There’s nothing more basic—or more vital to your success—than the ability to write a strong, clear and qualified job order or search assignment. After all, you’re only as effective as your ability to fill jobs. And the best way to fill jobs is by having a compelling story to tell your candidates, and a clear mandate to do YOUR job to the best of your ability.
Writing up a great job order is part art and part science. The science revolves around information: getting a description of the position, the selling points of the job, the company’s sense of urgency, and getting an idea of where to look for candidates.
The art has to do with gathering all this information quickly while building a rapport with the hiring manager and nailing down a fee agreement or the terms that will benefit both parties. In other words, your “bedside manner” can make all the difference.
Check Your Checklist at the Door
I’ve found that it’s unrealistic—and somewhat impractical—to get a huge amount of detail in your first conversation with the hiring manager. Even the most patient employers tend to get fidgety after about 20 or 30 minutes.
My approach is to keep the job order—and the template I use to gather the job information—extremely simple. I try to hit the major points and get the most data possible in the least amount of time. That way, I can get a snapshot of the employer’s needs, evaluate the quality of the assignment, and prepare a list of follow-up questions to ask later.
If you’re like most recruiters, you probably use some form of a job order checklist. And that’s a great way to stay organized and not leave anything out. Unfortunately, if you work from your checklist too literally, the sheer volume of questions might make it sound as if you’re putting the employer on trial.
Remember, once the job’s been qualified, you can always go back and fill in the blanks, with additional information about the company, the specifics on the technical skills, what the hiring process is, and all that good stuff.
An artful job of taking the job order not only allows you to be more objective in your evaluation of the company’s needs; it also puts the employer at ease. Starting up a conversation is fine; launching into an interrogation may put you at odds with the very person who needs your help the most: the employer.