When it comes to qualifying, there are 3 questions I live by. The first is "Why is this position open?" The second is "What are the details of the job?" And last, but certainly not least, "What is the budget for the project?" These seem simple enough, and easy to say...but so many people I have worked with don't ask these questions, and then wonder why their candidate doesn't get hired or the company goes dark on them.
Breaking these down:
"Why is this position open?"
This question is essential for finding pain points, as well as gauging urgency. If someone left unexpectedly, then this is a perfect time to pitch a contractor. It gives you a chance to be the company's savior, and can close a deal quickly...just by asking this question. Other follow up questions I ask are "Did the person leave without notice?" or "Are you loosing business without this role filled?" You can then attack in the right direction.
"What are the details of the job?"
Skill set, duration, must haves, environment/culture, etc. You want to find out as much as you can. Typically I will jump on the phone with the client at this point (being an IT professional and recruiter) to show the client technical proficiency, as well as get a solid understanding for the role. Managers respond very well and we have stolen business (sorry) just based off of our qualifying. Other questions to follow this: "What kind of project are they working on?" or "What is the interview process?"
"What is the budget for the project?"
Given what this means...I mean, c'mon. I always talk in terms of bill rate, never annual salary. This way, you are on the same page start to finish with the client, as opposed to giving them sticker shock. NEVER ASK TO GET HR IN THE MIX...they are a progress killer. You will get a more realistic budget from the hiring manager, because he proposes the budgets for his department typically and HR wants to hammer you on rate just to save costs.
These are just a couple of things to do, but they always have helped me in getting better orders and just by asking these questions my close rate doubled.
Any thoughts? Any additions? What questions work for you?