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5 Tips for screening a candidate before presenting a job opportunity

As a manager of a team of recruiters, I have a mix of junior to senior staff, Each has their own unique personality and way of talking and screening candidates for a job opportunity. But each and every one of them must follow these five simple steps to ensure that we are not only screening a candidate properly but are offering a value service to the candidate themselves.

Far too often recruiters contact a candidate and if that candidate is not suitable for the position that they are searching for they tend to disregard them and move on quickly. This is not only rude but these recruiters are missing out on the most fundamental skills we must have as recruiters and this is to be good at building relationships with people.

So here are 5 tips for screening a candidate for a job opportunity

1. Beginning the call

When a potential candidate answers the telephone do not launch into why you are calling; give the person a chance to breathe and respond. Start by explaining who you are and why you wish to speak to them, follow this by asking them if it is a good time to talk. If they respond yes, then feel free to continue. If not then arrange a suitable time for both parties to speak.

I add the emphasis on both because if you ask a candidate when they are free to talk it is likely that they will say outside of work hours. This is okay for one or two calls but if you give every candidate this choice you will be working late evenings often and always and this is not an effective use of your time.

2. Confirming the candidates present circumstances

Once you establish it is a good time to talk, confirm the candidates current job title and the company that they work at; never assume that their resume is up to date as you may begin asking questions which lack relevancy. Ask them how big their company is and how many staff work at the company; this gives a great indication if they are a suitable match for your client.

Confirm who they report to and if they are in a managerial position how big their team is and what they do. Again, this will give you an insight into their position in the company and an estimate of their responsibilities.

3. Understanding what the candidate does on a daily basis

Really understand how they spend their time in work not only confirm their duties and responsibilities. This is important as you may misunderstand how important certain tasks are to what the candidate does. Never assume that the candidate is solely responsible for what tasks they say they do. You must probe what they say more deeply. It will be very important for this next Job opportunity.

4. Motivational Factors

Establish what motivates the candidate! Again, do not assume that the candidate will be interested in the opportunity you are about to tell them about; learn what makes them tick! Learn about the key frustrations the candidate has in their current role. Learn about what they like about their current role. Learn about changes they would make to their role if they had the authority to do so. The key here is to listen, be genuine and take an interest in the candidates wishes.

5. Confirming Salary Information

Make it clear why you are asking candidates for their salary information. Ensure that you not only ask for their current salary details but the details of bonuses, benefits, annual leave they current get and their notice period. If the candidate is not comfortable providing this information it is fine to request this at a later date but a good trick is to share what your client’s budget is for this next Job opportunity.

Now that you have followed these simple steps you should be able to present your opportunity with confidence and candidate buy in. When the candidate passes to the interview stage this is where you should probe more deeply and ask the candidate key core competencies for the role you are hiring for.

Best of luck, and for more recruitment tips feel free to visit our LinkedIn page or the RLC website at