7 Questions to Help Independent Recruiters Take Better Job Orders

By Dave Nerz

It is a tough market for independent recruiters, right? The work you do to fill an open position is 2 to 3 times more than what was necessary before the recession. Clients are slow to move and seem to change their minds about what they want, require and expect with each candidate that you expose them to.

So, are you taking good job orders?

  • Is the client being asked to think their requirements through? Or are you doing mind reading?
  • Is there agreement about what the client asks for? Is it written down and confirmed in writing?

Maybe you have a recruitment process; feel free to share your recruiting process via comments to this blog. If you don’t have a formal process, it may be because you have an informal process that has been working…good for you. Does it ever fail you? Maybe you don’t want to “waste the client’s time” when you know what they mean and you have candidates ready to go or can tap into a recruiter networking group to support you with a quick turn on candidates. As a frequent hiring manager at one point in my career, I can tell you my requirements changed from hire to hire, even with repetitive fills. Sometime you just need different skill sets to work with your team chemistry. Maybe a special skill is required to work a special project or with a specific client. I would not assume anything, as the cost of making that assumption is a waste of your time and the time of your recruiter networking group. Independent recruiters who work on a contingency basis only get paid for the time invested that makes a match. Are you really interested in taking on additional risk?

What if you created a simple form that collected some basic information about the job and then asked 7 straightforward questions of the hiring manager?

Basics: Company, Location of the Job, Job Title, etc

Question 1:  Money

  • Base Salary Range…more for exceptional candidates?
  • Bonus…how realistic is a bonus? Based on what?
  • Commission or other compensation available?
  • Benefits…fit to the market…better/same/worse?

Question 2:  Process

  • Who is available to interview?  Three reserved dates  _________, __________, __________.
  • What is the date you want this hire to start?

Question 3:  Required Skills and Background

Must haves:

  • bullet 
  • bullet 
  • bullet 

Question 4:  Not required but would make a candidate a standout. Dig deep here…get 3 good things!

  • bullet 
  • bullet   
  • bullet   

Question 5:  Why would the candidate choose to leave a good employer and take this position?

  • bullet 
  • bullet   
  • bullet   

These better be good…career path, company equity, flexible hours, high quality co-workers, etc.

Question 6:  The key duties of this job

  • bullet 
  • bullet   
  • bullet   


Question 7:  What will this candidate accomplish in the first 3 to 6 months if they are off to a great start?

  • bullet 
  • bullet   
  • bullet   

Sign it, and ask the hiring manager to sign it, too. Now I can sleep. I hope you will sleep better and make more placements. I know that doing this will separate you from the crowd of independent recruiters that don’t take the time to do this. It is a good investment and it brands you as a quality recruiter.


  1. Brian Kevin Johnston, 4-July-2012:

    GREAT post! Thanks for sharing…. Brian-

  2. Dave Nerz, 5-July-2012:

    Brian, love your Inbound Recruiter content! Your passion is remarkable!

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