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Discovery Call

What is a discovery call?

Definition: A discovery call is an initial conversation between a recruiter or hiring manager and a potential candidate, or sometimes with a client company looking to fill a position.

This call serves several important purposes:

  1. Understanding Candidate’s Background and Goals: For a recruiter, a discovery call with a candidate is a chance to understand their professional background, career aspirations, and what they’re looking for in their next role. It’s an opportunity to assess whether the candidate’s skills, experience, and career goals align with the roles they are looking to fill.
  2. Understanding Client’s Needs: When the discovery call is with a client company, it’s about understanding their specific needs for the role they are trying to fill. This includes the skills and experience required, company culture, and the expectations for the role.
  3. Building Relationships: This initial conversation is also about establishing rapport and building a relationship. Whether speaking with a candidate or a client, it’s important for the recruiter to create a comfortable and open dialogue, encouraging transparency and trust.
  4. Qualifying the Candidate or Role: The discovery call helps in determining if the candidate is a good fit for the roles available or, conversely, if the client’s role is suitable for the candidates in the recruiter’s network.
  5. Setting Expectations: The call allows both parties to set expectations regarding the recruitment process, communication, and next steps. For candidates, this might include discussions about potential employers, the interview process, and timeline. For clients, it could be about the types of candidates available and how the recruitment process will be managed.
  6. Information Gathering: Recruiters use discovery calls to gather as much relevant information as possible. For candidates, this includes work history, skills, and salary expectations. For clients, it involves understanding the role, company culture, and specific needs of the team.
  7. Planning Next Steps: At the end of the discovery call, the recruiter should have a clear idea of the next steps, whether that involves scheduling interviews, introducing candidates to clients, or further refining the search criteria based on the conversation.

In essence, a discovery call in recruitment is a foundational step in the recruitment process, allowing for a better, more targeted approach in matching the right candidates with the right roles.


What is a discovery call in recruitment?

A discovery call is an initial conversation between a recruiter and a potential candidate or client. It’s a chance to understand the candidate’s career goals and background or the client’s needs for a specific role.

What are the main objectives of a discovery call?

The primary objectives are to assess the suitability of a candidate for available roles, understand a client’s specific requirements for a position, build rapport, and set the stage for the recruitment process.

How should I prepare for a discovery call with a candidate?

Review the candidate’s resume, prepare questions that uncover their career goals, skills, and experiences, and understand the job specifications of the roles you are recruiting for to see if there’s a potential match.

What questions should I ask in a discovery call with a client?

Ask about the specific skills and experience required, the company culture, the team the new hire will work with, and any challenges or key projects associated with the role.

How long does a typical discovery call last?

Discovery calls usually last between 15 to 30 minutes, but this can vary depending on the complexity of the role or the candidate’s background.

What are some key things to listen for during a discovery call?

Pay attention to the candidate’s career aspirations, any particular preferences or constraints they have, and subtle cues that indicate their soft skills and cultural fit. With clients, listen for specific needs, expectations, and insights into their company culture.

How can I ensure the discovery call is effective?

Be clear and concise in your communication, actively listen, ask open-ended questions, and ensure you cover all necessary topics to get a comprehensive understanding of the candidate or client’s needs.

What should I do after a discovery call?

Summarize the key points learned, determine the next steps, and if it’s a call with a candidate, consider which client roles might be a good fit. Document the information for future reference.

Can discovery calls be conducted via video instead of phone?

Absolutely. Video calls can provide a more personal touch and allow for better engagement and observation of non-verbal cues.

How can I handle a discovery call if the candidate seems unprepared or nervous?

Provide reassurance, guide the conversation with your questions, and focus on creating a comfortable and open atmosphere to help them relax and open up.