Team members bond over recruitment stories
Employee, People + Culture

Recruitment stories: Why we ask personal questions

People are nuanced and there will be things that impact their day-to-day that may not come up organically in an interview.

Recruiting is about people, and people are nuanced, varied and unpredictable. It makes for many interesting recruitment stories that we still recall years later. It also means we’ve learnt some important lessons along the way.

We’ve heard it plenty of times before: recruiters ask lots of questions. Sometimes, questions that don’t relate specifically to the job role, but have a lot of bearing on the outcome either way.

Here’s why with Founder, Clare Ferguson.

We share our recruitment stories

Recruitment stories and why we ask certain questions

When I first started recruitment, I specialised in casual office support roles. Based on the area I was servicing; my main pool of candidates were backpackers – and I have more than 70 working for me at one time. I placed candidates in various office environments and across many sectors, but a large portion was government placements.

I interviewed a great candidate named James* (name changed). He was going to complete data entry in a government department as a casual for a three-month max term contract. When I let James know he was successful in the role, I told him the address of the office and that it was located on level 20. I said I would call you in the morning of your first day, at lunchtime of the first day and then weekly after that. James was stoked and excited to get started.

I called James in the morning on the first day and nothing was amiss. He said he had arrived and was outside of the building, just heading up. I wished him good luck and we both went on our days. I called him around lunchtime, and he was panting.

He said, “I don’t know if I’ll be able to do this job”.

I tried to reassure him, “It’s your first day, you know the job, it’s okay, you’re still learning the ropes.”

He said, “No, I’ve got claustrophobia. I can’t catch lifts. I got here 30 minutes early to run up 20 flights of stairs. Then, I just went to lunch, ran down 20 flights, and then back up again. I just don’t think I can do this for three months, multiple times a day.”

The elevator plays a key role in one of our recruitment stories

The lesson in this recruitment story

As recruiters, sometimes you just don’t see these things coming.

People are people. They will have preferences, nuances and things that impact their day-to-day that may not come up organically in conversation or throughout the interview. And there are varied reasons why a person will not be able to complete a job.

Now, this recruiter always makes sure to ask, “Is there anything I need to know that won’t make you feel comfortable or prohibit you from completing this role?”


Related insights

Access the latest on hiring trends, people + culture and putting your best foot forward.