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Three questions every recruiter must ask when taking job ordersPosted 9 months ago by Nick Boulton

Every recruiter knows this situation. A job order comes in and it needs a little tweaking to hit the mark. But do recruiters have the right to question what a client wants?

Unless your immediate answer is 'yes', leave now! Go straight to jail, do not pass Go, do not collect £200, and never be seen again in the recruitment world!

Good, fillable jobs are born from recruiters querying points, making suggestions, and challenging ideas.

If you're going through the motions with clients, ticking off boxes to cover new jobs, then you're going to waste a lot of time.

It starts with the brief

Some of you might find this surprising, but filling a job doesn't start with finding a good candidate. It starts with how well you take down a job order. It doesn't matter if you take the brief face to face (and you should, if possible) but Zoom, Teams or the good old phone will work too.

But filling the job starts with how well you qualify it.

You must make sure, at the very get-go, that the job you are so excited about is, in fact, fillable!

At my best guess, most contingent recruitment agencies fill somewhere around 25% of the permanent jobs they take on. That might not sound like a lot, but they only achieve a 25% success rate if they are both very good and very lucky! Most companies will deny this, of course, telling their clients they fill most jobs they get, but usually, that's because they don't formally measure it or because they are in denial about the reality of their fill ratios.

Companies face very different hiring challenges than they did 12 months ago. So no matter how much they think they don't need help, they need as much support as possible to secure the best developers, as they are slippery little suckers who are extremely hard to catch.

Three Questions

I have watched for years as experienced recruiters take down every requirement, nodding away to the client, exclaiming as they slam the phone down, "I've just got the hottest job on!" And yet, they haven't asked the three most vital questions which will help them fill their "hot job".

These questions will help increase your fill rate and find basic but crucial details.

So here we go:

  • Question 1 – Specifically, how long have you been trying to fill this role?
  • Question 2 – If I found the right candidate this afternoon, could you interview them immediately?
  • Question 3 – If that candidate turned out to meet your requirements, could we get an offer and signed contract out to them tomorrow?

Simple right? The idea of these questions is to open Pandora's Box of essential information, and yes, it will provoke a lot more questions. But they will allow you to establish how serious your client is about hiring.

It's very important to remember you're not your clients' skivvy; your time is valuable. Hiring managers and recruiters are not always on the same page. Hiring only works in partnership and if all parties are working to achieve the same goal with all expectations aligned, if you can get this right your fill ratios will skyrocket.