Debriefing clients and getting offers

Your applicant just interviewed with a client and you want to know what you do next.  This a very critical phase; the good recruiters make the marginal deals happen here.  Of course, the clients that are really interested can be de-interested really fast with a bad debriefing.

Always, always, always talk to the applicant first!  Find out how the interview went, and get the particulars covered in “Debriefing an Applicant.” Once you have debriefed the applicant, you should be armed with what to discuss with clients.

Call the client immediately and say how much the applicant liked the position and how eager he/she is to work for them!  Never give the client a chance to talk first or ask how it went without already knowing from the applicant debriefing.

Always cover the following with the client:

1.  “Did the applicant talk to anyone else?”

2.  “What questions were asked (were they general or specific)?”

3.  “What do you think about their qualifications?”

4.  “Did you discuss a salary figure.  What was it?”

5.  “Did you ask for references? What were they?”

6.  “When will a decision be reached?”

7.  “What will be the position title?”

8.  “What will be her/his responsibilities?”

9.  “Do you have an interest?  Target start date?”“Any other openings?”

Some examples of some opening lines:

      “Isaac really was impressed with your organization and felt he could make a positive contribution with his skills.”

      “Dan really wants to work for you; he feels it is a chance of a lifetime, would even be flexible on ....”  “And, given a chance, would work on his own time to overcome....(weakness).”

      “Pam was ecstatic about the position; she feels she could really learn from you.  Your straightforward approach was refreshing and she is anxious to contribute.”

The client will either respond to the above with an offer or say one is coming or state an objection.

      Like him/her, wants to make an offer! GET OFFER, start date, determine if an offer letter is going out and find out when and make sure the individual mailing it has the correct address.  Find out if they are going to do anything else regarding this hire that could void the offer:  salary check, transcripts, references, medical, etc.

      Like him/her, needs references.  Tell them you have done them and you would be happy to email a copy of them.

      Liked him/her, needs to interview more people.  This is not good!  Many recruiters come off of this response thinking they are still in the running.  Something is preventing him/her from making the offer.  Be convinced that there is something!  Try to uncover it and deal with it! Either with more facts from the applicant or a follow up letter.

      This person is number 2. Try to find out exactly what would make him/her #1 and proceed to expand these characteristics/qualities in your candidate.  Find out when an offer is going to be made and how soon they will have a start date for #I.  Follow up and make sure #1 started.  If not, push your #2 person like crazy.

      Not interested because ....  Make sure the reasons are valid.  If not, correct them and try to get the offer.  If they are valid try to close the client on a person with all the right stuff!  How quick can you make an offer; how far can you stretch the starting salary?

      Liked him/her, would like him/her back for a second interview.  If the first interview was with Personnel and this second is with a hiring manager, it's okay, but not the best situation.  You should always try hard to get all the interviews to happen on the same appointment.  Second interviews double your work and time!  But a second is better than a “no!”  So, here is how it should be played if it is with the hiring manager.  Make sure you know how this manager interviews and his/her hot buttons!  You should know by now why this position is open and other position questions but if you don't, it's now or never!

If the first interview was with the hiring manager and the second is with Personnel, you're in pretty good shape, just make sure that everything is in order, for example, last salary correct, references check out, education is correct and you know what the applicant is going to say when asked salary questions.

If the first interview was with the hiring manager and the second is with his peers or bosses, you've got big, big problems! This person is looking for a reason to disqualify the applicant.  You should always try to prevent this from occurring!  Your best bet is to have this interview occur as the first interview.  Your last option is to try and diffuse the situation by talking to the hiring manager and preparing him/her to overcome the boss's objections, i.e. 1) Didn't answer my question correctly, 2) Not the right chemistry, 3) His/her qualifications in area are weak.  Ask the hiring manager how he is going to handle these objections.  Tutor him/her without being obvious.  Get him/her to say how much he/she wants this person and how valuable he/she is going to be.

After Offer and Acceptance

Now that you have a start date, everything is done and you are waiting for the commission check, right?  Wrong!  In the next breath, after telling the client that your applicant has accepted, you must ask what other positions you can work on.  If the answer is none, ask for referrals or who else you can call.

Your next question is who do you send the invoice to and what is the approval process for getting the invoice paid.  This is the beginning of the collection process which is the responsibility of the recruiter who has worked with the client in making the placement.

The object is to get the commission paid as quickly as possible for several reasons.  The first is obvious, it's your money and it's not doing you any good in their bank.  The second reason is not quite so obvious.  If the applicant for any reason is not working out, you need the control in order to try and refill the position.  If you don't get the check, you are at their mercy and will never see the money.  You need to know the steps in approval for payment so you can call and push for payment.  The first call you make is to the person you mailed the invoice to and verify that they have received it and everything is in order.  If you do not do this and the payment deadline comes and goes and no check is in sight you can bet that the invoice has been lost or they will claim it was never received.  Invoices always, always get lost!

The best time to call for verifying receipt of the invoice is the applicant’s start date.  All invoices should be mailed to be received at start date.  The verification of the invoice receipt is a secondary objective in the call.  Your primary reason is making sure the person has started and everything is okay.  Sometimes the applicant has the start date or time wrong and you want to smooth this over very quickly!

So your first call is at start date.  Your second call is a few weeks after start date to confirm that everything is OK and to get more positions.

The only other calls made after two weeks will be if the check has not been received on time.  You call the person you mailed it to.  If they have approved it and followed up as far as they can, then you must call Accounts Payable and determine what the holdup is.  If you have negotiated the fee properly, the check will be paid very quickly when you explain the circumstances.

When you call Accounts Payable, always call as an Accounts Receivable person just doing his/her collections position.  The procedure is that the full fee is due rather than the discounted fee if payment is not received on time and/or the guarantee period is void.  How a fee is negotiated for these features is covered in the next section.