Good Candidates Ask Good Questions

By Erin Dore Miller

If you’ve ever done any interviewing or hiring, then you know how difficult it can be to identify the truly good candidates. In a recent post, I talk about creating a candidate assignment in order to see your candidate “in action” and get a feel for their work quality. There are so many ways to identify the top talent in your search; some ways are much more complex than others. But I’d like to let you in on a little recruiting secret of mine, that will help you to shuffle the best of the best to the top of your pile.

Good Candidates Ask Good Questions

I have found this rule to be true nearly 100% of the time. Maybe it’s because their experience has provided them with insight and wisdom to thoroughly think through the position. Maybe it’s because they’re just as invested in finding the right opportunity as I am in finding the right candidate. Maybe it’s simply that smart people usually ask good questions.

Whatever the reason, good candidates ask good questions so it’s important to pay close attention to what kinds of questions your candidates are asking and to consider why those questions are important and will help the process along.

Make Candidate Questions a Part of Your Process

If it isn’t already, make this part of your process. In my introductory conversation with candidates, I present the role and the company and then quickly follow up by sending a job description.

Sidenote: A lot of recruiters are probably shaking their heads right about now, because sending a job description straight out of the gate is not always recommended. But honestly, what are we hiding, folks? Don’t we want to find the candidate that is best matched to the role? Let’s save our candidates and ourselves a lot of time and stop being so mysterious.

Once the candidate has the job description, they can thoroughly review the details of the role and process the information. I place specific emphasis on the “processing” part of this whole thing because I am most often dealing with passive candidates. I’ve approached them out of the blue and asked them to consider making a big change. Giving them time to fully consider the position is important for them, for you and for your hiring manager.

Allowing them to fully consider the job description also allows them to formulate their questions, and this is really what we want. I have some candidates that reply via email with their questions and some candidates ask for another call. People “process” information in different ways, so it’s important to give them the option of how they prefer to follow up.

What Are “Good Questions?”

You may be wondering what constitutes a good question, and to be honest, I don’t have a definitive answer for you. It really depends on the role. But, here are a few guidelines: