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The First Three Questions I Ask

The First Three Questions I Ask

Illustration depicting a sign with a qualification concept.

Great Recruiters know time is their most precious commodity so they maximize every minute of every day. Part of maximizing efficiency is a thorough understanding of what makes a good fit for our clients and our candidates. Not only do we need to make sure someone is interested in our opportunity, but we also need to make sure they are qualified (one of the main reasons our clients continue to work with us). When I say qualified, I don’t necessarily mean able to perform the tasks associated with successfully performing the work. Qualifying candidates requires an eye toward the intangibles as much as the measurable traits hiring managers look for in great people. I ask these questions first to save everyone time.

Have you made up your mind to leave your current position and if so why?

I almost always ask this question first to get people thinking about their motivations to make a change. I want candidates to reflect on how serious they are about embarking on a job search, interviewing, quitting their current job and starting a new position with all the associated unknowns inherent in making a job change. If you’re serious about making a change I can help you and if not that’s ok. I can give you my state of the job market update for your skills and experience, stay in touch and if or when the time is right we’ll reconnect. I try to add value and offer my insights to everyone with which I interact.

How much are you making and how much are you asking for in your next position?

Questions number two always involves the money talk. Sometimes I ask this one first, just so I can move on if we’re way off base. Money matters, so let’s talk about it early and often. First off I want to make sure you are realistic in your salary expectations. I compare your expectations with what I know the market will bear for someone with your skills and experience. If your unrealistic about your expected salary from the start, chances are we will remain apart. I want to know what you’re making now and what it would take for you to make a move. Having done this for as long as I have I realize your pay rate is only one factor of overall compensation, but in my experience, it’s best to cover this first before moving forward in our conversation so there’s no surprises. My job is to manage expectations and in order to do so we need to have this conversation early in our relationship.

What are 3 things you want in your next job which are missing today?

This is where we start to get into the nitty gritty of your reasons and motivations. I want to know what excites you to get up a get working every day. I want to hear about your frustrations and challenges and how you think you can avoid them in your next position. I like to ask you to tell me your wish list for your next position and then I’ll ask you to drill down on the MUST HAVE’s and NICE TO HAVE’s in your next role. It’s important to drill down the wish list to a set of tangible expectations. It’s also important to keep focused on the top 2-3 MUST HAVE’s rather than getting blinded by a bunch of shiny NICE TO HAVEs. For example, if you are looking for a new position because your commute is over an hour and it is interrupting your time with your family, to take a new position 30 min further for a $10k increase in salary will most likely lead to the same frustrations that you felt before you made the change.

Once I better understand the answers to these three questions it’s my job to make sure I present only the jobs that match your individual needs. If the opportunity doesn’t exist now, then I’ll keep the lines of communication open for when the right fit presents itself. If the opportunity doesn’t exist, it’s my job to set expectations on the realities of the market. Hopefully, and more often than not, we can continue our conversation so I can share with you all the amazing things my clients offer. After all, as an agency Recruiter working on a contingent basis my goal is to save you as much time as possible. We live in the industry all day, every day, speaking with your colleagues and competitors. We have a real time data repository of market intelligence guiding us to ensure you have the most thorough and up to date information necessary to make the best decision for you, your family, and your career.


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