July 19, 2018

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One Little Question

One little question is all it takes to keep your deal from exploding at the last minute.

The candidate has spent the last week meeting with your client, and it looks like a placement will result. Yes, theyíve fallen in love. Donít go buy that boat yet. That little red light on your phone means thereís a voice mail message waiting for you from the candidate. You listen to the message and you can barely hear the candidateís voice because of the ĎThu-Thump, Thu-Thumpí from your heart. The adrenaline rushes throughout your body as you feel the tinge of anxiety when you listen to your candidate telling you heís backing out at the final hour.

This is how they usually say it, "Hey, um, Iíve been thinking. Um, I just, um, wanted to tell you that I canít take the job right now. But thanks for all your help." Click.

Hereís what you should have asked the candidate in the beginning of the process to keep him from backing out:

"Is there anything keeping you from going forward and making a move in the next thirty to ninety days?"

Ask this question before you put the candidate in the process. When you put a specific short-fused timeline in the question, it focuses the candidateís mind on his calendar and helps him really understand that this move could take place. By giving a timeline in the question it helps him understand that itís a real situation.

The objective of this question is to determine the difference between deal killers and deal complicators. A deal killer is when the candidate says that his daughter just made the varsity cheerleading squad and he canít relocate. A deal complicator is when he says heís expecting a bonus in six months. If it can be overcome, itís a deal complicator. If it canít, itís a deal killer.

Remember, the deals are in the details. Insert this question early in your process and see how much easier it is to deal with issues before the candidate and the client fall in love with each other.

- Scott Love

Copyright © 2005 Scott 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.