Good briefs are born from the right questions. If your consultants are simply going through the motions with clients, ticking off boxes to cover the brief, then they’re leaving themselves exposed.

At the end of the day, to successfully fill a role, forge a stronger relationship with a client and cement the prospect of further work with them, your recruiters need to ensure they have ironed out exactly what the client wants.

While every situation is different, here are a five questions your recruiters should ask their clients to receive the best possible brief.


1: How will this person change your company?

The recruitment process is too focused on descriptions of what the individuals will be doing, and fails to mention the actual impact the company would like them to have. So, when discussing the role requirements, it’s important not to just ask what they will be doing, but also what impact their role will have in the business.

Discuss the following:

  • What their expectancy will be of the person who gets the job a month in, three months in, six months in, etc.
  • What their targets will be, in relation to what they will be expected to do.
  • How the success of their work will be measured
  • What review process will be in place to ensure they are fulfilling the company’s expectations of them

Having this information is not only useful for your recruiters when they are sifting through CVs, it also helps a potential candidate to decide whether the job is right for them. So their time, your time and the client’s time is not wasted.

It will also help you prep the candidate for the interview, as you’ll be able to tell them more than just the job spec.


2: What can you give them?

Job adverts and briefs are too often caught up in what they need from a candidate and forget to mention what they can provide and why a candidate should be interested.

More and more, candidates want to know what advantages there are to working for a company, outside of having employment. This rings especially true amongst millennials.

Whether you’re recruiting for a perm, temp or contract role, it’s important to get an understanding of what perks the successful candidate will receive, which could be anything from on-the-job training, expenses allowance, early leave on Fridays or free breakfast!

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3: What won’t they be doing?

This might seem like a strange question to ask, however, it’s a pretty effective way to set in stone what the actual duties of the role will be. It also gives you the opportunity to remove any additional expectations that would usually crop up later on in the recruitment process.

Why is the helpful?

  1. It will help you to find candidates who have exactly the right experience for the role
  2. It will prevent you from putting forward candidates who are too experienced, and may quickly become bored with the role
  3. It will also prevent you from suggesting candidates who turn out to be inexperienced for the role at hand

Job descriptions often fail to mention the everyday tasks that are involved, or hint at “additional activities” without clarifying what they might be. Asking what won’t be their responsibility will clarify the boundaries of the role in a much more specific way.


4: If you had three questions to ask them, what would they be?

This gets to the very crux of why they are being hired, and shows a priority of need in what the client is looking for.

The recruiter can also incorporate these questions into their screening process, and it is pretty important that the recruiter also gets an idea of what “good answers” might sound like first.

The more a recruiter can anticipate of the first stage interview, the more suitable the candidates they source will be.

5: What would make you reject someone?

It seems odd to be asking a seemingly negative question during your initial discussion with the client, however, there are benefits to find this information out:

  • You can quickly find out what the hiring manager is looking for in their ideal hire
  • It shows that you are serious about filling the role and find the right candidate, not just someone who “sort of fits”
  • It will make it easier for you to pick the most suitable candidates for the role
  • You can use this information to prep potential candidates for the interview process


If the client’s demands are incredibly specific then your recruiters need to manage their expectations. Otherwise, they will be held accountable for promising more than they can deliver.

Clients aren’t paying you thousands of pounds to tick boxes. They want your consultants to understand the delicate nuances of every role and the roadmap of the company. But, they can only answer the questions that are actually asked of them.

Managers can train their teams to ask the difficult questions, but there’s a natural inclination to fall back onto easier conversation. Every now and again, it’s worth evaluating how your team are leading conversations with clients, and think about how their questioning is adding to the relationships.