Woman recruiter talking on the phone with a franchise candidate.

Mastering the Right Questions for Better Candidate Calls

Practical Tips for Recruiters and Managers to Easily Improve Results 

If you’re looking to differentiate between the highest and lowest levels of recruiter success, look no further than the details of their approach, particularly in the initial conversations with candidates. 

Many recruiters miss out on top talent by not asking the right questions during these crucial Step 1 calls. 

The difference between a successful recruitment strategy and one that falls flat often hinges on the ability to dig deeper. Questions that focus on moving beyond basic surface-level problems and pain points to uncover candidates’ real needs, motivations, and best possible outcomes.

“The second somebody showed some interest in their brand, they started selling to that point. Rather than exploring the emotion, exploring what was going on, they were just going straight into selling and hijacking their own meeting.”

Miles Bentley

How to Immediately Improve Step 1 Calls with Candidates

Recruiting is like solving a puzzle. Recruiters and managers are looking to find all the pieces to put together and successfully match candidates with the right opportunities.

Imagine the frustration of a recruiter who, after numerous calls, realizes that their pipeline is filled with candidates who are not the right fit or are not genuinely engaged, leading to poor conversion rates down the line. 

This scenario is all too common and can lead to feelings of deflation among recruiters and frustration among managers. 

The stakes are high: without focusing on the candidates’ needs, the recruitment process risks being filled with candidates who are not truly engaged, ultimately affecting the organization’s success.

Elevate the Questioning Technique

Higher-performing sales professionals have long leveraged the SPIN selling framework. Though they give attention to surface-level issues (Situation/Problem inquiries), season sales professionals prefer the power of uncovering consequences and impacts (Implication and Needs-Payoff questions). 

This strategic shift focuses on understanding the broader implications of a candidate’s current situation and how meeting their needs can lead to significant payoffs for both the candidate and the organization. 

It’s about understanding what encompasses a candidate’s aspirations, challenges, and the impact of potential changes on their professional journey.

The Best Recruiters Will:

  • Approach each call with genuine curiosity. Instead of running through a list of standard questions, engage in a real conversation. Ask open-ended questions and encourage candidates to share their stories, challenges, and aspirations.
  • Leverage the SPIN Method: Shift the focus from situational questions to Implication and Needs-Payoff questions. Really do the work to uncover the candidate’s deeper motivations and how the role can address their needs and aspirations.
  • Fill the 5 Buckets: Ensure every call touches on the five key areas – need, fit, timeline, financial, and decision criteria. This holistic approach ensures you consider the candidate’s needs from every angle. 
  • Practice active listening: It’s not just about the questions you ask but how you listen. Show that you’re engaged and interested in what the candidate has to say. This builds trust and opens up a more meaningful dialogue.
  • Create strong follow-up habits: Immediately put your notes into the CRM and send a recap to candidates. Plan to review the calls with managers to create an active feedback loop for improvements. 

The Best Managers Will:

  • Monitor and measure performance: Apply metrics that track the quality of candidate engagement and the effectiveness of questioning techniques. Use these insights to guide coaching and development efforts.
  • Build a habit of continuous learning: Encourage your recruiters to see each call as an opportunity to refine their skills. Listen to calls together to promote an environment where feedback is welcomed and learning from each interaction is valued. This should also include doing ride-a-long calls with other team members.
  • Provide training on ROS® and SPIN Methods: Invest in training sessions focusing on the Recruitment Optimization System® (ROS®) and the SPIN questioning technique. Understanding these frameworks will equip recruiters with the tools they need to succeed.

By working together, recruiters and managers can fill in any gaps in information and better support candidates throughout the recruitment process.

“How do you know if you’re doing a good job? When you’re doing less talking than the candidate.”

Miles Bentley

By being curious and focusing on understanding the emotions and motivations of candidates, recruiters can build stronger connections and increase their success rate. With the right framework, managers have a tool to evaluate the quality of each call and offer specific areas of improvement. The overall result? A more engaged, motivated recruitment team and a pipeline brimming with high-quality candidates ready to make an impact.

When candidates tell a recruiter their explicit “why” and how they will feel when they achieve their goals, they gain clarity, and the chances are greater that the candidate will move forward. 

The right candidates will find clarity in their search they do are talking. 

Your job is to ask the right questions. 

The Recruitment Operating System® (ROS®) is a proven system to help franchise companies implement and execute a predictable, repeatable, and sustainable franchisee recruitment program.

Based in Temple, Texas, we work with brands worldwide.