July 19, 2018

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Give More Choices, Make More Placements

Do you want to get better information from your candidates and employers? Or would you rather exert greater influence and have more control?

In a nutshell, that’s an “alternate choice” close. See how it works? I gave you two choices, both of which would produce a positive outcome.

But can a classic old-school sales technique work in a sophisticated selling environment like recruiting? Yes, if used thoughtfully.

Let’s say the hiring manager has a concern about your candidate’s educational credentials. You can either confront the concern head-on, or use an alternate choice close. Instead of saying, “But he’s fully capable of doing the job,” you might respond by asking an “A or B” question, such as:

“Are you concerned that the lack of a four-year degree would reflect badly on your company’s brand? Or, is it that the candidate may not have the technical knowledge to perform his duties?”

The employer will then be forced to choose between the two concerns. Even if the answer is “neither,” you’ll clarify your understanding by asking the employer to identify the real concern. At that point, you’ll be more more likely to find a satisfactory outcome.

Embedding Multiple Options

With a little practice, you’ll find all sorts of ways to express the alternate choice close. Here are several more examples:

With Candidates

* “Is my job opportunity something you’re interested in, or is there another type of position you’d find more appealing?” (recruiting the candidate)

* “I saw the LinkedIn profiles on some former colleagues of yours: Howard Jones and Amy Smith. Tell me: Which one do you think would be stronger in a sales role?” (stimulating referral activity)

* “Which aspect of the job is more appealing to you: the title or the potential for advancement?” (assessing interest)

* “You said you earned $125,000 last year. Was that straight salary, or base salary plus commissions?” (gathering information)

* “Would you prefer to interview Monday afternoon? Or would Tuesday morning be better?” (getting a commitment)

* “Given the two opportunities you’re considering, would you rank my job as your favorite? Or would the other job you’re considering be a better fit?” (assessing interest)

With Employers

* “If I find a highly qualified candidate who’s a bit above your target pay range, should I disqualify the person or present his background to you?” (testing for sense of urgency)

* “I know it’s a tough choice between two highly qualified candidates. Would you like to make an offer to one of them and see how it goes? Or might it benefit your organization long-term to hire them both?” (helping the employer choose)

* “I’m glad you’ve decided to hire my candidate. Would you like to make the offer yourself, or shall I extend the offer?” (assigning tasks)

* “It looks as though the candidate has other offers. Do you want to roll the dice and make an offer? Or would it be best to back off until the candidate is committed to accepting our offer?” (capture strategy)

* “I can either invoice you at full fee if paid within 30 days. Or, I can give you a discount for fast turnaround. Which would you prefer?” (establishing terms)

On the surface, the alternate choice close is designed to deprive the other side of their ability to say “No.” But I’ve also found that multiple-choice questions can be extremely useful in deepening your understanding of situations, motivations and intentions. So, have some fun and see how you can weave this simple technique into your daily conversations.

- Bill Radin

Bill Radin is one of the most popular and highly regarded trainers in the recruiting industry, and has trained many of the largest independent and franchised recruiting organizations, including Management Recruiters, Dunhill, Sanford Rose, Snelling and Fortune Personnel. His speaking engagements include the NAPS national conference, the annual Kennedy Conference, and dozens of state association meetings and network conventions, including Top Echelon and