There are a number of factors impacting client needs and how your clients set hiring goals. Their budgets could change, the market shifts, the economy rises and falls. Some of these factors are apparent and you’re able to adjust your staffing strategy accordingly. But others require feedback from clients they may not have the foresight to provide you while they are sorting out their internal affairs.
To ensure you are set up to successfully meet client needs when sourcing and securing new top talent, you must regularly check in with clients for updates. Yet a simple, “how’s it going” is not going to gain you the insight you need. You must be prepared with specific questions clients can answer easily and directly to inform your next steps.
We compiled our favorite questions from experts and expanded on their value to help you get the information from clients you need regularly:
What roles are urgent and what roles are not? – Alex Kovalenko, Senior IT Recruitment Director, Kovasys IT
Why we like this question: This is a crucial question to ask clients regularly. You constantly have talent rotating through your talent pool and while your client needs to keep as many roles filled as possible, you don’t want to waste time and resources filling non-urgent roles first. If clients do not have the answer to this question, it’s a good time to help them do an assessment or point them to their metrics.
What challenges has [your company/team] been facing? –Alex Kovalenko, Senior IT Recruitment Director, Kovasys IT
Why we like this question: Any new obstacles a client’s company faces, whether in the form of budget cuts, new investors, change in leadership, or even external factors like natural disasters impact their hiring goals. Some of these shifts can be predicted, others upset their hiring strategy at a moment’s notice. When your client needs to sort out the details of upset in their hiring process, you should be ready to help them coast over obstacles or at least know they can rely on you to pick back up with their talent sourcing.
On average, how long do your employees keep the job? – Katherine Brown, Founder and Marketing Director, Spyic
Why we like this question: This is an important detail for your clients to share with you because if they are experiencing turnover under your watch, you can turn to your data and adjust your strategy. If they are a new client, you may need to do some deeper investigative research to determine what it is about their talent acquisition and hiring process that is allowing the wrong candidates through.
What career path is available for a candidate in this position? – Katherine Brown, Founder and Marketing Director, Spyic
Why we like this question: This invaluable information is at the top of candidates’ minds. They are bound to inquire what their advancement opportunities look like. And if you can’t produce a timely and accurate response, ambitious candidates will slip away. Ask clients for details about their onboarding but also their advanced development opportunities, regular training/certifications, review processes, and how their mobility strategy is structured.
What does achievement look like? – Shiv Gupta, Marketing Director, Incrementors Web Solutions
Why we like this question: This is such a subjective assessment. But there are objective measures of achievement all clients should be able to report.
- Do they want to see X goals met?
- How can candidates show that in their resumes/interviews?
- How is employee achievement measured?
- How is it recognized?
- How frequently are employees reviewed by leadership or peers?
These details will look different from client to client and even between departments and roles. And you can expect that some of the markers will change over time, so be sure to check back on this question a few times a year.
Are there any difficulties that would prevent the placement from being successful? – Shiv Gupta, Marketing Director, Incrementors Web Solutions
Why we like this question: Face it, sometimes certain roles take a certain amount of resilience. No one wants to advertise their jobs as difficult or draining. But as a staffing professional, you need to know that information so you can screen for certain soft skills that are more likely to set the candidate up for success.
What are the three specific qualities each candidate should possess, regardless of their role? – John Marsano, Personal Finance Expert, President & CEO, Inheritance Advanced
Why we like this question: These qualities are most likely to help you screen for candidates that fit the company culture and values. However, there could be personal attributes that have proven to make new hires more likely to quickly transition into their roles no matter what their job responsibilities. Your clients likely have an idea of what these qualities are, but if not, their employees do. Encourage clients to use all of their resources when reporting these qualities.
What kind of skills do you prioritize in the candidate? – Jeremy Ellis, Cofounder & Chief Innovator, LaunchPad
Why we like this question: This is a little different from the above question. Soft skills could be among them, but it’s likely your clients have specific tools they use. If there are hard skills that take priority over soft skills and personality traits, you may need to update your talent sources to quickly find the best-qualified talent. This is especially important if your client changes their technology or processes. Be sure to check for updates once or twice a year, especially at the start of the new year when they will have a new budget to work with.
What would make you reject someone? – Bradley Stevens, Sales Coordinator, LLC Formations
Why we like this question: The most obvious reason is they don’t fit their needs, but the truth is, your staffing process shouldn’t allow bad-fitting candidates through to that stage. It’s possible if you’re experiencing a high rejection rate, there is something you don’t know about. In this case, your client may need to review their decision-making process to be sure it’s void of unconscious bias that may be keeping their team from gaining highly-qualified talent.
What benefits are you offering [incoming] candidates? –Bradley Stevens, Sales Coordinator, LLC Formations
Why we like this question: Employee benefits packages are important to candidates. They may have benefits listed in their job descriptions or on their careers page, but there is sometimes fine print. Many companies offer limited benefits on a probationary basis.
For example, commissions/bonuses may not be earned or may increase after the first few months of employment. Some employees are not offered healthcare benefits right away, whether this is also during a probationary period or until open enrollment. Employees may need to work at a company for a year or more to earn 401k matching or a spending account. It’s important that new talent doesn’t go into a role expecting different benefits than they receive.
What are your pain points when it comes to hiring? – Daniela Sawyer, Founder and Business Development Strategist, FindPeopleFast.net
Why we like this question: There are bound to be some issues internally that the HR/hiring team has caught onto. Maybe they have issues with scheduling. There could be long delays in feedback. Or perhaps they struggle with structuring their interview questions to streamline narrowing down candidates effectively.
Digging to find out what internal pain points might experience gives you insight into ways you can help speed up the process for better candidate satisfaction and engagement. It also ensures you can accurately inform candidates of the timeline they can expect to hear a response.
What is the strength of your team, currently? – Daniela Sawyer, Founder and Business Development Strategist, FindPeopleFast.net
Why we like this question: Clients should know the strength of their team, whether it is they work together like a well-oiled machine, or they have an amazing social dynamic that keeps everyone motivated, or maybe they constantly challenge each other. The candidates you suggest to your client needs to fit this mold while bringing something new and exciting to the table.
What kind of recruitment metrics do you track during the hiring process?– Bishal Biswas, CEO, Word Finder
Why we like this question: Reviewing your staffing metrics is an essential step in improving your staffing process and placements, however, knowing how your recommendations are faring once they reach your client’s hiring process and beyond is invaluable. Your staffing firm is essentially an extension of your client’s recruiting team. You want to be sure your data reveals the same positive outcomes and uncover areas you can improve for the benefit of everyone.
Have you changed your preferences about the shortlisting of candidates based on recent interviews? – Perry Zheng, Engineering Manager, Lyft
Why we like this question: This question should pop up regularly. You are taking steps to keep improving your staffing outcomes and offer your clients better and better placements. Naturally, you need to know if you miss the mark, but you also need to know when you’re right on target. The more insight you gain to meet client needs and the more frequently you check for updates to their preferences and processes, the more valuable you are to their hiring process.