How to control a conversation

As a recruiter it’s important to be able to control a conversation and get straight answers from candidates or clients to ensure that you have all the information you need to make informed decisions.

HOWEVER. We know that sometimes everyone isn’t always forthcoming with things such as billings or their commission for example, and need a bit of work to drill down the root of an issue.

Here are some tips on how to control a conversation and get straight answers:

🗣️ Set the tone: Start the conversation by clearly stating your purpose and what you hope to accomplish in the conversation. Then, if you feel they’re skirting around a certain topic, be direct and ask something like ‘How do you know you were doing a good job?’ and take note of what they’re not saying.

👂 Listen actively: Actively listen to what the other person is saying and ask follow-up questions to clarify any confusion or uncertainty. Use specific words they are using to mirror their tone.

📝 Take notes: It might seem obvious but this is often overlooked. Take notes during the conversation can help you remember important details and ensure that you have all the information you need. You don’t want to overlook anything and need to go back to them. It’s not a good look.

💬 Use open-ended questions: Use open-ended questions to encourage the other person to provide more detailed answers. For example, “Can you tell me more specific details about your experience with XYZ software?”

💪 Be assertive: If the conversation starts to go off-topic or if the other person is being evasive, it’s important to be assertive and redirect the conversation back to the topic at hand. For example, “That’s interesting, but can we please get back to discussing your qualifications for the position?”

🗣️ Speak in a conversational, respectful manner: It helps to stay on topic and maintain professionalism when speaking with someone. Avoid using aggressive language that could put the other person on the defensive or make them feel embarrassed or uncomfortable.

👩‍⚖️ Acknowledge any points of disagreement: If there is an area where you both have different perspectives or are not seeing eye-to-eye, acknowledge it and move forward. Try to come to an agreement after discussing the issue, even if it’s just saying something like “Ok I see what you’re saying.”

🗺 Set boundaries: Set limits on the amount of time that you will spend discussing a particular topic, and be clear about what topics are off-limits. This can help keep the conversation on track and ensure that your goals are met. For example “Unfortunately I can’t discuss the other candidates with you.”

💬 Be curious: Ask questions that encourage meaningful dialogue and exploration, such as ‘What made you interested in XYZ?’ or ‘What do you think motivates people in this industry?’

🔁 Exchange ideas: Try to create a two-way dialogue, instead of only asking questions – encourage the other person to share their own insights and experiences, which may provide you with valuable new perspectives.

📝 Summarise: Summarise key points and decisions made at the end of the conversation to ensure that everyone is on the same page. This will also help you remember important details and be prepared for your next interaction.

Remember to always approach the conversation with professionalism and respect. Be open to hearing different perspectives. But consider that there are times when you just need to walk away from someone if they’re not being open and honest with you.