The next question is from Steve in Atlanta.  What are the three most valuable questions to determine urgency in a client? 

How Long Has the Position Been Open?

One, I want to know how long the position has been open.  I want to find out why it’s not filled.  Why haven’t you filled it yet?  Unless it is a brand new posting and they have just opened it up, I’m looking for them to say, we haven’t seen the right person yet.  This is a huge, huge red flag.  I know I am not saying anything new to our tenured group.  When I was new as a recruiter, I remember thinking, you know what, they have not worked with Michael Edward Joseph Gionta yet. 

There was one job order, they had interviewed 37 people, and they did not hire them.  The guy, the hiring manager, was a really nice and that is why I wanted to work it.  I’m like, I’m going to go fill it.  I think I provided interviews number 38 through 42 or 44, four or five interviews.  There was always something a little bit off.  Or you hear something like, we will know it when we see itWe have not seen the right person yet.  What has been missing?  We will know it when we see it. 

Run.  Run, my friends.  Don’t walk away from that.  Run!  That is Mr. or Ms. Perfect.  When they run across it, they are probably going to be so insecure about it, they are probably going to drift in making an offer and lose the candidate anyway. 

Timeline: By When Do You Want it Filled?

What I really want to do to determine urgency is dig deep into their timeline. If I am taking the search today, and they go, it’s really urgent. 

When do you want it filled? 


Here are a couple questions I ask. 

One of my favorites is, this is an old Tony Byrne question, but it’s timeless, evergreen.  On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being most urgent, and 1 being we can wait for the right person to come along, where are you on that spectrum? 

Tony’s response, I didn’t agree with it because he only worked with 5’s, and I worked with 4’s.  But I wanted to understand the 4’s.  If it was 3 or less, I was not going to work it.  I go, why a 3 and not a 4?  Why a 3 and not a 2?  I remember Tony’s response to this was, it was a great line, great recruiters try to turn 5’s into 4’s.  Mediocre recruiters try to turn 4’s into 5’s.  I’ll say it again.  Tony Byrne from 30 Steps in the Placement Process, filmed in the 1980s, by the way, 1988 or 1989.  Great recruiters try to turn 5’s into 4’s.  Mediocre recruiters try to turn 4’s into 5’s. 

What do we mean by that?  If they say they are a 5, I’ll say, it’s a 5 meaning I mail you over a resume, we will be able to have a conversation on the same day and set them up within 24 to 48 hours?  Is it that important? 

Well, you know, I’ve got a bunch of other things going on. 

So, when you say you’ve got other things going on, by default what you are telling me is you have got other things that are more important? 

Again, don’t try to talk them out of their own situation. 

If it’s a 4, I don’t want to turn it into a 5.  I want to see if it’s really a 3.  Same line of questioning you can ask them.  If I find a resume, if I find Mr. or Ms. Perfect tomorrow, October 15th, are you in a position to take through a process and make them a offer by October 31st

No, because our process is this. 

Now, if it’s logical, or no, I am going to be on vacation for two weeks, this is where all the stuff comes out where we get into trouble as a recruiter.  But really sticking to that question.

What is the Cost of the Open Position?

The last area I dig into is, what does it cost for this position to remain open?  They don’t know.  I think I have covered this in other Q&A’s, but it is one of my favorite questions because I love asking some questions that are really important that clients actually don’t know the answers to. 

Meaning, you said this was a 5 because of this, this, and this.  If we do everything right, we should be in a position where you are making an offer in the last week of October or early November.  If we follow your hiring process, by the time we do the search, a couple weeks to do the search, a couple weeks for the interview process, I want you to imagine, Mr. or Ms. Employer, it is December and you have not found the right person yet.  What breaks?  What is it costing you?  Where is the stress in the company? 

Then, I don’t have time to get into it here, but in the in-depth training that we do with our clients, basically we have a worksheet to help them create the cost of the position remaining open, meaning, every position, every position has a financial consequence, which is why companies hire people, because it is an investment in the growth of their business. 

Is it operations and if there is not somebody in operations, it is costing them money because of expenses or there are quality issues than are not being controlled?  Was it an open sales territory where the position remains open and costing them?  There is an economic consequence for every day and every week that the position remains open.  It is our job as a recruiter to flush that out, to create urgency, or to uncover there really is not any. 

Remember, our job is not to manufacture urgency.  It is to uncover urgency. 

P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are 4 ways I can help you grow your recruitment business:

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