Critical control points can help you make the best of situations that seem uncontrollable. We have adapted recruitment trainer Greg Doerching’s concept of critical control points to the process of an industrial recruiter.

You may remember Control Point #1, which discusses Real Job Orders. Part two of this process focuses on another important aspect, The Job Spec.

Control Point #2

Taking the Job Spec

I’m not talking about asking your client to send you a job description or asking them about the pay rate and shift. I’m talking about having a real conversation where you listen and probe until you understand what your client is looking for.  This your opportunity to ask the questions that are important to you.

Now, there is a difference between taking a job spec from an existing client and a first-time client.  Once you know your client’s business, there is no need to go through this process every time. But, should your existing client bring a new position to you that you have not recruited for, I would recommend revisiting the job spec process. It’s also a call to action for your client. If they are not willing to spend the time with you so you can ask the question you need to sell their company, I would question whether you have a Real Job Order or not.

Taking the job spec allows you to get the information you feel is important to sell a company with excitement and accuracy. During the job spec process, we cover the following areas:

The Interview Process

  • Who will be involved in the interview?
  • What does the interview process look like?
    • Is there a driving test?
    • Is there a physical demands assessment?
    • How long does the interview take?
    • Is there a site tour?
    • Do you ask behavior questions?
  • When you meet a candidate you like, will you extend an offer right away or will there be a second interview?

Company Information & Selling Points

One of the most important things we need to be able to attract candidates is a good story. People like to hear where you’ve been, where you are and, most importantly, where you’re going.

  • I’m sure I could find information on your company website, but what could tell someone about your company that is not on the website?
  • How would you sell your company to someone you were trying to recruit?
  • Where is the company heading in the next three to five years?

People & Leadership

One of the main reasons people leave jobs is because of a disconnect with their boss. People work for people, and it’s key to be able to paint a picture of the leadership in your company.

  • Who will they be reporting to?
    • How long has this person been with the company?
    • How long have they been in this role?
    • How many others report to this person?
    • What is typically said about working for this person?
  • Who will their co-workers be?
    • How long have they been working there?
    • What is turnover like in this department?

Duties & Responsibilities

Similar roles differ from company to company, and it would be great if they could send you a job description; however, no matter how thorough the job description, there is a lot that isn’t typically covered.

  • Can you describe a typical day of someone from the time they arrive to the time they leave?
  • How will this person’s performance be measured and how is it communicated to the employee?
  • Are there any responsibilities that aren’t typically held by someone in this role?
  • What immediate challenges will they face in this role?
  • How are new hires trained?
  • What are their performance objectives for the first 30, 60, 90 days?
  • What type of lift-trucks will they be operating?
    • Are your reach trucks reverse or forward steering?
    • Are they Crowns, Raymond’s or Toyota’s?
    • Will your counterbalance operators be using a clamp attachment?
    • Are your walkies a center-rider or ride-on?
  • What are the physical demands of the job?
    • How much time will be spent off their lift-truck performing physical tasks?
    • What physical tasks will they be doing (e.g. wrapping, strapping, hand bombing, etc.)?
  • What are the technical aspects of the job?
    • Are they using RF scanners?
    • Are they doing any computer work?
    • Are they shipping, receiving, picking, or a bit of everything?

Wants & Needs

When submitting a candidate to your client, you want to make sure they are near perfect. You can only do that if you truly understand what they need to see in a candidate, and also what they want to see in a candidate. 

  • What are the most important areas in someone’s developed skills that will allow them to hit the ground running?
  • What soft skills should they possess?
  • When you reflect on those candidates that were NOT a great fit, what stands out about them?

Compensation & Benefits

There is so much more to a job than just a base salary. Knowing the whole picture can help differentiate your client.

  • What is the salary range for this position?
  • When can they expect a pay increase?
    • How are increases determined (e.g. annually, performance-based)?
    • How much will the increase be?
  • What kind of benefits are available (e.g. medical, dental, eye coverage, long-term disability), and what is the cost of these benefits?
  • Is there any other compensation available, such as paid sick days, RRSP, commissions or bonuses?
  • How much vacation time is available?
    • When does vacation time start?
    • Does it increase with time?
    • Is any of it paid-time-off?
  • Is there an opportunity to grow, such as promotions or additional training?

Pick and choose what works for you but spending time upfront to get the information you need will allow you to sell the job with accuracy and have credibility in your candidates eyes.

William W. Srenk
President at