It all started in a training room…

When I was trained in recruitment back in the 1990s (credit to the infamous Bill Boorman for his relentless, focused and clearly successful strategy, to follow…) one of the key elements of the fundamental parts of becoming a successful recruiter was to ask open ended questions.

So Bill would ask you to leave the room of delegates and go into a separate room where a video camera was trained on you. You were to call Bill who was acting as a prospective client and you had to simply ask questions to engage with him in order to get a f2f meeting.

Sounds simple?

If you asked ONE closed question, the phone was slammed down and you had to either call back or face humiliation and walk back in the room. Knowing that everyone had seen your mistake on camera!

It worked though and I can remember coming home to my  partner and driving him insane asking such open ended questions that he was begging me to stop! “So what do YOU want for dinner? How do you feel about Salmon En Croute?”

Adding value

I often coach junior recruiters in asking questions, as I genuinely think this can be the most important part of the interview process from their perspective- due diligence, fact find, showing they are engaged- multiple benefits and who doesn’t like answering intelligent, relevant questions?

So this has led me to think, what are the 3 most important questions that YOU should be asking, whether you are a recruiter, a candidate, or an employer EVERY time you are in an interview.

* I realise that there a plethora of other questions that you must ask also, however, these 3 questions in each category matter no matter your job, sector or market*

As a recruiter:

  • What else can I do for you to assist your successful search?
  • If you could picture your career Utopia, what would it look like?
  • What is your expectation of me?

As a candidate:

  • Why do YOU work here?
  • Why do you think I should work here?
  • What is it like on a bad day here?

As an employer:

  • What management style do you respond best to?
  • What pet hates do you have in a work environment?
  • What would keep you happy in your role here if you came to work for me?

Within these 3 core questions, there is a common theme. If you notice, I have not dwelled on the technical aspect as that will be specific dependent upon role. What I think often gets missed is the softer elements; perhaps those questions which will require more listening?

The environment is key

Culture fit is often the most common reason that candidates state as their reason for leaving their current role. Undeniably true. You can always earn more money, move sector etc but fundamentally, if these questions are asked, you can get under the skin of a lot more.

I encourage anyone I partner with to be honest, open and frank. “what do I tell your client about XYZ?” I often get asked. I reply, “the truth, as you have said it to me.”

What do you think?

Do you follow a script when interviewing? How do you prepare for your interviews?
What are your ‘killer’ interview questions?
What’s the best question you have ever been asked?

As ever, your shares and comments are gratefully received.


[Image Credit: Shutterstock]

About Lysha Holmes

Lysha Holmes is founding director of Qui Recruitment established in 2005 to completely challenge the traditionally poorly perceived service offered by other Rec 2 Rec providers. Lysha as Qui Recruitment is dedicated to representing the best talent to the best suited roles, focussing on placing recruiters of all levels in a candidate led service across the NW.

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