4 Questions to Help You during an Intake Call

Taisiia Mliuzan
10 October 2019

The following information will deal with questions, which arise during client communication and collecting of requirements – a step that is often forgotten or overlooked during initial conversation, but helps save time in the future.

1.Other firms advertise job openings similar to the ones offered by your company. Why should candidates be interested in your opportunity in particular and what are the selling points of your project?

Usually a client provides a description of their job opening(s) and the company itself. Further information regarding the company’s project in particular, as well as its team may be provided as well. However, the challenge remains of exactly how to form a message in presenting and ‘selling’ the company to potential candidates in order to highlight those selling points, which would distinguish the opportunity from hundreds of others.

There may be an odd case in which a client could honestly admit that there may be little of such sort on offer from his company. If so, it may be worthwhile to get more involved and to discuss anything that the client may have missed; it may be that they are modest or simply unaware of their advantages compared to the rest of the market.

Alternatively, if the company’s opportunity is uncompetitive and does not stand out from the rest, it would make sense to be honest with the client and to let them know that you are not ready to offer complete involvement in such a search. Additionally, you may offer to provide any candidates, who are in active search that you may come across, or to suggest that the client reviews their recruitment approach, budget, etc. If a client does not understand how to attract potential candidates on the market, you will have an even greater difficulty in accomplishing this.

2. Which issue does the specific specialist resolve?

A specific question always helps uncover many more of the actual responsibilities and what is expected of a potential candidate for a role, rather than typical requirements and a retelling of what a certain project involves. Once the answers are obtained, you will immediately know whether the individual providing the conditions and requirements of a particular role really understands whom they need. If their answers are vague or indefinite, it would be worthwhile to find out which exact individual from the client’s team would be able to provide more details and have a discussion over a call. Your chances of filling a role would increase if you would have access to such an individual throughout the recruitment process; therefore, you should insist on this option as much as possible.

3. Which specific tasks and duties for the probation period would a role you take on contain and how would you know whether a successfully-placed candidate passes the trial period? Is there a 30-60-90 Day Plan?

This question helps understand how well the workflow and processes are set up within this company. It is important to find out whether the company provides some sort of a ‘buddy’ figure, who would support a successfully-placed candidate during the trial period. It is equally important to know whether the client (project manager, etc.) understands what exactly would be expected from the new team member. If such processes are not set up, this increases the probability of the need for a guaranteed replacement. It may be necessary to discuss preventive measures with the client, but this would be a separate example of consultancy.

During the first months of direct cooperation between a client and their new developer, there is a high chance of miscommunication, misunderstanding, and discontent. However, by getting involved in a timely manner and taking action, it’s possible to foresee a possible outcome of having your client inform you in a couple of months that the placed candidate turned out to be a bad fit.

4. Have you already cooperated with agencies? If so, which ones? Which aspects of such cooperation did you enjoy? Which did you not?

By getting an answer to this question, it is possible to find out exactly which companies had already tried to fill the role(s) in question and how long they have been trying to do this. You would discover whether the vacancies you would be working on had already been processed by other agencies, whether there may be stop-lists available, and what the client’s feelings are towards the agencies they had previously cooperated with. You would understand the reasoning behind the client’s answer. You may be familiar with the agency, which had worked with this client in the past and may know this agency as a provider of high quality services, along with a team of experienced recruiters. If this is the case, it may be worthwhile to get this company’s opinion on the client in question, which would help to draw your own conclusions as you would be presented with the complete picture.

There may also be a different scenario. For example, the agencies, which worked on the client’s positions in the past may have done so for a substantial amount of time. They may have provided the job market with false information, or had not learned enough about the role and provided the client with plenty of unsuitable candidates. As a result, the client’s reputation may be so damaged, that they would need to seek employer branding consultancy before engaging in any sort of recruitment. Otherwise, your team may find itself trying to repair the damage, which had been caused by the agencies, which came before yours. By conducting some minor preliminary research, you would be able to save a lot of time and effort in the future.

Feel free to be meticulous and probing right from the off when communicating with the client. Yes, such an approach would force the client to dedicate a substantial chunk of their time from the very start; however, after getting the information required, you would have a clear idea of your client’s profile. As a result, it would be easier to make a decision regarding whether it would be worthwhile to take on the project and whether your approach and vision matches that of your client when you consider long-term cooperation.

Make sure to provide prompt feedback to the client in case you see any ‘red flags’ in their answers; this would help you save time and avoid providing any false hope to the client. Be honest when explaining the reasons for your questions if you spot any doubt or if the client asks for such reasons. Remember – when you turn down a dozen of potential clients, which just do not feel like the right fit, you would be able to concentrate on those that do like your approach. Such an attitude would allow you to enjoy working with those companies, which are in accord with you. Ideally, this would lead to more placements and eliminate any irritable situations after 2-3 months of cooperation with decent clients!


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