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3 Important Questions to Ask When Taking a Job Order

by | Jul 16, 2021 | Recruiter Training, Top Echelon Blog

Once upon a time, the phone rang in my office after hours.  Lucky for me, I was working late and answered the call.

It was one of my favorite students.  She was having problems navigating the sluggish economy.  She complained that she hardly ever wrote a “recruit-able” job order anymore and that her main problem was once she had a great job order, she was unable to recruit anyone for it.  She was stuck!

We talked about recruiting for a while, and it was obvious to me that she had a knowledge deficiency that was leading to an execution deficiency.  Yes, she was indeed stuck.  The bottom line was that she had forgotten how to do the “recruiting” part of our business.

The biggest problem we have in recruiting, other than planning and organization, is working “can’t help” job orders as “search assignment quality” job orders.  The “qualification” part of the jigsaw puzzle was missing.

I am a big proponent of qualifying the job order before starting to recruit on it.  The problem is that some recruiters compound weak marketing efforts by selecting sub-standard job orders on which to recruit.  Then they can’t put the thing together and complain about the rotten economy, when they were merely conducting business in a rotten way.

That’s why it’s important to ask the following three important questions when taking a job order, and ask them in order:

#1—“Who do you want?”

This question will separate you from all of your competition.  I am still amazed at how few recruiters ask it.  But if the hiring manager missed that you were a recruiter at the beginning of your conversation, they will now realize that you are a headhunter because you have asked for a head to hunt.

Usually the hiring manager will pause while pondering the answer to a question no recruiter has asked them before.  But the hiring manager will realize that this is an important question and may want to think about it before they respond.  It’s normal for them to call you back with many possible leads.  “Who do you want?” is a Big Biller question.

#2—“Which companies, or which of your competitors, do you respect and want someone from?”

Don’t ask, “Who are your competitors?”  First of all, if you are an expert in your niche, you should already know this.  Second, they may not want someone from a competitor.  And third, they may want someone from a company not in their field of specialization.

Now don’t let them try to put you in a corner by replying that you should know the answer to this question, because you can never know whom they respect and want someone from.  Only they can know that information.

#3—“Which industry do you want someone from?”

If you get to this question, it’s bad news.  The job order is going down the drain.  It probably means that the hiring manager has not put sufficient thought into the hiring process and this opening.

You need to FAB (Feature-Advantage-Benefit) the job order, much like you FAB the candidate, so that you can make a scintillating presentation.  Here is where you remind the hiring manager that you’re going to attempt to attract potential candidates who are happy, well-appreciated, making good money, and currently working, and you’re going to entice them to move for a better opportunity (i.e., the hiring manager’s opening).

Thus, you need something to sell, and that is why you need the company information to build a FAB presentation.  What would cause my candidate to leave their job and come to work with your company?  What is unique about your company?  You must do this in order to place the client company in the most positive light possible.

Remember, your candidate base has to be motivated to consider new career opportunities.  The recruiter must constantly be prepared to answer the prospect’s often non-verbalized question, “What’s in it for me?”—also known by the acronym WIIFM.

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Bob Marshall of TBMG International, founder of The Marshall Plan, has an extensive background in the recruiting industry as a recruiter, manager, vice president, president, consultant, and trainer.  In 2015, Marshall is celebrating his 35th year in the recruitment business.  He can be reached at or at 770.898.5550.  His website is

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