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Recruit Interested Candidates Faster and More Efficiently


When you have a job order to fill and get a candidate on the phone to describe the position, you ultimately get to the clincher question: Is this the kind of opportunity you would like more information on?

What you do when candidates say ‘YES’ can largely determine your success as a recruiter. Many hear a YES and launch into qualifying mode. It feels like the right thing to do, but it isn’t. It’s a trap and you can tap into better tools to start immediately seeing better success and speed of finding qualified and interested candidates!

Stop Wasting Time

When a candidate says “Yes, I’m interested in more information,” many recruiters launch into a 10-, 20-, or 30-minute qualifying conversation with a person they just talked to for the first time! The stream of questions starts flowing. How long have you been at your current job? Have you ever done this? Have you ever done that? What did you do before? Were you involved with some certain project? Have you used some specific software? And on and on with a whole series of questions that the recruiter imagines will build some level of rapport with the candidate.

Eventually, your critical compensation question is asked: What’s your current base salary? When a candidate’s answer to that question is way beyond the scope of your job order, then you just wasted a colossal amount of time.

Slow Your Script

What you need to do is slow it down a moment – back away and give the candidate time to think. When they say “Yes, I want to learn more,” don’t launch into a flood of questions.  Instead, set up the next steps for the process to really uncover their interest. Replace that deluge questions with a new script that goes something like this:

“Mary, that’s great you’re interested. Let me tell you what I’d like to do. I realize I caught you off guard with this phone call and I’m sure you have many questions. Please let me do this the right way to move us along. What’s your home email address? […write that down…] Thank you. Tonight, you’re going to receive a brief email from me. It will include the formal job description for you to review. Look it over and if it’s still something you’re interested in, then I ask you to review the other document in that email which is a Candidate Information Sheet.

I encourage you to take your time with that sheet and fill it out as completely as possible. Give special attention to the section marked “hot button questions” because they are areas our client has determined will be critical areas of expertise required for the position. I will be sharing those answers with the client as part of our submittal package and it will give you a huge advantage over other candidates who will only be submitting a resume and won’t be able to address the specific needs our client has identified for this role.

Also, my advice is to complete it and get it back to me as quickly as you can because I know the client is actively interviewing candidates now. Once I get the information back from you, then we’ll set up a time to talk again and take it one step at a time from there.”

By taking this approach, you’re allowing the candidate to take some time to think about the opportunity before deciding if they want to pursuit it. Let them do their prequalifying stage at home, on their personal time.

Give Them Space

Following that initial phone call, the email you’ll be sending should read something like this:

Hi Mary,

I’m excited about the interest you expressed in the job opportunity we discussed today. As promised, I’ve attached a copy of the job description for further clarification. I also urge you to explore the company’s web site at […insert link here…].

Additionally, if you decide this is an opportunity you would like to pursue, review the attached information sheet with questions you’ll need to answer before we can move further in the process. After sending back to me your answers in that document along with a clean and current copy of your resume, I’ll then coordinate a follow up call with you to explore next steps.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thank you!

Some recruiters balk at identifying their client by including the company’s web site. What they fail to appreciate is that human beings follow the path of least resistance! The path they’re familiar with is you – you’ve even outlined what the next steps are. However, if you prefer more confidentiality, then simply don’t point them to the company’s web site.

Your Candidate Information Sheet should include form details like this sample…

Candidate Information Sheet:

Contact Information & Compensation

This is the information our clients require when we present them with a resume. It also helps us to better match you with future job openings. We will not be able to submit you as a candidate until we receive this document back from you. Please answer and email back to me ASAP for a better opportunity to secure an interview in a timely fashion.

  • Name:
  • Work phone (if you can be contacted there):
  • Work email (if you can be contacted there):
  • Cell phone:
  • Home email:
  • Are you selectively looking or actively looking to make a job change? Why?
  • Current compensation (companies will verify, so be as exact as possible):
    • Base:
    • Bonus potential:
    • Bonus earned last year:
  • What are you seeking in total compensation?

NOTE: See that the compensation aspect is addressed right up front. It emphasizes that this a serious process and will eliminate the candidate hedging in a conversation. It also makes it harder for them to put something in writing that they could be called to account for later.

General Questions

  1. How many hours or which shifts would you be willing to work?
  2. Are you willing to relocate? Any restrictions?
  3. Describe your job search activity in the last 6 months. Did you receive any offers?
  4. Do you believe your current employer would make a counter offer to keep you?
  5. Would you be interested in hearing about any of our contract opportunities?
  6. Identify the office, inventory management, database, tracking, or information software/systems you have experience using.
  7. How much do you currently travel for work?
  8. How much are you willing to travel?
  9. Do you have a non-compete or reimbursement clause for tuition or relocation assistance?
  10. Are you a U.S. citizen, or national, permanent resident alien, or an alien currently legally authorized to work in the United States? Proof of identity and work authorization will be required prior to employment.

NOTE: These general questions get tailored to each position. Some may not be relevant or cause confusion and should be eliminated. Also, if you fulfill a lot of the same positions (ex. JavaScript developers), then you may opt to create a standardized list of general questions and information sheet that you use for those types of positions.

Hot Button Questions

(These are the areas the employer has designated as critical to the success of this position. Please answer each question as thoughtfully and thoroughly as possible).

  • Describe your recent exposure to …
  • Explain your knowledge of …
  • Give an example about a time when you …
  • Outline for me a project where you …
  • Define your expertise in…
  • Describe a situation when you …
  • Explain a time when you had to …
  • Describe a situation where you were asked to …
  • Explain the details surrounding the last time you used…

NOTE: These are sample questions and should be tailored to fit the particular needs of your client. This is the recruiter’s opportunity to virtually interview that candidate and drill into skills and abilities. What you would’ve asked on the phone can be asked here. These questions change job-by-job and sometimes you’ll use three where other times you’ll use eight. It’s your chance to dive behind their resume and get details about their experience.

References Available for Immediate Contact

As part of my organization’s process to give you an advantage over other candidates our client may be considering for the position, we like to conduct informal reference checks at the beginning of the process. Please provide name and email address for two peers you’d be comfortable with us contacting today about your professional background.

Disclosure Statement: I understand that may conduct a reference and education check. This reference may include information regarding character, work record, general knowledge and capabilities, and reputation. I hereby acknowledge that I have read and understand this statement, and hereby authorize the company to obtain a reference check as described above.


Professional Reference 1:
Email Address:

Professional Reference 2:
Email Address:

NOTE: By obtaining these references early in the process, you’re poised for more confidence when presenting your candidate to the client. Often this also expedites the offer later in the process with reference checks already complete.

Better Process = Better Results

By using the Candidate Information Sheet, you have a simple yet incredibly powerful questionnaire tool that serves a variety of purposes:

  1. Procures additional background information on the candidate.
  2. Helps/requires the candidate to engage in the process.
  3. Measures the candidate’s interest in the specific opportunity.
  4. Helps recruiters focus on the people truly qualified for their time and the position.

A completed and returned Candidate Information Sheet will be an excellent indicator for how interested your candidate is. It will also allow you to be efficient! Those candidates are completing this worksheet on their own time while you’re out living your life or growing your business!

It’s also worth mentioning that the quality of their answers will be so much better when they have time and space to think about their answers, rather than when you catch them off guard in the middle of their workday (perhaps among work colleagues!).

Finally, if you think your candidates won’t follow this process, you’re dead wrong. It’s been tested and proven among hundreds of recruiters to great success. Type of position doesn’t matter either – from IT, to oil rigs, to executive management – candidates actually interested in the opportunities being presented are completing these sheets all the time and those recruiters are working more strategically and efficiently than you. It’s time to change up your technique for a better edge!

Check out our next blog where we discuss qualifying candidates and having a conversation around compensation.

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