Informal Chats: Questions & Tips for Recruiters

Informal Chats: Questions & Tips for Recruiters  

Any person that’s worked for a decent amount of time in the recruitment sector is aware of the importance of communication.

From making a deal to building a connection to learning about the market, every aspect of the industry centres around recruiters being able to communicate clearly and confidently.

But one aspect of communication that often doesn’t get enough attention regarding recruitment is the initial conversation that’s had between a candidate and a recruiter.

To the outside looking in, it appears easy enough on paper– it’s a conversation designed to get you up to grips with what the candidate is looking for and whether or not you have the roles available to help them achieve their goals. Sound simple enough right?

As any good recruiter will tell you though, it’s much more than that. Beyond simply getting to know their basic job status (which is of course important) it’s about having an informal and relaxed chat that can allow you to get to know a candidate on a more personal level so you can ascertain deeper questions regarding their long-term goals and aspirations.

Would you sacrifice a higher wage in search of more progression opportunities? Is the maximum distance you’d be willing to travel due to childcare or other commitments? In general, the initial conversation is about making the candidate into an actual person and not just a random LinkedIn applicant. It’s about putting thoughts to the face and gaining a well-rounded view of a person that you can then draw from when reviewing whether they’re applicable to the role you have on offer.

But what specific questions can you ask to spark off a conversation? The MRJ team have taken some time out of their days and made a list of some very basic questions tech recruiters can ask to start with.

  • How long have you been in your current role and are you happy regarding your overall position?
  • Are you interviewing for any other positions?
  • What timescale are you looking to make a move?
  • What salary are you looking for?
  • What does progression look like for you?
  • What kind of roles have grabbed your attention so far?
  • What kind of current projects or responsibilities do you have within your current role?
  • What kind of work environment do you like working for?
  • What is your notice period?
  • What kind of projects would you be looking to oversee/be a part of in the future?
  • What kind of tech stack or skills are you working or utilising now?
  • What experience do you have developing your skills in your chosen tech field? – projects etc.
  • What locations are you looking to work in and are you looking to work fully remote or open to hybrid?
  • What is your interview availability?
  • Do you have any children and if so, what does that mean for your job search process?

Dig deeper and ask follow-up questions

It’s important to remember though, while the questions above may seemingly paint a good picture of who a candidate is as a person, the difference between a good recruiter and a great one comes from the ability to delve deeper.

When mention is made towards what kind of roles have grabbed someone’s attention, for example, ask yourself “how can I explore this answer further?”

Ultimately, these informal chats should be about gaining a comprehensive view of a person and pushing beyond the obvious questions a basic recruiter would ask.

It’s a conversation not an interview

It’s also important to remember that while the key purpose of the talk is primarily based on gaining as much information on the applicant as possible, framing the chat in the right way can play massively into a person’s willingness to speak openly.

Positioning the conversation as simply a question-and-answer exercise does little to convince a candidate that you aren’t simply going through the motions and reading off a prewritten script. Instead, use the questions as a guide that can lead your conversation from one topic to another naturally so that can come across as a recruiter that truly has the candidate’s best interests at heart.

You could share your experiences openly (if relevant) and strike common ground between yourself and the applicant, for example. above all, it’s about creating a relaxed and informal environment that can make the applicant feel at ease to share.