June 20, 2018

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More Candidate Debrief Questions

Part 2

After the candidate gives you an overview of the interview, continue to ask these types of questions to take the process to the next step. Remember that each step of the placement process leads the process to the next step and by thinking that way, you’ll increase the odds of a closed placement. Always think "next step, next step, next step" when talking with candidates.

2. "What did you like best about the company? What did you like best about the person you’ll be reporting to?"

Yes, find out first what the candidate liked best about everything. I first learned this technique from one of Finkel’s videotapes when I first got in the business, and it’s a great way to shape the rest of the process. Listen to how enthusiastic the candidate is with ‘what they liked best’ about everything. If you hear a hesitation or if they say, "Let me think about that for a minute…" then you are picking up subtle clues that maybe the client didn’t shine as well as you had hoped. Remember that anytime you talk with a candidate, the emphasis is always on how the client’s opportunity can meet the needs of that candidate.

This is also why we qualify candidates in the beginning about what they get excited about in an opportunity. We then share that information with the client before the interview, and instruct the client to "make sure you tell Bob about ______ because he told me the first time we spoke that _____ was the primary driving force in his career."

3. And then ask the candidate: "Did my client tell you about how working there can help you get _____? How important is that to you still?"

Once you continue to find out about the candidate’s perspective of the meeting, you can get a quantifiable measurement of his or her interest level by asking this question:

4. "So on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 meaning that you are most interested, where would you put your interest level?"

This numerical figure not only quantifies the candidate’s interest level, but also any hesitation. At that point you could say,

5. "So if your interest level is a seven, what is between seven and ten that would keep you from moving forward?"

Next week: handling candidate objections after the first interview and getting an idea from the candidate on the client’s perspective.

Read Part 1 at

-Scott Love

Copyright © 2005 Scott T. Love

Scott Love improves the performance of recruiters and the margins of search firms and staffing agencies. His training website,, has become one of the largest free internet training sites for the industry. To have him show your staff how to produce more than they thought possible, call him at 828-225-7700.