The Art of Consciously Qualifying Job Orders

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Sift through job orders before investing your time in a fruitless chase.


Maybe you want to bill a million dollars, or maybe you want to be able to take five weeks of vacation this year.  Taking extra time upfront to qualify job orders can help you reach your business goals.  Don’t waste time hunting for mythical candidates, or trying to fill job orders that don’t really exist.  Be picky about the searches you take on and begin filling jobs more consistently.


In the age of mobile & social recruiting there will always be tools you can use to meet your goals.  However, it’s easy to get lost in technology and lose sight of the bigger picture.  When qualifying job orders, a good strategy begins with valuable conversation and is backed-up by technology.

11 Ways You Can Qualify Your Next Job Order

1.  Candidate Availability

Does a candidate for the opening potentially exist?  Will you have a big enough candidate pool to provide your client with a match?

Qualifying job orders is just one more reason why it is valuable for recruiters to carve out a niche.  When you are an expert in an industry, you should have a pretty good idea if a particular skill set is easy or difficult to come by.  In addition to industry knowledge, you can also perform a quick search in your ATS to get a feel for what your internal candidate pool has been like for the position.  If you need to go a step further, you can consult with industry blogs and tools like LinkedIn to help gauge if your candidate may actually be out there.


Tools:  Industry Blogs, LinkedIn, ATS

2.  Priority

How big of a priority is it that the client fills the position?


Determining urgency begins with a simple question to the client.  However, assessing a client’s answer is not always easy.  Hesitancy or an obscure answer is a red flag that filling the position is not a priority for your client.  If you are lucky enough to have a client tell you that they need the position filled immediately, take their response with a grain of salt.  Use prior experience with the client, tap into your recruiting network, and use follow-up calls to assess if the job order continues to be worth pursuing.  Are they really desperate to fill the position, or are they just trying to get you off the phone?


Tools: Conversation, Your Network

3.  Exclusivity

How many firms are you competing against?


A quick assessment of the major job boards can tell you if the job order has already been sent to many sources.  VMS job orders probably have at least two or three vendors working them.  If you decide to try and fill a job order that is being pursued by several parties, speed is your weapon.  A good ATS will have VMS solutions, as well as help you work as efficiently as possible.  If there are not other parties involved, stress to your client advantages of working exclusively with a recruiter.


Tools:  Search Engines, Job Boards, ATS

4.  Process Time

How long will it take to process a candidate from first contact to final decision?


Ask your client how long it general takes to process new hires.  If you haven’t established a relationship with HR already, now is a good time to do so.  Forward your question to an HR manager as well.  HR may have a better understanding of time constraints, and also be able to help set you up for success in getting a candidate placed more quickly.  They know the ins & outs of the hiring process, and can help you get everything in order and overcome corporate roadblocks and bureaucratic red tape.


Tools:  Conversation

5.  Salary/Earnings & Fees

Is the client willing to meet my fee expectations?  Is the salary large enough to pay me a decent fee?

There are a lot of recruiting resources available for determining fees.  Determine the lowest fee you’re willing to take, weighted by the salary or earnings of the position.  Your ATS should provide you with a margin calculator to help you determine client billing.  If the client is unwilling to meet your fee expectations, it may be time to move on to greener pastures.

Tools:  Conversation, ATS Margin Calculator

6.  Repeat Business

Will this client be a future source of income?  Is it possible to form relationships with more than one contact at this organization?


Ask you client about future placement opportunities.  Reach out to department heads beyond your initial client contact, as different departments may have different needs.  Assess the potential for placing candidates in future openings at the firm.


Tools:  Conversation, Networking

7.  Mutual Cooperation

Will the hiring manager work with me to make the placement happen?


If the hiring manager is not open to communicating with you,  doesn’t seem to be on board, or just can’t be reached, you may be setting yourself up for wasted time, unless another contact at the company -  i.e. the HR manager – can help facilitate the placement.


Tools:   Conversation, Networking

8.  Completeness (How well developed are the job order and descriptions)

Is the job order well developed?  Does it demonstrate that your client truly knows the position they are trying to fill?


Does your client really know what the job opening is, and who they are looking for?   If not, you could be in for a long, dragged-out process.  If the job order has holes in it, speak with your client.  If they can’t seem to fill in the blanks, they may need some time before the job order is worth pursuing.


Tools:  Conversation, Networking

9.  Relationship

Is this a new or existing client?  Has your firm made successful placements with this client in the past?


A good ATS should give everyone at your firm the ability to track client relationships with notes.  Use your ATS to quickly research your firm’s history with the client. Reconsider working with a client who has not given you any placements in the past.  If it is a new client, use your network to get a feel for the culture at their firm.  Do they value their employees?  Have they been receptive to recruiting firms in the past?


Tools:  ATS, Industry Network

10.  Values

Am I comfortable placing an employee at this company?  Will I feel guilty placing someone with a company that undervalues its employees or employs questionable business practices?


If you have a moral dilemma with placing a candidate at a certain company, the job order may not be worth chasing.


Tools:  Gut Reaction

11.  The Call Back

The initial call went great, but is the client willing to take your second call?


Miscommunication, or a desire to get rid of you – both reasons why the initial call to a client might prove falsely promising.  Call your client back the next morning or afternoon.  If they are still willing to spend time with you, it is a serious job order.


One strategy is to present the client with a candidate from your database who is not necessarily a match, just to gauge the client’s reaction when being presented with a candidate.  If the client doesn’t seem particularly receptive, the job order may not be worth your time.  A good ATS can help you set alerts, organize your call schedule, and provide one-touch dialing with a VOIP integration.


Tools:  Conversation, ATS scheduling



How much time do you spend qualifying job orders?  What red flags do you look for before pursing a lead?



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