My favorite recruiting question ..... it is simple and effective.

I have been in the recruiting/staffing business for over 20 years. Wow… that is a long time.  I would like to think I am a good recruiter. And I would like to say that is because of my God given talents, which I am sure there are some. But the biggest difference between me and the recruiter who has been in the industry for 6 months, is time and experience. I have had thousands of conversations with candidates, I have made countless mistakes during some of those conversations and I have even gotten a few things right.

One of the biggest challenges I have is how I do get to the core of what the candidate is looking for in a job. There are so many questions we can ask a candidate: how much do you want to make, how long of a commute do you want, what size of a company, what culture are you looking for in the company….etc.  There are numerous books and entire training seminars on how to ask these questions, when to ask them and how to ask good follow up questions.

But then you add time to the equation. If I was able to spend an entire day with a candidate I may learn those core items he/she is looking for in a new position. And my goal is to spend as much time as possible with a candidate, and even set follow-up calls. More often than not, I get limited time with each candidate. 

So over the years I have relied on a simple question/technique to help me learn as much as I can about the candidate in a short time: What is important to you in your job search?  Now I am sure many of you are saying that is nothing new and even chuckling. But there is more.

After I ask that question and write down the answer. I then ask, “What else is important?” I write that answer down. I repeat this process until the candidate says they cannot think of anything else. When they are done I may have a list of 5 items. I then restate each answer to the candidate to make sure I heard them correctly. Once they confirm I have the details correct, I then ask “Of these 5 items, which one is most important to you?”  I do this because the last item they gave me may be the most important as they think it over. 

It is simple and it has helped me tremendously over the years. It is not bullet proof, but it will definitely help you in your recruiting efforts.


  1. What is important to you in your job search?
  2. Document
  3. What else is important?
  4. Document
  5. Back to step three. Repeat until they have no more answers.
  6. Restate and confirm the list. Then ask them which is most important from the list

 What has been your favorite recruiting technique?

Views: 257

Comment by David Flaim on May 4, 2018 at 12:03pm

This is my first ever blog. I would love to hear any feedback. 

Comment by Noel Cocca on May 4, 2018 at 4:29pm

Hello David and welcome.  It is a well-written post.  Our audience is filled with veterans and new recruiters alike so I am sure some will think this obvious and recruiting 101 but for many, this issue comes up time and again.  There are many posts on Recruitingblogs that talk about this very topic so well done and keep up the good work. 

My favorite question is "what is it about your current/past position you are glad is gone?" 



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