How Do You Ask a Question?

By Shawna Armstrong

What kind of question is that? Recruiters ask questions.  Good Recruiters ask good questions. Intake meeting questions, networking/sourcing questions, screening questions, and feedback questions, to name a few.  The QUALITY of the question determines the quality or specificity of the answer.  Consider these examples:

Intake question:

Does your ideal candidate have to come from inside the same industry?


What specific types of projects should this person have successfully worked on?

(Not only will the 2nd question give you candidate screening material, but it may also open up your potential candidate pool, because the hiring manager may not have a good reason for requiring in-industry experience)

Networking/Sourcing question:

I’m hiring construction Project Managers. Who do you know?


Do you know of anyone who has managed highway or underground utility work that might be open to a better opportunity?

(The 2nd question may save you the time of having to weed through and communicate with a volume of off-target prospects)

Screening question:

Are you receptive to constructive feedback?


Can you tell me about a time when you received constructive feedback and how you handled it?

(1st question only requires a yes/no answer.  Maybe they’ll be honest, maybe they’ll just tell you what you want to hear.  2nd question has them describe actual past behavior in a specific situation)

Feedback question:

Is this candidate a good fit for your role?


This candidate matches all of the requirements we discussed.  If he/she is not a fit, can you please share exactly why?

(A “no” answer to the 1st question will give you no direction to resume your search and gives you no opportunity to sell your candidate or consult on legal/ethical/inclusive hiring practices).

If you use online communities to find candidates or to exchange ideas within the Recruitment community, consider this brief article on asking good questions.

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