Recruiters know that managing the placement process by asking questions is critical to their success. Many of the questions can be very personal but once you've established yourself as an expert, both employers and candidates will answer your questions. People are complicated and asking questions helps all parties involved sort out their true feelings and motivations when it comes to making/accepting an offer.
What do we do with all the answers to our questions? Recruiters use the information to keep the placement process on track and grounded. "Mike, there seems to be some hesitation about accepting the offer. What's up?" (An open ended question gives a candidate freedom to express what's on his mind. Closed questions require a simple 'yes' or 'no'.)
If an offer is yet to be extended, "Mike, you said you wanted a position with more responsibility related to project management...this position will definitely stretch your responsibilities from day one, yet I hear some hesitancy as you talk about the position. Under what circumstances, if any, would you accept the position, if offered?" Again, an open ended question calls for a candidate to elaborate.
This is a good pre-close after the first interview with the employer. As Recruiters we must allow the candidate to voice their thoughts and help them feel it's safe and necessary to do so. Voicing concerns is not easy for many people. Concerns left untended cause deals to fall apart unnecessarily.
It's common for employers and candidates to say things to you, the Recruiter, as a confidant and middle man, that they wouldn't say with the other party present. Sometimes there's an atmosphere of 'it's gotta be this way or no deal'. Don't believe everything you hear because you'll hear a lot of venting. When two parties keep inching closer, they both have a vested interest in getting to an outcome that meets the needs of both parties.
As a Consultant, help each party honestly evaluate the different aspects of their decision and keep asking questions. As a Recruiter you add value to the process by being a sounding board and advisor. It's miraculous how problems can be solved best by the two people who want the deal to happen most.
Trust the process. Don't force a bad deal just to make a placement. By not 'pushing' the process and by asking questions both sides will feel they are chosing what's best for them. That's a perfect outcome and part of why it's worth the effort to get you 'black belt' in asking questions. It's also part of the reason why you deserve the big bucks!
By: Kimberly Schenk