Recruiters ask questions.  It's what we do.  A phone call earlier today reminded me of how important really listening to those answers is in our ability to be successful.

Over the years I've heard many answers to some very important questions I've asked that upon reflection are really nothing concrete at all.  When you pay attention closely you can get a very different meaning.  Here's what I mean:

Me:  Are you prepared to accept this offer?
Candidate:  I'm certainly in a position to make this happen.

This means nothing to me.  While quite a few novice recruiters might think the guy just said yes - when I hear this answer I hear someone that, even though they should, they probably won't.

Me:  What does your wife think about this move?
Candidate:  She let's me "do my thing".  She works at home - so moving isn't a big deal.

This is a guy who hasn't even spoken with his wife about this job.

Me:  Is this the right career move for you?
Candidate: Someone in my position can't be too picky.

While you might think this person just answered "Yes" - in reality they have said "No - it's the wrong position" - but it sounds like they said exactly the opposite.

That's it for now.  I just got off the phone with a candidate who answered "Will you accept an offer if the money is in line" with......wait for it..........................."I think this thing has some pretty good traction."

Pay attention out there everyone!


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great post. when you hear one of these non-answers, do you then follow up with the same question just worded differently and make them admit they aren't pursuing the position?

Your post leads to the next topic - when is it acceptable to let the candidate hang up the phone? When I was real new to recruiting, I did just like the examples above..the non answers had me all excited thinking I had one in the bag, only to be crushed later..eventually I got strong enough to demand that I get straight answers in full, or I was going to drop him as a candidate, and tell the hiring authority to look at other people because waffles and wobblers can't play in my sandbox.
I hate , repeat hate double talk and trendy buzzwords. My response to all of those answers would be,

"Great i will tell the company you accept and will call you back in a few minutes to give you their expected start date." Then I hang I wait ten minutes to see if the candidate calls me back in a panic. If they do then we get down and dirty fast with some real answers and some words that mean something. It's SHOW TIME Charlie , I'm not your mommy and i'm not your babysitter. I am your recruiter , this is my client so fight, fornicate or hold the light, tanow, not tamorrow.
Great post, and one that get's us thinking about the dangers of assuming.

It's time like these when the Ms. Nice Recruiter gloves come flying off... I feel I get better "traction" without the gloves anyways ;)
Thomas - anytime (which happens in most conversations) I'm given an answer that "sounds' like something concrete but isn't (like "I'm not in a position to say no") I'll use a variation of this:

"What do you mean by that?"
"Can you tell me a little more?"
"Help me make a more specific not about that."

Never leave an important issue up in the air. I've found it's human nature to go along with something that's not the truth if you're not the one saying it - rather than say something on your own that is not true.


"Are you prepared to accept an offer?" - Yes.

It's far easier to agree to that, even if you're not ready to accept than say on your own "I am ready to accept an offer"

I've got millions of examples.....

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