Basic Recruiting Tip - Client Debriefing

Your applicant just interviewed with a client and you want to know what you do next. This is a very critical phase; the good recruiters make the marginal deals happen here. Of course, the clients that are really interested can be non-interested really fast with a bad debriefing. 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, if you are a good executive search recruiter, should have your resume database armed with what to discuss with clients. The information should always be recorded in your recruiting, staffing or applicant tracking software forever! The debriefing should also cover the points outlined below.

  • Did the applicant talk to anyone else during the interview?
  • What questions were asked,were they general or specific?
  • What do you think about their qualifications?
  • Did you discuss a salary figure? What was it?
  • Did you ask for references? Who were they?
  • When will a decision be made?
  • What will be the job title?
  • What will be her/his responsibilities?
  • Do you have an interest?
  • Target start date?
  • Any other openings?

Call the client immediately after debriefing the applicant and say how much the applicant liked the job 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.

Here are examples of some positive 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 with 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 applicant. Find out when an offer is going to be made and how soon they will have a start date for #1. Follow up and make sure #1 starts. If not, push your #2 person like crazy.

  • 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 acceptable, but not the best situation. You should always try hard to get all of the interviews to happen in 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 Job Order 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. You want to make sure that everything is in order, for example, correct last salary, references check out, education is correct. Make sure 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/her 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/she 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.
  • 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?