Nail the Perfect Briefing Call

Welcome to another Limitless Learning edition!

This week, we want to help you with what we believe always tends to be the root cause of those horrible deal dropouts we've all experienced.


Becoming world-class at conducting qualification calls and not cutting any corners will help ensure you have fewer painful moments in recruitment.

You may already know a lot of this stuff, but are you doing it consistently daily?

It's the important question you want to ask yourself.

Enjoy 👊 

Nailing the briefing call: Candidate and Client

Briefing calls (also known as qualification calls) are the bread and butter of ensuring that your desk runs smoothly. 

Seasoned recruiters, you’ll remember the days when you came off a call, and your manager asked, “What key questions did you miss?”

Only to sigh, pick up the phone, and try the process again!

Junior recruiters, you’re probably in the latter stages of figuring out what your perfect briefing call looks like, so I’m guessing that this edition is coming at a good time for you.

We’re going to break down how you can nail a candidate briefing call and a client briefing call.

Let’s get into it.

Nailing a candidate briefing call

Commonly, when we have candidates drop out, it can be traced back to the quality of


In-depth qualification can ensure we dig deep enough to get to a person’s real motivations. 

Remember: never ignore red flags and always ask whether a candidate has already asked for progression/increase in salary in their current role to avoid dropout due to counteroffers.

How can you structure a stellar qualification call?

We’ve highlighted a selection of key questions that you can start using on your candidate qualification calls.

Pillar Question

Expanding Q1

Expanding Q2

Expanding Q3

Why do you want to leave?

What other factors have contributed to this decision?

How does your spouse/partner feel about this?

How do you think your current employer will react?

Considerations: It’s important that when asking this pillar question, you really drill down into the why. Understanding factors such as how a current employer or spouse will react will ultimately show you the hurdles that are potentially coming.

What type of role do you want?

What are the top three most important things for you in a new opportunity?

What would be a red flag for you in a role?

Describe what an ideal work-life balance would look like for you?

Considerations: Try to drill down on the technical requests they have from the job as well as things such as management, remote working, salary expectations, and team structure.

How do you want to progress?

What does progression look like for you?

Talk to me about what progression opportunities need to be available for you to make a new role worthwhile?

What specific goals do you have in mind that you want to achieve?

Considerations: Ensure that you dive deep, beyond things such as leadership and a promotion. What does this candidate want to achieve personally as well as professionally - and how does the role you have enable that?

What are your salary expectations?

Break down for me your current package and allowances (car, travel budget, benefits)

What are non-negotiable benefits for you in a new role?

What does the ideal package look like for you?

Considerations: It’s important to find out your candidates’ salary breakdown as well as the benefits they currently have. What is negotiable? What isn’t? Get all of the facts.

What is your notice period?

When are you available to interview?

Where else are you currently interviewing?

What factors may stop you from starting on X date?

Considerations: This information enables you to communicate effectively to your clients what timescales they’re dealing with. Bonus points if you can find out what upcoming annual leave they have for a smooth transition into a new role (should they get it)

To summarise, it’s important to cover the following areas:

  • Their reason for leaving

  • Their wants and needs from a new role

  • Progression expectations

  • Salary expectations

  • Notice period and next steps

Then, you need to qualify their current job, understand their responsibilities, team structure, and the organisation's mission and values. 

There are some recruiters who simply know when a candidate is good from looking at their CV, but that doesn’t mean you should cut corners in the qualification process.

TIP: Don’t ignore the red flags

You can have the most foolproof qualification sheet in the world, but red flags can still slip through the cracks. 

It’s important to trust your intuition, and if in doubt, speak to a manager or a peer. 

Bounce your thoughts off someone else and mitigate those red flags to have control of your process! You’ll slowly get better at spotting red flags, and you’ll also get into the habit of keeping yourself accountable and not ignoring things.

A piece of advice I got from my boss early on in my recruitment career that I will always remember is to ‘Ask the questions you don’t want to hear the answer to’.

They are often the most important questions to ask, as they will often unearth red flags or explain why things don’t go as planned in the future.

How to nail a client briefing call

Business Development is always a hot topic here at Hector, which is why we wanted to bring you an edition this week all about nailing the job briefing call!

We haven’t discussed it in that much depth before, but the reality is that if you can nail this (and get it “on the money” every time), you’ll have a much smoother recruitment process—both for your clients and your candidates.

There are 6 key things to think about…

#1 Ensure that you’ve conducted a stellar Discovery Call

Before any job briefing call, you want to ensure that you’ve conducted a discovery call which enables you to build solid foundations and establish a relationship/next steps with your client. 

Your discovery call should outline the following: 

  • What their needs are

  • The solution(s) that you would propose

  • Their experience with agencies/recruiters in the past (objection handling!)

  • Timelines

  • Budget/rough rates they have worked to in the past

  • Next steps for taking a job briefing

  • Booked in call

#2 Ensure you’ve got an agenda that is agreed before the call

Depending on how senior the role is, you can be taking a briefing for 30-45 minutes, but ideally, you want to ensure that your client is prepped and engaged beforehand so you don’t leave any stone unturned.

Hector’s Basic Agenda Template

  • Answer any questions the client has about the briefing before going into your briefing document (stated below)

  • Run through the briefing document step by step

  • Spend time going through any question marks in the briefing document with a fine toothcomb

  • Market insight and interview slots/who is going to be involved

  • Booking check-in calls

Creating a briefing document that you can share 

Your briefing document should include the following as a minimum:

  • Location

  • Salary/rate and bonuses

  • Key Responsibilities

  • Benefits

  • Length of the interview process

  • Interview slot times

  • Reporting line

  • USP/Key selling points of the opportunity

  • Progression opportunity

  • Team size

  • Start date

If you can share this information with the client beforehand (especially if this is a new role they are briefing you on) then the call will be a lot more productive. 

#3 (Try to) Agree exclusivity

In an ideal world, we’d all be working on retained roles with incredible salaries and benefits, but a lot of the time - that isn’t possible. 

Agreeing exclusivity creates a partnership model between you and the client. 

TIP: Make sure that you only pitch exclusivity on jobs you know you can fill.

#4 Don’t be afraid to re-clarify questions

Whether it’s during the briefing call or afterwards, don’t be afraid to re-clarify points with your client. 

A better way to do this is to create the job brief and email it to your client so you have a digital trail of what has been discussed. 

#5 Encourage flexibility if the client doesn’t see success

Although, as recruiters we have our ears to the ground in the market, you can’t always predict how a role is going to be received.  

If you aren’t seeing any success with candidates (whether this is active or passive), then you must encourage your client to be flexible - and this should be established on the job briefing call, for example:

“We should use this brief as a baseline to see the appetite in the market, but there may be a need for flexibility if we don’t see success in [x] amount of time - what could you be flexible on?”

This allows you to establish control as a recruiter (whilst also helping your client) and setting your client up for success. 

It’s important that you give insights and advice from the start. 

There’s a reason why we are called recruitment “consultants”!

#6 Next steps

Re-clarify the timings that have been given to you, such as candidate start dates and interview slots.

Block these out in your clients’ diary as a priority, and as and when you start to find candidates, you can fill these slots in.

You should also look to have weekly check-in calls with your client that are pre-agreed so that both sides are committed. 

You don’t want to be an order taker - so make sure that you are influencing the next steps in the process and that you have client buy-in and commitment the moment you have wrapped up that job briefing call.

Your client wants to feel safe, secure, and supported, so clarifying the next steps is crucial to solidifying that.

P.S. Whenever you're ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:

#1: Do you listen to my podcast? I release a weekly episode with either a top-performing recruiter or recruitment entrepreneur to find out how they achieved their success so you can learn directly from their journey Check out my latest episode and subscribe to the show.

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