16 Good Questions To Ask A Recruiter Before An Interview In 2024

Women using the list of questions to ask a recruiter before an interview to call her recruiter and get the insights she needs to secure the role.

You might choose to prepare for interviews by spending hours and hours researching and learning as much about the company as possible; but how about considering the questions to ask your recruiter before an interview instead?

Recruiters are a fount of knowledge when it comes to their clients, so take advantage of working with a recruiter and ask them questions that will give you valuable insights that could make or break your interview.

As standard, recruiters will go through a lot of key information with you anyway, but I’d always recommend keeping this list of questions in mind so that you are extracting as much fruitful information as possible.

Great questions to ask a recruiter before an interview:

How long have you worked with the company?

Enquiring about the relationship between the recruiter and the company can help you understand what further questions to ask the recruiter. The longer and more developed the relationship, the more knowledge they should have of management styles, company culture, retention of staff and so on. If they haven’t been working together very long, this is a good opportunity to gain insights into why the company chose to work with a new recruitment agency. This might include a new management structure, the formation of new teams, increased hiring needs etc.

Who is the best candidate for this position?

This should be one of the first questions you ask a recruiter when you speak with them. They will give you an outline of what the company is looking for based on the conversations they’ve had with the business. This will help you ascertain whether you would work well in the role or not. If the role is something you’d like to pursue, you can use this information to your advantage when presenting your skills and experience at the interview stage.

What are the essential and nice-to-have skills for this role?

When speaking with a recruiter, it is a good idea to quickly pick apart the exact skills needed for the role. This can help you determine which skills are most important to the company and whether that fits with your current skillset and what you’d like to develop more knowledge of. There is little point interviewing for a role that won’t support the areas you want to grow in.

What projects would I be working on in this role?

Querying the projects you would be involved in is a great question to ask a recruiter, as it will quickly help decipher whether you’d be involved in work that interests you. Additionally, if you have experience working on similar projects you will know what to bring up in the interview.

Why is this vacancy currently open?

The answer to this question can be very revealing about the company’s situation. It may be that the role is newly created, and the exact direction of the role hasn’t been set in stone and you have the opportunity to shape it. It could also be that the previous person has grown out of the role and is leaving the company. This isn’t necessarily a worry, but it could suggest limited career opportunities. There are lots of different explanations and situations that could arise from the question, so there is potential to gain great insights from speaking to a recruiter on this topic.

How long has the vacancy been open?

The amount of time a vacancy has been open can reveal a few things. If it’s been open for a long time, it could suggest that the management team are struggling to find the right fit for the team. This could be due to niche responsibilities or skills, or it could be a sign that the company isn’t focused on / prioritising filling the role. You might be able to use this knowledge to your advantage when negotiating the salary and benefits.

What is the company culture like?

It’s very important to ask the recruiter questions about the aspects of the role you find most significant. For many, this will include company culture. Understanding more about day-to-day life at the company could help you decide whether it would suit you or not. A recruiter might not tell you the name of the company in the first screening calls, but they should be able to give you an insight into company culture, management structure and how they treat their employees.

What is the size of the team/ department?

In your list of questions to ask a recruiter about, the company and team size should be a priority. You will likely know from experience if you like to work as part of a bigger or smaller department. Some people love to work alone, whilst others enjoy being part of a team.

Does the company have remote/ flexible working practices?

If you know that you only want a role that has some level of remote or hybrid working, it is a good idea to ask the recruiter this question before the interview. This way you know whether you would suit the company or not. There is no point wasting your time attending an interview, only to be told something that is a deal breaker for you.

What benefits does the company offer?

Any good recruiter should have already gone through the benefits and compensation attached to the role. Why? Because the recruiter should be actively using the benefits to increase your interest in the role. If they haven’t mentioned benefits, this could be a red flag regarding the role and company. However, make sure you take the time to ask the recruiter questions and find out for yourself instead of presuming. If the recruiter doesn’t have all the necessary information, they can reach out to the company and get it for you. This means you don’t have to have an awkward conversation in-person during the interview.

What is the recruitment process?

Ensuring you understand the recruitment process is very important. This includes knowing how many interview stages there will be, if there are assessments, whether the interview is in-person or online, etc. Feel free to have multiple questions to ask a recruiter about the recruitment process – they will want you to feel as prepared as possible.

What is the time frame for filling this role?

When discussing the different steps the recruitment process will likely take, another good question to ask a recruiter is around how long the process might take. This will help manage your expectations. The recruiter will likely give you a timeline for when you will receive feedback, but if you know that they want to fill the role quickly, you might like to prepare yourself in case you receive a job offer. In some cases, asking the question will help you to realise that the company you’re applying to is not motivated to hire quickly and isn’t putting your experience as a candidate first.

What type of interview questions should I expect?

If you’re not one of the first people the company has interviewed, the recruiter will likely have insights into what the previous candidates have been rejected for. This could give you a good guide on what to specifically prepare for in your interview.

Are there any assessments I should prepare for?

Often, in certain industries like IT, there are technical assessments to complete which are distributed to you and expected to be completed within a set time frame, before you can move on to the next interview stage. You might also be required to complete personality assessments. Asking a recruiter about the assessment process can help clear up any concerns you may have.

What is the company dress code?

First impressions are very important. Of course, when interviewing, it is best to side with a more formal outfit, but knowing how formal or relaxed office wear is could help you feel more comfortable in your outfit choice.

How open would the company be to negotiating salary and benefits?

This is truly where a recruiter can come in handy. They should have already had conversations with the business around salary, benefits, and negotiations. Asking them about negotiations can be a good way of finding out how likely the business would be open to it. This would help particularly if the role is advertised at a slightly lower rate than you ideally want.

 

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