• Hunter

Improving Candidate Experience With One Question


Remember, it’s about them, not you.

The pressure is on. Of the employers who attempted to recruit in Q2, the majority (62 per cent) struggled to find the right people.

I’m seeing it myself. Greater competition means you have to work harder and smarter to get the attention of talented candidates, who might be batting away approaches weekly or even daily.

I actually think it’ll be a positive too – driving some much-needed innovation and positive change in recruitment, but that’s beside the point.

Picture this

So, you’ve found someone you think might be a perfect candidate for your role and you’re now working on your approach.

You know how important this first message, email or call will be so you labour over it, perfecting the message that you think will appeal most to them.

Great! The candidate has come back to you and is open to hearing more about the opportunity.

Some recruiters get so hung up on securing a response, they don’t quite know what to do once they have it. Typically, they’ll default back to focus on what it is they’re looking for by speeding through the candidate’s knowledge, skills and experience as if they’re ticking off boxes as they go.

The problem is, it’s not about you.

Now you have the candidate’s attention, you can find out what they are actually looking for. They’re open to learning about new opportunities, so what would prompt them to consider a move?

This stage should be all about selling the opportunity to them. If you’re having a conversation, you should already know that they have enough of what you’re looking for to warrant it. If you don’t, why did you approach them in the first place?

Obviously, there will be things that you want to dig deeper into but first you need to nail down what they’re looking for. Then, you’ll be able to focus on elements of the role that are likely to appeal or be honest that the opportunity isn’t going to be right for them, which is better than finding out after you have both wasted lots of time and effort.

Best of all, it’s as simple as asking “What is it that you’re looking for?” and listening to understand, rather than just to reply.


“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

Dr Stephen R. Covey