As recruiters, we spend all day asking carefully considered questions so we can give clients and candidates the best possible service we can provide. Which is why it would blow my mind so much when I'd get asked daft questions that left me stuck between a rock and a hard place unable to answer in any way that would allow me to do my job properly!
Do you get asked these kinds of questions too?
Questions from candidates
“OK, what have you got for me?”
Thank my lucky stars you’ve phoned! You’ve no idea how many candidates I’ve had to turn away because I’ve been holding out to call in with a list of jobs I’ve been accumulating just for you even though I don’t know who you are or what you do.
When a candidate approaches you like this, it’s infuriating. If we responded by running off jobs at them without knowing what they’re looking for, or taking some time to understand their employment background, we’d be doing a terrible job and the candidate would run a mile. So why start things off on a bad foot like this?
“How long will it take you to find me a job?”
How long is a piece of string? How long will it take for me pick myself up again after this question?
Again, any recruiter who’s able to answer this question isn’t being completely honest or doing their job properly. Would you ask a doctor how long it will take them to cure you?
Also, it’s not so much about us finding you a job, but about helping you find yourself a job. If you're a recruiter who thinks they can answer this question, if you could provide me with Saturday’s lottery numbers as well that would be great.
“Have you heard anything yet?”
Yup, I’ve got a job offer for you right here from a week ago but I just haven’t got round to calling you yet. Sorry!
OK, jokes aside, I can totally understand that job seekers get anxious and impatient when it comes to waiting on interview feedback or job offers coming in. But we make our money from you receiving these offers, so you can bet we are chasing that feedback down for you!
If we’ve heard something, you will know about it.
Questions from clients
“Do you have any good CVs on your books?”
Sure, I’ll fire you over one that reached my desk this morning for a maritime engineer? Or maybe a great one that came in yesterday from a quantity surveyor? In fact, let me send you over my candidate database and you can pick which one you like!
There’s really no way of giving a straight answer to this question without coming across like a terrible recruiter. At least give me some context! And would I be a good recruiter if I started specking out candidates to you without finding out if they’re actively looking first?
“I see your fee is 15%. Are you ok with 8%?”
Sure, no problem! I’ll just give you 8% of my time then, so that should cover you for me driving to work in the morning!
Business owners pushing their fees down knowing that recruiters will still jump at the chance to work a role is one of the biggest problems in the recruitment at the moment. Good recruiters won’t even entertain this type of chat from business owners and any recruiters who do dock their fee just to get a job are contributing to the problem.
So please don’t undervalue yourself people! Here's a video I made recently on this exact topic...
And last but not least…
“Can I get a 6-month rebate or a free replacement?”
Sure, here’s my full bank details while we’re at it. Just help yourself to my limited funds since I seem to be working for free!
Recruiters who’ve done their job well should never be asked to work for free – even if a candidate placement doesn’t work out in the end. And I’ll let you in on a secret: sometimes the reason a candidate doesn’t last in a role isn’t the fault of a bad-fit placement, but down to the client themselves!
So the next time you’re asked one of the above questions and are feeling ready to bash your head off the wall, remember these things happen to the best of us! Just keep your head and continue being the best recruiter you can be. What could possibly go wrong?
Alan is the Associate Director of Growth at Firefish. An agency recruiter in a former life, he loves helping recruiters find ways to recruit smarter.