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The 8 Vital Questions You Should Be Asking Your Candidates This Year

In a skills-short market, it’s all too easy for recruiters to get excited about promising candidates. The danger lies when this enthusiasm to place candidates makes you less discerning and thorough during the screening process than you normally would be.  

Although it’s difficult, you should be holding your candidates to the same standards as you would have done during the GFC when candidates were competing heavily for jobs. Only when they’ve passed your firm but fair requirements should they be put forward to the client.  

Without the sufficient groundwork in place, you risk recommending a candidate who either shows their inadequacies or cultural misalignment during the interview or fails to perform once in the role. Both outcomes reflect extremely badly on you as a recruiter, diminishing your professional reputation in the client’s eyes. 

Here are 8 questions that will help you determine the candidate’s suitability for the role and company, and figure out if they should progress to the client’s interview shortlist.  

 

1. This role will be paying between and Y. Are you still interested in the role 

 

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When clients don’t divulge the salary range in the job spec, it’s best to make compensation clear to the candidate during the interview process to avoid disappointment down the line. Have the money conversation upfront to painlessly weed out candidates who will never accept the salary on offer. 

 

2. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? How would you like your career to grow? 

This is an important question for a long-term fit. If your candidate answers that they see themselves as sitting several rungs up the career ladder in 5 years, you’ll know they’re ambitious and expect opportunities for rapid promotion. Is the advertised role at the company likely to provide that? 

 

3. What kind of workplace do you thrive in? What’s the best place you ever worked in, and why? 

These are great questions to predict cultural alignment. Candidates aren’t going to be privy to the culture of the organisation they’re applying for, so they’ll find it difficult to lie to impress you. You’ll notice their eyes will light up when they talk about past companies and managers they’ve loved working with, and you’ll get a nice insight into what kinds of culture they fit well into.  

 

4. What’s your natural working style? How do you like to be managed and motivated?  

Again, because the candidate doesn’t know the company from an insider’s point of view, you have an opportunity to glean a tremendous amount of useful information here. Do they like regular feedback, or prefer a significant amount of autonomy? Are they responsive to bonuses and targets, do they enjoy teamwork, do they like busy workplace environments or prefer to work in peace and solitude? 

 

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5. Tell me about a time when you’ve overcome a challenge at work/or a time when you failed. 

This behavioural question requires that the candidate looks back to a time of difficulty and explains, step by step, how they dealt with it. You should get a sense of how they respond to conflict or difficulty, and there’s also room to figure out if they tend to shift blame or accept it.  

This line of questioning can, of course, be nicely tailored to the job at hand, such as if you’re hiring for a high-intensity role you might ask ‘Tell us about a time when you were under extreme pressure and how you coped.’ 

 

6. Why are you leaving your current role? 

Watch their faces carefully, because this question can put many candidates on the back foot. Any cagey responses or looks of panic should definitely prompt you to ask further questions, as well as decide to do a particularly thorough series of reference checks. 

Of course, lots of very good candidates don’t like answering this question either as it requires them to diplomatically walk that very fine line between complaining about their last company or boss or glossing over any problems completely, so simply use this question as a guide to whether you need to investigate the circumstances of their leaving any further.  

 

7. What skill or trait do you feel will be of most benefit to this company? What skill or trait do you most need to improve? 

This two-part question allows the candidate to both showcase their biggest strength while also admitting their biggest weakness. Pay close attention not only to their answers, gauging just how critical these skills or lacks are to the job on offer, but also to how they react to each part of the question.  

How much air time they give to each part can be quite telling on their level of self-awareness as well as their self-confidence and ability to admit weakness. 

Do they talk in detail about what they’ll bring to the company, but almost skim over the weaknesses? You may have an ego on your hands, or simply someone who doesn’t like to admit weaknesses. Or perhaps you have someone who criticises themselves a lot but struggles to promote themselves. Either way, this question provides much food for thought for the savvy recruiter.  

 

8. What are you most excited about with this role?  

 

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Genuine excitement is hard to fake, so again, watch carefully. The best placements you’ll ever make are the ones where the candidate really, really wants the job, while being highly informed about what the job really is.  

Here’s an opportunity not only to spot their level of enthusiasm but also find out if they have realistic expectations about what the role comprises of. For example, if they’re wildly enthusiastic about a task that only makes up a tiny fraction of their responsibilities, then the job may not actually be the right fit for them. 

 

Final steps: proceed with caution. 

Once you’ve gathered all this information, look back on your (copious) notes about the role, the team, and the company, and make a mature, considered decision about whether this candidate truly deserves to be put forward.  

Remember, your reputation as a recruiter depends on it. Don’t risk damaging your reputation in the long-term, just to put someone forward for an interview on the off chance they’ll be hired. Even if they are hired, they may not work out, risking your placement fee as well as your good name! 

And don’t forget you can have a discussion with the hiring manager about any niggling doubts you have, allowing them to make up their own minds whether to interview the candidate.  

This makes you look very professional, as you’re showing the client clearly that you’re more interested in making the right match than securing your placement fee. On borderline candidates with high potential but a warning sign such as patchy work history, this can be a clever approach.  

 

Until next time,  

Cheryl 

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Actively Recruiting

Senior Recruitment Consultant - Internal Audit

30000 - 40000 + commission - City

(LC597)   Read more

Leadership role - Accounting and Finance Recruitment

60000 + package - Reading

(LC596)   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - A&F into C&I, Contracts

28000 - 35000 + commission -   Read more

Recruitment Consultant – Finance into Commerce & Industry

26000 - 35000 + commission   Read more

Delivery Recruitment Consultant, Accounting & Finance

26000 - 35000 + benefits - City

(LC593)   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Qualified Finance into C&I

32000 - 40000 - City

(LC592)   Read more

Senior Recruitment Consultant - Qualified Finance into Consumer

£40000 + commission + benefits   Read more

Interim Recruitment Consultant - HR

£30000 - 40000 + commission - City

(CW590)   Read more

Manager - Secretarial Support

£40000 - 70000 + OTE - City

(CW589)   Read more

Senior Recruitment Consultant - Finance into Media

£26000 - £32000 + commission -   Read more

Senior Consultant - Executive Support

£30000 - 40000 + commission - West End

(CW586)   Read more

Billing Manager - HR into C&I

£40000 - 60000 + uncapped commission -   Read more

Recruitment Consultant – Accounting and Finance into C&I

£27000 - 35000 + commission   Read more

Recruitment Consultant – PQ Finance into Retail, Perm desk

£22000 - 28000+   Read more

Recruitment Consultant – PQ Finance into Media, Perm desk

£22000 - 28000   Read more

Permanent Recruitment Consultant – Construction White-Collar

£30000 - 35000 + commission - Canary   Read more

Recruitment Consultant – white-collar construction

£31000 - 36000 + commission/no threshold - City

(MK580)   Read more

Recruitment Consultant – Architecture & Interior Design

£25000 - 35000 + uncapped commission   Read more

Managing Consultant – Facilities Management

£40000 - 50000 + commission - City

(MK578)   Read more

Senior Recruitment Consultant – Construction

$60000 - 80000 + commission - New York,   Read more

Senior Recruitment Consultant – Construction (commercial, production, design) – Dual Desk

£30000 -   Read more

Senior Recruitment Consultant – Architecture & Interior Design

£30000- 35000 + commission -   Read more

Recruitment Consultant – Trades & Labour

£30000 - 35000 + commission - City

(MK574)   Read more

Interim Recruitment Consultant – Power (Transmission & Distribution)

£30000 -35000 + commission -   Read more

Recruitment Consultant – Global Mining Recruitment Services

£30000 - £40000 + commission -   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Qualified Finance into C&I

£28000 -36000 + commission - West   Read more

Senior Recruitment Consultant - Qualified Finance into Consumer

£32000 - £45000 + commission   Read more

Billing Manager - Accounting and Finance

£50000 + commission - City

(LC568)   Read more

Associate Director/Manager - Communications

Up to £80000 - West End

(CW567)   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Treasury

£28000- 35000 - City

(LC566)   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Qualified Finance into C&I

£28000 - £35000 + commission -   Read more

Recruitment Consultant-Sales & Marketing into Fashion

£28000 - 40000 - West London

(CW564)   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - HR Business Change

£25000 - 35000 + uncapped commission   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Finance into Funds

25000 - 33000 + commission - West   Read more

Senior Recruitment Consultant - Qualified Finance into Consumer

30000 - 40000 + commission   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Change Management

£30000 - 40000 + commission - City

(LC560)   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Risk into Financial Services

£30000 - 40000 + commission -   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Accounting and Finance into Financial Services

30000 - 40000 +   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Secretarial Support

£30k - 45k + 20% commission - City

(CW557)   Read more

Senior Consultant - Primary Education

£30 - 35k + guaranteed commission of £1.5k   Read more

HR Recruiters - Consultant to Associate Director level

£35-50k + quarterly commission -   Read more

Recruitment Consultants & Team Leaders - Secretarial

£30000 - 40000 + commission +   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Digital Marketing

£30000-40000 + monthly, quarterly + annual commission -   Read more

Senior Recruitment Consultant

£30000-40000 + uncapped commission - West End

(CV552)   Read more

Senior Recruitment Consultant - Interim Payroll

28000 - 40000 + uncapped commission -   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Payroll

28000 - 32000 + uncapped commission - City

(LC550)   Read more

Manager/Snr Manager - Change Management

£60000 + commission + benefits - City

(LC549)   Read more

Senior Recruitment Consultant - Accounting and Finance

£32000 - 40000 + commission +   Read more

Senior Recruitment Consultant - Compliance

£32000 - 40000 + commission - City

(LC547)   Read more

Senior Resourcer - Public Sector

£35000 (OTE £45000) - City

(CW546)   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Criminal Justice, Public Sector

£30000+ commission - City

(CW545)   Read more

Senior Consultant - Asset Management

28000 - 40000 - City

(LC544)   Read more

Team Manager - Trades and Labour

£35000 - 45000 + uncapped commission -   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Built Environment

20000 - 25000 + uncapped commission - City

(MK542)   Read more

Interim Recruitment Consultant-Main Contract Construction, White Collar

£35000 - 50000 + monthly uncapped   Read more

Divisional Manager - FM & Maintenance

£40000 - 50000 + monthly commission +   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - HR

£30000 - 40000 (OTE £60k in year one) -   Read more

Associate Director - Interim Accounting and Finance

£60000 + package - West End

(LC538)   Read more

Senior Recruitment Consultant - Interim Finance into Media

£28000 - 40000 + commission   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Qualified Finance into Media

£32000 - 45000 + uncapped commission   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Construction

£25000 - 35000 + uncapped commission - Stevenage

(MK534)   Read more

Interim Recruitment Consultant - Facilities & Estates

30000 - 35000 + uncapped commission   Read more

Senior Consultant - Trades and Labour

£30000 - 40000 + commission - City

(MK532)   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Compliance

£28000 - 40000 + commission + benefits - City

(LC531)   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - M&E Design and Contracting

£25000 - 30000 + uncapped commission   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Actuarial

£25000 - 38000 + commission + benefits - City

(LC529)   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Banking Ops, Temp desk

£28000 - 35000 + commission -   Read more

M&E Recruitment Consultant

£25000 -30000 + uncapped commission - City

(MK527)   Read more

Senior Recruitment Consultant - PQS

£30000 - 4000 + uncapped commission - City

(MK526)   Read more

Search Consultant - Construction, Infrastructure & Property

£45000 - 70000 + uncapped commission   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Accounting and Finance

26000 - 32000 + commission - West   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Procurement

£28000 - 36000 + commission - West End

(LC523)   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Finance into Insurance

£26000 - £32000 + commission - City

(LC522)   Read more

Senior Recruitment Consultant - Digital Marketing

£30000 - 40000 + commission - Holborn

(CW521)   Read more

Divisional Director - Professional Services

£75000 (OTE year one £110000) - City

(CW520)   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Transactional Finance, temp

£25000 - 32000 + commission - West   Read more

Senior Consultant - Business Change into Legal

£40000 + uncapped commission - City   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Accounting & Finance into Legal

£28000 - 33000 + commission   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Accounting into Arts & Charities

28000 - 32000 + commission   Read more

Branch Manager - Built Environment

£40 - 60000 + commission - London

(MK514)   Read more

Principal Consultant - Compliance

£40000 + commission with zero threshold - City

(LC512)   Read more

Senior Recruitment Consultant - Finance & Accounting

£28000 - 40000 + commission -   Read more

Dual Desk Recruitment Consultant - White Collar Construction

£3000 - 35000 + commission   Read more

Executive Search Consultant - Construction & Property

£60000 + monthly uncapped commission -   Read more

Recruitment Consultant-Construction Trades & Labour

£30000-35000 + monthly uncapped commission - City

(MK508)   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - General Insurance

£30000 - £32000 + commission - City

(LC507)   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Secretarial, Temp

£40000 + uncapped commission - City

(CW506)   Read more

Recruitment Manager - Transactional/Part Qualified Finance

£50000 + package - City

(LC505)   Read more

Senior Consultant - Education

£34000 - 40000 + uncapped commission - City

(CW504)   Read more

Contract/Interim Recruitment Consultant - Construction

£30000 - £35000 + uncapped commission - City   Read more

Interim Recruitment Consultant-Health, Safety & Environment

£30,000 - £40,000 + uncapped commission   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Management Consultancy

£25000 - 30000 + commission - Fulham

(LC501)   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - HR

£35000 - £45000 + commission - Birmingham

(CW500)   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Interim Accounting & Finance

£45000 + commission - London

(LC499)   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Finance into NFP

£40000 + commission + benefits - West   Read more

Recruitment Manager - Operations

£50000 + commission - City

(LC497)   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Finance into Housing

£30,000 + commission + benefits - London   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Finance into Music, Media & Entertainment

27000 - 38000 +   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Corporate Treasury

c£40,000 + commission + bens - City of   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Luxembourg market

Flexible + commission - Surrey

(LC493)   Read more

Recruitment Consultant-Tax into Practice

£25000-40000 + commission + bens - City of London

(LC492)   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Interim Finance into NFP

c£40,000 + commission + bens -   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Change & Transformation

c£30,000 + commission + bens - City   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Tax into Financial Services

c£40,000 + commission + bens -   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - FM & Estates Professionals

£30k-35k + uncapped commission -   Read more

Manager/Team Leader, Interim Accounting & Finance

£35000- 45,000 + commission + opp for   Read more

Recruitment Consultant- Civil/Structural Engineering

£30k-40k + monthly uncapped commission - City of London

(MK483)   Read more

Temp/Freelance/Contract Recruitment Consultant

£30k-35k + monthly uncapped commission - City of London

(MK482)   Read more

Senior Recruitment Consultant- Transactional Finance

£25000 -36000 + commission - London EC2

(LC481)   Read more

Billing Recruitment Manager-Luxury Fashion & Retail

£50,000 + personal & team commission -   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - M&E Design

£25k - £35k + uncapped commission monthly -   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Procurement

£24k - 32k + commission - London - City

(LC478)   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Education

£32k + commission from 12.5% - 30% - London   Read more

Executive Search Consultant - Construction & Property

£40,000-60,000 - London - West End

(MK476)   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - White Collar Construction

30k – 50k basic plus monthly uncapped   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Accounting & Finance into Media

£26000 - 35000 + commission   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Construction Trades & Labour

£25k- 35k + monthly uncapped commission   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - White Collar Construction

£31000 - 36000 + commission and zero   Read more

Recruitment Consultant-Fundraising

£32000 + commision at up to 30% - City of London

(CW471)   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Finance into Financial Services

£26000 - 38000 + commission -   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Architecture & Interior Design

£25000 - 35000 + Uncapped Commission   Read more

Team Leader - Catering & Hospitality

£50,000 + commission - West London

(CW468)   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Finance into the Third Sector

25000 - 32000 + commission   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Marketing into FMCG

£40,000 + uncapped commission - Central London

(CW466)   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Facilities Management

£28,000 - £30,000 + monthly uncapped commission -   Read more

Recruitment Delivery Manager - Non Billing

£35,000-40,000 + override OTE c£80,000 -   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - HR

£35000 + uncapped commission - Central London

(CW462)   Read more

Senior Recruitment Consultant - Accounting & Finance

£28000 - £36000 + commission -   Read more

Senior Consultant - HR

£40,000 plus monthly commission at 25% - Central   Read more

Permanent Recruitment Consultant

£28000 - £30000 + uncapped Commission - City of London

(CW459)   Read more

Recruitment Manager - Finance

£35000 - 50000 - London EC4

(LC 458)   Read more

Secretarial Recruitment Consultant

Competitive Salary + Commission - London W1

(CW457)   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Compliance & Data Protection

Competitive Basic Salary + OTE -   Read more

Recruitment Manager - DTP

£40,000+Commission+Benefits - City of London

(CW454)   Read more

Senior Recruitment Consultant – Business Change & Transformation

£30,000 - £40,000 +   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Accounting and Finance into Charity

£28 - 35,000 + uncapped   Read more

Talent Manager

£30000 - £40000 - OTE £50000 - London

(CW451)   Read more

Recruitment Consultant-Accounting into Legal

Competitive Salary + Commission + Bens - Central London

(LC   Read more

Contracts Consultant, Financial Services

Competitive basic + commission + bonus - Liverpool Street

(LC448)   Read more

Accounting & Finance into Commerce & Industry

Competitive basic + uncapped commission +   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Transactional Finance

Competitive Salary + Commission - City of London

(LC446)   Read more

Recruitment Manager – Luxury Fashion and Retail Head Office Division

50k basic   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Transactional Finance

£28,000 - 40,000 + commission - London City

(LC444)   Read more

Recruitment Consultant – Payroll & Bens

Competitive salary + OTE + benefits   Read more

Recruitment Manager, Accounting & Finance, Commerce Perm

Competitive salary + OTE   Read more

Billing Recruitment Manager – Transactional/Part Qualified Finance team

Competitive Salary +   Read more

Secretarial Consultant

£30-40K - West End

(CW440)   Read more

Commercial/ secretarial recruitment

£30-40K - London- West End

(CW439)   Read more

PR and Communications Recruitment Consultant

£25,000- £30,000 - North London

(CW438)   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Tax into Financial Services

Competitive Salary, OTE and   Read more

Senior Manager or Associate Director- HR desk recruiting into the FS market

Competitive   Read more

Senior consultant- dual HR desk in a creative agency

Competitive salary + market   Read more

Secretarial Temporary Recruiter

£30k plus monthly uncapped commission - West End

(CW 423)   Read more

HR Permanent Consultant

£30k - £50k basic depending on experience, commission monthly 20%   Read more

Search Consultant – Tax

Competitive Salary + Commission + Bonus - City of   Read more

Search Consultant – Qualified Finance

Competitive Salary + Commission + Bonus - City   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Construction / Civils / M&E

£30k - London City

(MK 416)   Read more

Principal Consultant – Internal Audit into Insurance

Competitive salary + commission + benefits   Read more

Senior HR Perm Consultant

£40k basic uncapped commission monthly - London

(CW 413)   Read more

Consultant / Senior Consultant – Property

Up to £35k plus uncapped commission -   Read more

Consultant / Senior Consultant – Civils / Infrastructure

Up to £30k plus uncapped   Read more

Consultant / Senior Consultant - Construction Fit-out

Up to £35k plus uncapped commission   Read more

HR Perm Consultant

35k ote 80k - West End, London

(CW28)   Read more

Team Leader – Construction Build

£40k plus - London West End

(MK 407)   Read more

Principal Consultant/Team Leader – CFO Practice, Private Equity

Competitive Salary + Bonus   Read more

Recruitment Consultant – Asset Management

Salary £35,000 + Commission + Benefits - City   Read more

Recruitment Consultant - Treasury

Competitive Basic Salary + Commission + Benefits - Central   Read more

Temporary Consultant - Secretarial into Professional and Financial Services

£21-28k + competitive uncapped   Read more

Permanent Consultant - Secretarial into Creative Industries

£25-28k + competitive uncapped commission -   Read more

Temporary Recruitment Consultant - Secretarial into Professional and Financial Services

£23-28k + competitive   Read more

Temporary Consultant - Secretarial into Creative Industries

£25-28k + competitive uncapped commission -   Read more

Senior Recruitment Consultant – Tax into Practice, Perm desk

Attractive Salary + Excellent   Read more

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