8 Questions to Ask Your Job Recruiter

Posted November 16, 2018, by Jenny

Recruiters can offer essential help to job searchers, and in some cases, they may hold the key to getting your foot into the door of the company of your dreams. However, there are many recruiters swimming in the job market waters, and they aren’t all loveable dolphins. You may come across recruiters with no experience and questionable practices as they focus on getting their commission by any means necessary. How then can you sort out the cream from the crop? Well, asking some pertinent recruiter questions can help you dip your toe into the water, and help you spot if you have a shark or dolphin recruiting you! What to ask a recruiter though? Hold tight, ‘cos we’re about to shine the light on recruiters with 8 easy questions to ask your recruiter when job hunting. Plus, these questions will help you collect vital information about the job opportunity you have your eyes on.

#1 - How long have you been working with x company?

Now, it isn’t always the case the recruiter who has been working with x company for the longest will find the best candidate for the job. However, if your recruiter has been working with the company for some time, you know they will have excellent insight into the company itself, and the kind of people the hiring managers are on the lookout for. If they have been working with them for a long time this is also a good sign because it means they will have placed a number of candidates with them and they aren’t just placing, getting commission and disappearing.

#2 - Have you placed many candidates with them?

This is connected to the first question but isn’t the same! If the recruiter hasn’t placed any candidates with the company it doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t go with the recruiter. But obviously, any recruiter who has placed more than two candidates with a company has established a relationship and has experience with the company. This experience will help them know if you are a right fit for the job and give you the best chance of getting an interview.

#3 - Do you work exclusively with this company?

You might feel a bit cheeky asking this one, but the answer can help you judge to what extent applying for the job through the recruiter will help you. If this recruiter works exclusively with the company then when they put you forward for the job you know your application won’t also compete with a number of other applicants put forward by other recruiters.

#4 - Is there anything you can share with me about the company's culture?

Asking this question has two purposes. If your recruiter knows their stuff then they will happily give you insights into the culture of the company the job opportunity is with. Firstly, this knowledge will help you prepare for an interview you could have with them. Secondly, how the recruiter answers this question will give you a sense of how well they do know the company, and if the answers they gave you to question #1 to #3 were accurate or embellished. If they truly have placed 10 candidates with the given company, and been working with them for 3-years they will answer this question easily. If they struggle, it doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t help you, but it may shine a light on how transparent they have been with you.

#5 - Can you tell me about the interview process? How many stages will there be?

This is an important question to ask because if you do get an interview after your initial application, you can start preparing and visualising the finish line. Many straightforward job opportunities will have a simple submit resume/ application followed by interviews as their format. However, there are companies have a much more complex and involved application process that works in stages. Knowing exactly what to expect can help you to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for each stage.

#6 - What are some important skills that candidates are required to have for this role? 

A key question to help you understand how to weigh in your resume. Knowing the most important skills the company wants candidates to excel at will help you to know what to highlight and draw attention to first when you submit your resume. This can also help you to craft a compelling cover letter that will catch their attention and of course, should you get there, shine on interview day.

#7 - Is there anything you can share with me about the hiring manager? (What do they like, dislike, what’s their style/ approach?)

When recruiters have experience with a company and have built a professional relationship with the hiring manager then it is likely they will have insider knowledge. And insider knowledge about the hiring manager can help you know how to approach an interview and how to present yourself. Sometimes getting the job is not just about what you have on paper. The hiring manager undoubtedly will also bear in mind the culture of the company and their own experiences hiring. They will have made hiring successes and hiring disasters. As a result, they may have pet peeves or keep an eagle eye out for certain behaviour patterns or characteristics which will or won’t work.

#8 – Why has this role become vacant and how long has it been available?

This is a key question to ask because your recruiter's main aim will be to get the position filled. Now, they are not going to be the ones to tell you the manager is a bully. Or the work culture at this company is toxic and everyone burns out and leaves after 3 months. Teasing from your recruiter about how long the job has been open for, and why the opportunity opened up in the first place can help you gauge if this job is really the diamond position your recruiter wants you to think it is. If the person who held the position before has progressed internally, that is definitely a good sign. If they left after 3-months perhaps it was them, but there is a chance there could be something up with the position too. Or if the job has been open for a very long time, perhaps there is a reason for that. You can then proceed with some caution and your ear to the ground before you jump into the frying pan! 

Jenny

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