here at Firefish writing about recruitment.