10 things you hate to ask, but should

What you don’t ask may come back to haunt you! 10 questions every recruiter hates to ask.

How many times do we look to fill our job vs. work as a trusted advisor with our clients and consultants?

It is almost a protective human instinct to shy away from the hard questions or those that we don’t want to know the answer to.  In the business of placing candidates in jobs, we often look for the reason to say yes and avoid all the reasons we should say no.  Saying NO can make you the best asset to both your candidates and clients, and they don’t even know it yet.

  1. Are you currently interviewing with anyone else?
  2. Would you consider a counter offer? 
  3. Have you told your current employer you are unhappy? Asked for wants?
  4. What were you last making vs. what do you want?
  5. Have you ever worked in a an environment like this before if not, what makes you think this is a fit
  6. Reasons you have left your last few positions
  7. Gaps in employment
  8. Ability or willingness to complete a background and/or drug or Credit Check
  9. Ask the candidate to describe in detail why they think they are a fit for this position as described
  10. Have them help you write their resume/write up

 If you don't ask, you are left unprepared for the red flags that turn into deal breakers. 

Views: 11988

Comment by Andrew Hanneman on August 30, 2012 at 3:00pm

It seems like most of these are not that difficult.  For me the hardest is when you have to call BS on their reason why they left their last position because you are networked and know the real reason. 

Comment by Peter Ceccarelli on August 30, 2012 at 4:51pm

I agree that these are NOT hard questions to ask, but questions you should be asking every single candidate if you're any good as a recruiting professional.  And if you don't feel like an answer is sincere and authentic, then call it out. If you end up offending the candidate, then they were/are covering up something and everything will fall to pieces eventually down the road anyway!


Comment by Kester Piao on August 30, 2012 at 8:27pm

Thank you for sharing, Emily! Really helpful! We do fall into traps by avoiding asking qeustions like these.

Comment by Guy Swain on August 31, 2012 at 8:41am

Emily, I like the list. Thank you for posting, although I can see no reason that these questions should not be asked. They are only hard if you do not want to hear the answers. Let's face it, if you are the kind of recruitment professional that wants to do the best they can by both client and candidate, you WILL ask these questions and you WILL call BS if you have to.

Comment by Matt Larson on August 31, 2012 at 8:58am

Asking these questions is easy....anyone who doesn't should not recruit.  Dissecting the answers to these questions is part of what separates a good recruiter from one who will likely be out of the industry before too long.

Comment by Emily Gordon on August 31, 2012 at 9:41am

Correct... none of these are hard to ask... But recruiters often dont because they want the easy win. We have to seek out the red flags, the land mines etc.. prepare for them and then coach both sides into the yes or no. Being fully aware is part of what a good recruiter gets paid for. 

Comment by Jerry Albright on August 31, 2012 at 10:33am

Thanks for the topic Emily.  While I'll agree there are recruiters who don't quite get around to these questions - I don't see any of them as being hard.  What might be "hard" is knowing that you may very well uncover the truth about your candidate.  It's much easier on the soul to think everyone is on the same page - but it kills the pocketbook!

Mind if I offer just a slight twist on some of the questions?  You see - if we're only asking for yes or no - quite frequently that's all we get.  But we need information!  The whole story!  We need more than yes or no.

  • Are you currently interviewing with anyone else?

What other opportunities are you exploring at the moment?

  • Would you consider a counter offer?

I'm guessing you're a pretty important part of the team from what you've told me.  Experience tells me you're going to get a counter offer once we find your next position and you turn in your resignation.  How do you plan to react?

  • Have you told your current employer you are unhappy? Asked for wants?

What steps have you taken with __________ to address your career concerns?

I am a firm believer that if we are the one talking - we won't uncover anything.  We use to make jokes in our recruiting bullpen (yep - the 80s) where we would make up absurd "closes" and get a chuckle from time to time:

"You're probably going to accept this offer, right?"

"Isn't that a great company?!"

"You don't have any questions, do you?"

"This is the perfect job for you, right?"

Comment by Emily Gordon on August 31, 2012 at 10:41am

Yeah... not Hard, but for some reason recruiters dont like to ask.."hate" not Hard. Great insight here thanks for the additional ideas.

Comment by Elise Reynolds on August 31, 2012 at 10:57am

Nice simple list, I love it!  Thanks for putting it together.


I also like what Jerry Albright had to add, just to go a bit deeper.  I especially like "you don't have any questions, do you?" LOL

Comment by Theresa Hunter on August 31, 2012 at 11:26am

I am on board with everyone here.  I ask these questions and more.  I go into detail about why accepting a counter offer is a no win situation in regards to their career.  I ask them if they are working with any other recruiters and if they have had any interviews with in the last 6 months and with whom.  I also ask them where they have sent their resume in the last 6 months. I know it sounds silly but I also ask them if they have sent their resume out recently say in the last month or so.  I also ask them what would keep them from resigning tomorrow if the opportunity was right.  Amazing what you learn from the last question.


You need to be a member of RecruitingBlogs to add comments!

Join RecruitingBlogs


All the recruiting news you see here, delivered straight to your inbox.

Just enter your e-mail address below


RecruitingBlogs on Twitter

© 2020   All Rights Reserved   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Service