Recruiters are a powerful ally during a professional search for both companies and candidates. Their duty is to find the appropriate fit, so they must ensure both sides are happy with their decision. Having in mind the best questions to ask a recruiter will allow you to refine your profile before an interview, a job offer, and even your first day as a new hire. If you don’t know exactly what to ask or how to use their experience and knowledge to ease your search, here are a few insights for guidance.
Without thinking too much about it, you may have had a recruiter reach out to you to discuss a job opportunity, or maybe you’ve heard about a friend who’s worked with one while on their job hunt. Though there are many general descriptions and ideas about their job, have you ever actually wondered what a recruiter does? They mainly assist companies in filling open positions with the best possible fit, though they’re also responsible for the other half of the equation: matchmaking the workforce with their ideal jobs.
This is a people business, which means it takes a lot of training, effort, and activity to accomplish a good and long-lasting placement. Since they are the link between hiring authorities and job-seekers, they have meaningful insight about what is needed to fill a certain position and why candidates are looking for a change.
There are different types of recruiters, but the most common are corporate, or in-house recruiters, and third-party agencies. Though the tasks and skills needed for the job may vary, here are some of the day-to-day activities they perform:
By now, you should know that when a recruiter contacts you, it’s because you’re well-suited for the job in question, so you could say it’s a pretty good start for you. Since they have more in-depth information about the position, you can take advantage of that knowledge by asking your recruiter the right questions.
If you want to get the best out of your experience working with a recruiter, use their expertise to improve your resume or practice your interview skills. Here are a few questions to ask a recruiter about a job opening.
If you don’t know where to start or what to ask a recruiter, you can start with this one. Though this may seem irrelevant or obvious, asking this will give insight about the team you’d be joining, growth opportunities, or simply let you know what type of situation you’d be in.
Don’t underestimate the past of the position. Knowing if the previous person in the role was fired, promoted, or moved to a different company may let you know a bit more about the dynamic within the company and set you up for future scenarios. On the other hand, if it’s an entirely new opening, you can ask why it was created; that way, you can know if there are clear definitions for the role and opportunities for growth.
For first questions to ask a recruiter, this is also a good one. Mainly because it will inform you of a company’s hiring process. In the same case as the previous one, you’ll need to read between the lines to get an idea of what to expect. If the position has recently opened or is in the early stages of fielding candidates, it’s more likely to take a while before knowing if you could be selected or even receive an offer.
On the contrary, if the position has been available for several months, it may indicate that many other candidates have passed the offer for some reason or that the hiring authority is indecisive or extremely specific on what’s needed to fill the job. Either way, you should ask this question so you can make your conclusions about how to move forward.
This is a must when it comes to the best questions to ask recruiters. As mentioned before, they typically get more details about the position than you’d find in an average job posting. So even if you know you have an idea of the job title and functions, you should ask specifically about the description of the role, duties, responsibilities, etc. Though this may seem like basic information, it will allow you to know exactly what you’re getting into and if you’ll be able to expand your skill set and advance in your career.
After hearing all the details about the role and you’re convinced to go all the way, this is a good question for a recruiter if you’re involved in more than one interview process. The idea is to understand the hiring timeline, how many filters you’ll need to get through, and who you’ll talk to during the interviews. Though this may seem confidential, you’d be surprised to know that many recruiters will be happy to help you with this information so that you’ll have a successful outcome.
Following the preparation for the interview process, here is an excellent question to ask a recruiter. This is where their expertise and previous experiences with hiring authorities will be extremely helpful for you. Asking this will prepare you for what’s coming since they can give you examples or even tell you what kind of questions managers like or have made in previous interviews.
Though this is something you could ask the hiring manager, this is a good question for recruiters too. Even if they don’t have the details about the role’s day-to-day activities, they can provide valuable information about the company’s culture and work-life balance. There is no harm in asking; you may be surprised by how much they know about the projects you’ll be working on and who you’ll be working with.
If the culture of a workplace is a game-changer aspect for you when it comes to making a decision, feel free to ask this question to your recruiter. These types of things aren’t usually described in a job posting, and for many candidates, work culture matters, especially when it comes to matching ideals and values.
Make sure to pay attention to every detail your recruiter may tell you about the company and how they describe management. If you consider this job a serious option, you want to confirm that the culture matches you and that you’re a good fit for them too.
Speaking about being a good fit for the company, here is another aspect to consider. If you’re unsure about having the right skills for the job, ask your recruiter this question. Even if you have all the abilities listed in the job description, recruiters can give you insight into what the company appreciates as additional qualifications.
Aside from giving you the chance to improve those areas, this will allow you to determine if you’re really interested in the job or if you prefer to look for something more suited to your current skill set.
Since working remotely has become a common in-demand option for today’s workforce, flexible work schemes are now an expected way to work, making this question a must for asking recruiters. Even if it’s not 100% remote, you should know if the company is willing to set a couple of days a week to work from home or ease things for you in an emergency. This will be a critical aspect for you to choose if you’re already familiar with the laptop lifestyle or looking for an opportunity like this.
Of course, questions about salary have been given a bad wrap. But, this is a perfectly normal question to ask a recruiter, so don’t be afraid to. Actually, it could save a lot of time; imagine going through the entire interview process just to realize the pay is under your expectations.
Just remember, it’s to get a rough idea, so asking for specific numbers could lock you into a salary before the offer stage. Your recruiter may be hesitant to provide an answer if it’s the first thing you ask about, because good recruiters want to make sure a career change is for more than money alone. No rush, if you and the company are serious about filling each others’ needs, there will be time for negotiation.
Asking recruiters these or any other questions you may have will help you clarify your concerns about a possible job opportunity. And who knows -You may end up with a pretty good piece of advice for getting closer to your ideal career.
Contributed by Luis Arellano
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