Competencies of a recruitment consultant

3/12 – Interviewing For Commitment

Part 3 of my series “So you’ve become a recruitment consultantwhat does that really mean?” and after qualifying the candidates, vacancies and clients last week, we now move on to interviewing best practice.


There is a process to gaining commitment as a recruitment consultant, from your candidates and making sure that they represent your consultancy in a positive way.


If you are only spending 5 minutes or so when you identify a possible candidate before putting them forward to a role, the likelihood is that you won’t make an ideal match and you certainly haven’t done anything at this stage to gain commitment from this candidate or warrant your fee from the client.

Step 1

Spend 5 to 10 minutes in a conversation with them in order to qualify that they meet your standards and are not likely to let you down during the process. Motivation is key here. If they are not motivated to make a move now, then they may look like the best candidate in the world, but without wanting to accept a new position, then they are unfortunately, just a waste of time at present – great for networking with and getting referrals from, but not right for submitting to clients. You’ll end up feeling really depressed because “they looked so good!”


Step 2

Interview them fully to make sure that you understand their future wants and needs is vital – not just what they’ve accomplished in the past. You are looking at a minimum of 30 minutes for a telephone interview and 45 minutes for face to face interviews; during this time you should expect to do 80% of the listening and only 20% of the talking.

Plan and prepare what you are going to say as well as writing out key questions to gather the information that you require.  Here are some ideas for you to put to use:

1) Ask some ‘low-order’ questions to start with that the candidate can easily answer to help to build rapport and get them feeling comfortable talking to you. Putting them on the spot straight away is the not the best way to get the information that you need.

2) Ask probing questions not only around their background, education and work experience, but also their needs and wants, their personal circumstances, the culture of company that would suit them best, personal achievements and so on.

3) Use competency based questions to establish their true level of expertise, and remember not to take the first answer – preferably you’ll want 3 examples of their competence.






Step 3

Put an action plan together and make sure that there are activities on both sides to test their commitment to the process. If the candidate isn’t willing to get some documents that you need, or to call you back at the end of the day to update with you, then how committed to gaining a new job are they?

Step 4

Market them out to your client base as well as trying to attract new business with clients you would want to work with. In a candidate driven market, this is your best way of gaining business as a recruitment consultant, and it’s one of the easiest calls to do because you already have a suitable candidate that they may be interested in. The trick here is to have done your homework and have already spent time finding out which candidates these companies would be interested in hearing about.

Step 5

Keep them updated and have a contact plan in place with timeframes; that could be them contacting you – it doesn’t always have to be the other way round. This is a partnership remember.

This can be text message, Whatsapp, email, LinkedIn ect. whatever works best for the both of you.


Too many consultants spend time focusing their sales efforts on the client and forget that the candidate is also your customer.
In a candidate driven market, this last point is even more important. If a candidate is going to give you commitment, then they need to have a reason to. Even if they can’t give it to you indefinitely, then you can ask for a time period of a month or a week or even 24 hours if that helps you to get a head-start on the competition.


So in summary, treat your candidates the same way that you treat your clients and if you want commitment from them, then you have to take the time to understand exactly what they want and show them commitment in return through the time you take to interview them, establishing the right position for them and working with integrity.

If you’re not a member of the Recruiting Gym just yet – click here! We offer 5 free courses to everybody who signs up and are always on hand to assist you with your Learning & Development journey!


About the Author

Angela Cripps is a globally experienced trainer, Managing Director of the Recruiting Gym, management consultant, executive coach, board advisor, mentor and performance specialist who has been working within the recruitment industry for over 30 years.  

Her aim is to make companies more successful and profitable through the development of their people and processes – with a current focus on APac companies. She has worked with over 150 SMEs throughout the world in 16 different countries and her LinkedIn recommendations are a testament to the impact she can have on a business.