As a good recruiter, you’re in touch with a lot of candidates, who all have different dreams, needs, and opinions. You want to get the most efficient information from them so you can do your job while making sure they know you’re on this journey with them.
Here are a few questions to ask to get the info you need.
During the initial call
What are you good at? What do you want to be good at?
This is different from more generic questions like — What are your career goals? Where do you want to be in five years? Often those broad questions can feel intimidating to answer.
Instead, find out what your candidate likes to do, what they’re good at, and — the most telling — what they want to be good at. This will more narrowly focus your placements.
What are the obstacles you’ve faced during jobs in the past?
Think of this as an upgrade to asking a candidate about their weaknesses. Obstacles could be anything from difficulty working in an open-office plan to disorganized managers — every candidate is different.
Comparing what your candidate wants to be good at (from the above question) and what they consider an obstacle will help you find good culture fits.
What would your dream job be, if there were no limitations?
You probably can’t get your candidate a job as an astronaut or a piano bar singer. (Or maybe you can!)
But if you drill down to your candidates’ sky’s-the-limit dreams, you’ll a) suss out where your candidate might be limiting themselves and b) show your candidate you care about them as a person.
Before the interview
Any worries about this particular interview?
Let’s face it — most of your candidates will put on a brave face. So when you ask this question, give them some space to answer.
You’ll discover by putting a little silence between your question and the answer, your candidates might reveal hidden anxieties.
They might be concerned they’re not qualified enough or rusty on interviewing. Take a moment to listen.
Do you know how to find the place? Do you know where to park/where the bus stop is/etc?
You’d be surprised at how many candidates get nervous about just plain finding the building where they’re interviewing.
While you might have attached a map or given quick directions, confirm the day before the interview that the candidate actually knows where to go.
After the interview
How did the interview go?
Seems simple, but many recruiters forget to ask. After the interview, shoot a quick email or text asking how it went.
Your candidate will feel cared for — and you’ll get a sense if you made the right culture fit call.
Bonus: ask your client the same question!
Did the job seem like a good fit with your goals right now?
This is a different question than asking if the interview went well. The interview might’ve been fantastic, but your candidate might have a gut feeling that the actual job isn’t a fit. Find out.
Any feedback on the interviewer and company?
Right after an interview is a great chance for you to get the scoop on the company itself. You may see one side of the hiring companies you work with — but your candidates get an entirely different one.
When you deliver the good — or not-so-good — news
Any concerns about your next steps?
After you outline your candidate’s next moves — whether that’s looking for a different job to fill or setting them up with onboarding for the new position — find out what they’re anxious about. This will guide both of you to your next steps.
Any feedback on this process?
If you have a reputation management platform, you can make this process a little less awkward by sending them a review to fill out.
But if you have your candidate on the phone or text, ask them directly if they have feedback on their journey with you. You might be surprised!
Is there anything I can do to help you reach your goals?
Last, ask the ultimate empathetic question: What can you do to help them on their path? Their answer might be as simple as “keep in touch,” but they’ll know you’re invested in their success — and you’ll have a candidate for life.
Want more tips? Check out these 7 Actionable Tips to Improve Recruiter Performance.