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by J. A. Nulf, Sr. <br>Bostonian & Associates | March 31, 2009


I have a few suggestions that may help you from losing good recruits. My suggestions contain a number of basic components that most of us cover in the beginning stages of recruiting candidates but tend to leave out somewhere along the line.

When beginning the interview process, most recruiters test the waters by asking pertinent questions like: why are you looking, what are you looking for, why are you interested in this opportunity, and who else are you interviewing with? All are excellent questions. The problem begins when recruiters fail to ask these questions later on in the interviewing process. It's common to move on to other questions under the assumption that the above questions have been satisfactorily asked and answered. All too often this proves to be a serious mistake.

There are a few important things that we, as recruiters, must remember. In order to ensure a successful outcome, we must constantly test the waters throughout the recruiting process. We should always presume that the candidate is considering other opportunities while exploring ours. We must predict that other companies are going to do their best to woo our candidate away from us and our positions. That being the case, a good recruiter always asks the following questions:

  • Who are you interviewing with this week?
  • How does our opportunity compare with theirs?
  • If you had to make the decision today, which opportunity would you choose?
  • What would it take for you to choose us today (you must ask this question each time you speak to the candidate as people can change their minds from moment to moment)?
  • Why are you still interested in our offer?
  • Perhaps you should consider going with company B (a slight "take-a-way" will really give you an accurate assessment of where the candidate's head is. The same holds true for your client).
~Never try to force a deal. If my candidates decide that they want to back out at any time during the interviewing process, I ask that they immediately inform me - before the deal reaches the final stage. Often, candidates send out warning signs that go unnoticed. They attempt to tell us that they have found a better opportunity. yet we continue to push ours. It is vital that we listen to the candidate so that we are aware and prepared for when the game ends.

Another vital exercise is to have your candidates rate their interest level as it corresponds to each of the opportunities they are considering on a scale of one to five ("one" being the highest interest and "five" being the least). If you are anywhere other than number one, you'd better be prepping your number two candidate.

I recently had a client tell me that the main reason he uses my firm is because every candidate I present is always prepared for the interview. I constantly keep my client informed and will pull a candidate from the interviewing process the moment I sense something is wrong. Clients are not used to having a recruiter pull a candidate from the table - especially when they are about to make an offer. I let my client know when there is a potential problem and suggest ways to avoid any problems. I prep my client in the same manner as my candidate. I constantly test the waters by asking tough questions. Always presume there is some hidden factor of which you aren't aware. Stop, look, and listen to both tacit and direct statements by the client and your candidate. Keep testing the temperature of the water.

Another thing we recruiters sometimes overlook is the candidate's spouse. We should question the spouse; not once, but several times. Make sure he or she is part of the process. One must ask the spouse questions like: how do you feel about the prospect of your mate going to work for my client, how do you feel about relocating, what would you like to see in your mate's next opportunity, which company would you choose today if you had your choice, and why do you want your spouse to continue looking at this or other opportunities. Failure to determine the answers to these and other questions can cost you a placement. If the spouse is not happy, the candidate, and ultimately the client, will not be happy. If this happens, you too will be unhappy.

~So remember, prep, test, prep, test, prep, and test again. Don't be afraid to prepare your client for the possibility of hiring your back-up. It will pay off in the long run. In some cases, preparing a client for the loss of his first choice might lead to a double hire. One of my clients once liked both the first and second-choice candidates and ended up hiring both.

Bostian & Associates is an international staffing company specializing in electrical and electronic fields in the manufacturing and industrial environment. We primarily work within Battery, UPS, Gen Sets, and Engine Control Systems companies for harsh and hazardous situations. You can reach Bostian & Associates by phone at (704) 867-5722, fax at (704) 867-0449, or by e-mail at or


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