Table of Contents
Better, Faster, Smarter
By Bill Radin
both an art and a science to writing job orders. The science involves
information: getting a description of the position, the selling points
of the job, the company’s sense of
urgency, and an idea of where to look for candidates.
The art has to do with gathering all this information quickly while
building a rapport with the hiring manager and nailing down a fee
In theory, each new job order would read like a Michelin travel guide: a
detailed roadmap of the position, the work environment, the manager, the
company, the industry, the salary, the reporting relationships, and so
But in reality, it’s unrealistic—and
impractical—to get a huge amount of detail, especially in your first
conversation with a new client. I’ve
found that even the most patient employers tend to get fidgety after
about 20 or 30 minutes.
So, my approach is to keep the job order—and the worksheet I use to
gather information—simple. I try to hit the major points and get the
most data possible in the least amount of time. That way, I can get a
snapshot of the employer’s needs,
evaluate the quality of the assignment, and in the process, prepare a
list of follow-up questions to ask later.
Hit the Major Points
If you work from your job order checklist too literally, the sheer
volume of questions might make it sound as if you’re
putting the employer on trial. To keep things short and sweet, a typical
first-round sequence of questions may sound something like this:
Employer, to better understand the job and my ability to help you, let
me take you through a very brief series of questions. Are you ready?
tell me why the job is open. What problem do you want the person to
solve? Isn’t there anyone on staff who
can do this? I mean, what would happen if you couldn’t
find the right person for the job?
say you’ve been trying to fill the
position for several weeks. How many people have you interviewed? Where
did you find them? And you never reached the point of making an offer?
sort of compensation package did you have in mind? Is that what you’re
paying other people in a similar capacity? And you’re
finding qualified candidates in that price range?
you don’t mind, I want to play devil’s advocate for a moment. Why would someone quit a perfectly good
job and go to work for your company?
let me see if I understand the situation. If I found a qualified
candidate and we scheduled an interview for next week, and there was
mutual interest, you could make a competitive offer and have that person
start in about two to three weeks.
Now let me take care of a little business. I charge a placement fee for
my service, which will be due once the candidate I refer accepts your
offer of employment. We’ll discuss the
exact amount of the fee in a moment, but once we agree to the terms, I’m
going to send you an agreement to sign and fax back before I can begin
the search. Do you have the authority to sign an agreement and pay a
See how it’s
done? You hit the major points first to qualify the job order. Once the
job’s been qualified, you can go back
and fill in the blanks, with additional information about the company,
the specifics on the technical skills or experience needed, what the
short and long term results would be if the person did a superlative
job, who the person reports to or supervises, how much travel is
involved, what the hiring process is, and all that good stuff.
An artful job order interview not only allows for a more objective
evaluation of the company’s needs; it
also puts the employer at ease by starting a conversation—not an
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and cold-call strategies