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Anatomy Of Candidate Qualification Process If You’re Starting Off From The Ground Up!

Anatomy Of Candidate Qualification Process If You’re Starting Off From The Ground Up!

This guide is useful if you are the owner of a recruitment firm and you have executives to train or if you are running the show from the ground up and just want to glance through some basics.

Running a recruitment agency can be extremely daunting when you have to keep sight of everything: sales, operations, administration, finance, and talent – making everyone happy but yourself (just kidding). Well, at least there’s coffee to keep you going (read: Irish coffee)

It’s easy to lose sight or miss a few steps in important processes which with few amendments has the potential to push the envelope further! One such process that can either make or break your brand is the candidate qualification process.


Here’s a sequence of steps you can follow while qualifying a candidate for a job.


1. Building a rapport

As a recruiter, you’re sworn to make every candidate feel on top of the world – are we exaggerating a bit? Definitely! But that’s just to emphasize the importance of making them feel confident, starting off on a positive note, and building a rapport with them. It is your job to understand their current situation, what are they looking for, what do are their desires, their expectations, their challenges – everything.

Well, not everything, you don’t have to worry about what they like for breakfast J

So how do you start?

Start with an ice breaker – well this one is duh, obvious. Avoid talking about the job soon as the candidate picks up the call even if it means you’re missing your bus – miss the bus because this one is important. If you want your candidates to open up and like you – start the call on a motivational note, like complimenting them on their enthusiasm which motivate them to consistently apply for jobs at your agency or anything to lift their spirits, so the remaining process is easier for both of you.

Next, once you break the ice with them, move on to discussing the reason for the call, giving them a context and what’s going to happen in the next few minutes of the call, so they know what to expect. Discuss the opportunities, develop an idea of their situation and verify if they have the time to go through the list of questions with you and if the current job, you’re hiring is up their alley.


2. Collecting information

We’ve put together a staple list of questions to keep handy before you speak to a candidate…


A. Rates: This is a typical negotiation zone, and you might come across different kinds of bargainers:

  • a soft bargainer who is easy to break if you sell other aspects of the job right like location, cost of living in the said location etc.
  • a cutthroat bargainer, who you might have to start with market comparison, something to the effect of ‘to be honest, you’re more expensive than another candidate who’s got more experience than you’
  • the sensible bargainer is likely to see you halfway if you remind them, what they might lose by arguing over a matter of few pounds. In some cases, it might be worth listening to a candidate’s reason for his rates and the client might, in fact, get what’s worth their money. In some cases, the candidate might be reticent to disclose their rate. Discuss other details of the job and come back to it when the timing is right.

Mockup Question:

  • What does someone of your experience/skillset earn in the marketplace recently?


B. Environment and Personality

Here’s when your initial ice-breaking efforts really pays off because this is your chance to explore the candidate’s situation and give them a solution at the end of the call. Think of yourself as a doctor who has to diagnose the candidate’s problem based on their work experience, break it down for them and prescribe them a proper job.

This aspect of the qualification process helps you get some implicit answers from candidates which might go unnoticed if you are not observant. Also, this is a crucial part of the process because you want to know if your candidates are worth your client’s money, your money and your time.

Just as how important rates are in qualifying a candidate’s profile, similarly, gaining an insight into their personality equally matters because as a recruiter you need to gauge their fit into your client’s company. But additionally, also determine their interests’ levels and if the said company is not their right fit, there might be another client who might be interested in hiring them.

Mockup questions to ask:

  • What about your current contract that you like and what do you find challenging?
  • What kind of company would you like to work for – an SME or a large corporate?


C. Commute/ work-life balance

In your attempts to understand a candidate’s personality, you’ll also gain insights into their perception of work-life balance and the importance it holds for them. This comes third in the order of importance because most candidates can be accommodative of the commute if you have gone through step 1 and step 2 with them. Yet, this one can be a

dealbreaker if the company is far off and your candidates are expected to be called into work at the last minute. Moreover, it is crucial to establish expectations around working hours, rotations, shifts and working overtime during the weekend. Mockup question:

What kind of shifts work better with your lifestyle? If the need be, are you ready to make any changes to it?


D. Networking/Sales Lead generation:

Pay close attention: this is where you make the big bucks. Here’s a trick to generate leads for your agency by scoring an opportunity to represent your candidates. Ask your candidate if they have any specific company preferences that you could represent on behalf of them. Speak to those companies and mediate between your talent and them. You never know, you might finally be able to afford sophisticated coffee machines in the office J These questions can help you build your sales pipeline, by creating goodwill for yourself, for your brand and for the candidate.

Mockup questions:

  • Are there any companies that you liked working in the past and I could speak on your behalf?
  • What about your friends who have moved on to working else and you can join them over there?


3. Security

Lastly, this is where you get a sense of your candidate’s level of commitment to jobs. It is also necessary at this point to discuss the difference between a permanent job versus a contract job. Both require commitment regardless of their nature. Take interest in their career development and the likelihood of them committing to a job for a longer time. But this is not something that you can ask – this is more implicit than explicit.

Explore their previous work history and if they have had any issues in the past staying committed to a job. Or just do a background check with their girlfriends/boyfriends and you can sniff it out J

Mockup question to ask:

  • What’s the minimum/maximum term that you’d like to commit?


4. Summarising the call


The whole point of summarising is to show candidates that you care. This is your chance to demonstrate your interest in your candidate through active listening and building a relationship with them at the end of the call and make them feel extra special.

Having collected all the information about their rates, motivations, comfort levels, companies they aspire to be a part of – you can now find a client that matches with your candidates’ requirements and offer the right kind of solutions. However, while proposing the solution to a candidate, avoid jumping straight to job titles and salary and follow the below steps:


A) Pitch the opportunity – history of the organisation and its culture

Wait for a response and then carry on

B) Mention your previous hiring experience with the company and their track record

Wait for a response and continue based on their interest level

C) Now talk about the job title, salary and other benefits.

Be sure to tease and test for interest before jumping into the third step.

D) Go through their CV based on the client you have proposed and suggest ways they can sell their skills to the client to show value and places they can omit.

E) Handle all their objections in a composed manner so they feel heard and happy speaking to you about it.


5. Closing the call

Before you wrap up the call, get them to commit to everything you have discussed along with gathering some references and testimonials. Make them visualise the job before they go so they are willing to commit to your client, invested in your agency and cooperate in case something unexpected comes their way during their interviews. Also, it’s good practice to reconfirm expectations and your understanding in areas like rate, location and get complete clarity.


6. Following up

This is the tricky part – there are two kinds of situations here. If your candidate has been interviewed and is selected by your client, update them with good news and go through the terms and conditions. The second scenario is when your candidate is not selected. DO NOT forget about them because they still matter as they look toward you for help so be proactive with feedback and keep them updated about their job status. You will need them more because there are several recruitment firms targeting the same candidate – so a genuine heartfelt customer experience can go a long way!

One of the easiest ways to handle the candidate qualification process is to make use of relevant technology.

Arguably, one of the most important parts of the qualification process is using communication in the right way to overcome asking tough questions throughout the call repeatedly.

Automation tools like OCTA allow you to broadcast a message (including the awkward bits) to all your candidates by automating calls and texts.

Conveniently your candidates can also hit a key at the end of the call and get connected with you instantly.

This helps you draft out the ones that are not interested and frees up valuable phone time so you can focus on the other bits like rapport building and delivering great experiences.

Interested? Great!

We are offering an exclusive FREE TRIAL to partners of the MembersOnly network to reach 100s of candidates and also get lifetime discounts on paid plans and new features.

This is a great opportunity to fill up jobs by automating phone calls and texts to several candidates at once. If this piques your interest, sign up here:

Thanks for reading, hope you liked our process J

Find out more about One Call To All here.