20+ Smartest Questions to Ask a Recruiter (2021)

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Looking for questions to ask a recruiter? Job seekers should be prepared with questions to ask recruiters. Both in the event of a job fair or meeting with a recruiter regarding a job opportunity. Questions can help steer the conversation and ensure that the job seeker is passionate about the opportunity and wants to move forward.

A recruiter or hiring manager may call a job seeker on behalf of a staffing agency. Or a staffing firm or recruiting firm. Or directly from the company acting as an internal recruiter. Asking a question about the job shows interest to the recruiter and employer. But provides an ample opportunity for the candidate to learn about the interview process. Or recruitment process, company culture, job requirements, and many other aspects of the job.

Great questions to ask a recruiter on behalf of a job seeker would be ones that:

  • Insight into the career path opportunities (how the job aligns with a job seekers career goals).
  • Valuable insight into the work culture (remote work friendly, for example).
  • Valuable insight into the salary expectations and requirements of the role.
  • Insight into the recruiting process, hiring process, and interview process.
  • Or any insight into the open position or job opening.

questions to ask a recruiter

Consider the questions to ask

Thoughtful questions should be asked. These are questions that provide the job candidate with insights rather than simply asking questions about the potential employer. The questions should assist the job candidate in their job search rather than asking any question. For example, an informed question would be about the remote work culture and how collaboration is handled without being in person. This is better than asking what soft skills or skill is required for the position.

Tip: Job seekers should perform research about the hiring company and the role before speaking with a recruiter. This will make the job seeker appear as a “good fit” from the beginning of the conversation since they are well-informed. And this can leave most of the phone interview or screening interview open for important questions and answers rather than simply describing the job.

These questions turn the recruiter into a person who offers career advice. Rather than someone who answers questions, making the job seeker sound informed and attractive to the job recruiter. There are technically no “right questions” to ask the recruiter. But a good question is specific to the company and makes the interviewer feel as though the job seeker is already well-informed.

Tip: Most recruiter discussions happen by a phone interview. This session is technically not a job interview but a screening interview (informal). Job seekers shouldn’t expect a phone interview question or behavioral interview question during this process. This is a time for the recruiter to present the candidate's opportunity and specific questions to be asked. If that exchange occurs, it is a “successful interview.”

questions to ask a recruiter

Questions to Ask a Recruiter About the Role

Question 1: What is the job description?

This question summarizes aspects like the duties, skills required for the job, who you would be accountable to, and are accountable to you. It gives you a brief idea about the work associated with the position.

Question 2: What are the prerequisite skills or educational qualifications for the position?

Any corporate job will demand a specific set of skills. To perform the duties without any errors, you need to possess the expertise to handle the role. The above question lets you learn about the required skills along with other qualifications needed for the position.

Question 3: How long has the position been open?

This question lets you know about two things: demand for the job and the strictness of candidate assessment. If the job has been open for over a month, there is a high probability of people not being interested in the job. Alternatively, it could also mean that the candidates fail to do the interviews due to strict interview conditions. Then again, you might get to know that the job has been open for only a week. In that case, you do not get any idea about the competition for the job or the interviewer's meticulousness. And get to know how many candidates have been interviewed. This could give you a sense of how others are perceiving the role. If the position has been open too long, this could be a bad sign.

questions to ask a recruiter

Question 4: Is the position in question a newly created one or a vacancy due to changes in the workforce?

Sometimes companies have a change in management, which might also create some new roles and designations. Or, there might be a change in ideas and priorities, which creates new job titles. Then again, an open position could be a consequence of a workforce change (like promotion, retirement, or firing [in extreme cases]). You are not looking for a right or wrong answer to this question. It only lets you understand the circumstances which led to the availability of the job.

Question 5: What are the reasons that other candidates haven’t been selected?

There are preliminary conditions set for a specific job; meeting them makes a candidate eligible for the position, after which the interview process follows. Asking the recruiter about the cause of the non-selection of other candidates might reveal potential shortcomings you need to careful of. It could be related to skills, experience, or any other aspect. Being aware of the things gives you forewarning – providing time to work out the inadequacies to perform better in the interview. This could set a time frame for how soon the position will be filled. The recruiter may not answer this question with complete honesty.

questions to ask a recruiter

Question 6: What are the challenges and opportunities associated with the position?

A job comes with associated duties, tasks you need to do, and ultimately responsible for. Knowing the challenges and opportunities you will encounter in the position gives you time to prepare yourself mentally. It won't feel like a bad surprise when you face the issue later down the road. It will also help you evaluate your career progression, letting you know if the job matches your intentions and ambitions.

Question 7: I want a job that provides me a chance for career advancement. What’s the scope of growth and benefits of working with this position and company?

People want gradual progress in their careers, be it in the form of salary increases, increase in responsibilities, or job title. Through this question, you get to know the perks of working in the position.

Question 8: How much does a job like this pay on average?

Inquiring about pay gives you a salary number that the company is willing to compensate for the position. Not only do you get to know how much you might get paid, but it also lets you assess the value. Value related to job responsibilities. This information also allows you to consider and compare other offers (if any).

Question 9: What type of career path does someone in this role receive?

Asking this question can provide you insight into how the company can advance this position and help you achieve your career goals.

Question 10: What's the average salary range for this position?

Asking this question early can help ensure that you and the company are on the same page in terms of compensation.

Question 11: Is there something on my resume that you'd like to see?

Asking this question can help revise a resume if a hiring manager or team wants to see it. A good recruiter will assist the potential candidate in making themselves more appealing to the client or team.

Question 12: What skills do you feel your client values most for this position?

A great recruiter will try to help the potential candidates position themselves to the client more effectively. A way to do this is to provide insight into what soft skills, hard skills, and core competencies the team or company is seeking.

Question 13: What type of training is provided for this position?

Asking questions about basic training opportunities can help the job seeker understand what career advancement opportunities are available.

Question 14: What type of cover letter insights does this job require?

Asking the recruiter how to author a cover letter can be useful for the job seeker. A successful recruiter looks to provide insights to the candidate and should help the candidate align themselves to the job opportunity and job title.

Questions to Ask a Recruiter About the Company

Question 1: What is the interview process like with this company?

Every company has its own rules when it comes to conducting interviews and hiring employees. Asking the recruiter provides insight into the process. Whether there is a preliminary test, whether there is a phone interview before the actual meeting and more. Knowing these small details allows you to prepare accordingly to perform better.

Question 2: Will I be subject to any form of training?

The training, in this context, could be related to the period before being assigned any work. Or during the working period to improve your skills and help in career development. Some companies actively engage their employees in training programs while others don't. This information will be vital to shaping your career growth plan.

Question 3: What will be the criteria for evaluating my performance as an employee?

Companies don't just hire people and forget about them. They tend to keep track of their work and performance. Your performance matches closely to their expectations. If not, you risk getting demoted (or, in worse cases, fired from the job). There are usually parameters that help employers evaluate their employees' performance. Inquiring about them in advance will let you know the factors you'll be judged.

Question 4: What is the company culture like?

Make sure to ask this question. Every company has a system based on work ethics and culture, which varies from one organization to another. Google does away with formal wear while the company in question might be mandating that you dress formally. Formal wear is just one aspect. Knowing the principles that the company relies on and how it relates to your future work will help you make an informed decision.

Question 5: What can you tell me about the hiring manager?

The hiring manager is usually the one you will be reporting to before joining the company. It might be that the recruiter and the hiring manager are close acquaintances. Alternatively, that might not be the case. This question is to assess the relationship between the recruiter and the hiring manager while also letting you know more about the manager. This additional information (like their technical background, history with the company) will help you communicate with them during the interview process.

Question 6: What’s your opinion on this company?

Asking this question will sum up the recruiter’s impression of the company. They might provide useful insight that could help you make a decision.

Question 7: Can you tell me more about the hiring process here?

Asking this question can help you understand what the process will be like. And determine if you'd like to proceed to interview with the business.

Question 8: Can you tell me more about the company's culture?

Asking this question can give you insight into how the company goes about accomplishing the annual goals. This can provide you further insight into whether you'd like to interview with the business. Based on your desire to be within the work environment.

questions to ask a recruiter

Question 9: Can you tell more about the recruitment process?

Asking this question can give you insight into how the recruiter found you and what types of attributes the company might be looking for. This can sometimes lift valuable insights you can use to your advantage when you interview.

Question 10: Can you tell me more information about how I might be able to discuss salary with the company?

A great recruiter should provide insight into how to better position salary negotiation techniques. The objective of the recruiter is to place the applicant. The recruiter can provide helpful insights to ensure that salary expectations are met.

Questions to Ask About the Recruiter

Question 1: How long have you been with this company?

This question explores the connection between the company and the recruiter. It might be that the recruiter is a close associate of the company and regularly helps them with hiring. A recruiter with numerous job openings means the company trusts the recruiter. On the flip side, there might not be such close relationships.

Question 2: How long have you been recruiting in this industry?

This question aims at understanding the duration the recruiter has been working in the field. That also translates to experience. A long time in the industry indicates vast experience dealing with companies and candidates – making them a reliable source of information.

Question 3: How many clients have you placed in this company?

Talking about the candidates they placed also speaks about the recruiter's association with the company. Numerous placements mean that the recruiter is a trusted source of hiring people; thus, a good sign for you.

Questions to Ask an Executive Recruiter

Question 1: What's the total addressable market of the business?

Executives are often incentivized with performance goals. Understanding the total addressable market is a great way to understand the potential of the business.

Question 2: What performance incentives are built into the employment contract?

Understanding what the executive team has drafted for the executive search can be important to understand.

Question 3: What experience does the "perfect candidate" have for this role?

Executive positions require a healthy amount of previous work history. Understanding what types of work experience the executive search requires can be useful for the job seeker.

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author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, SHRM.org, Process.st, FairyGodBoss, HRCI.org, St. Edwards University, NC State University, IBTimes.com, Thrive Global, TMCnet.com, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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