If you aren’t looking for a new position, you may think that questions to ask a job recruiter don’t matter right now. However, with U.S. unemployment at a 51-year low, the likelihood that you’re being recruited at least every week is as great as the current economy. Phone calls, text messages, emails and LinkedIn pings may be daily distractions, especially if you are employed in high-growth industries such as alternative energy, IT and health care. Perhaps it’s your turn to vet the recruiter. Here’s how to do it.
Be Prepared with Questions to Ask a Job Recruiter
Instead of ignoring the calls and notes, you may want to take a closer look to see what the new opportunities have to offer. And if you are entertaining a change of work or employers this year and a recruitment firm reaches out, you’ll also want to be prepared. That means knowing what basic questions to ask about the position, including the characteristics and skills needed to succeed, salary range and benefits, job location, management requirements and travel expectations.
You may want to find out why the position is open, how important the role is to the company and what the interview process will entail. And importantly, you should address the all-important question about culture, as the answer can help you determine up front if the company recruiting for the open position sounds like a good fit for you.
These are some of the basic questions that shouldn’t be hard to ask. But interestingly, when it comes to hiring, many candidates believe the recruiter is in charge. On the contrary, as the candidate you can take the reins of the hiring process, too, separating the wheat from the chaff to use a farm metaphor. After all, no one is a better advocate for you than you when this virtual stranger calls.
So if you are truly interested in learning more about the individual, take a deeper dive into the process. Start by making sure that the recruiter is credible, professional and accomplished – someone whom you feel will eventually represent your goals and interests to their clients.
Surprise Them with These Six Insightful Questions to ask a Job Recruiter
- What is the name of the company you’re calling about? Beware: Retained and contingency recruiters likely won’t tell you because they don’t want you to apply to that employer on your own. If that is the case, you could reply, “I understand you can’t tell me, but what if I’ve already applied with this business?” This may dislodge the name, but if not, you might consider moving on.
- Do you have a contract with the company? The answer should be “yes,” because if not, the recruiter may be angling for your resume to build their own resume bank.
- How long have you had this contract? The longer the recruiter has a contract the better because, of course, relationships matter. A recruiter with a longstanding relationship with the hiring company also will have a better feel for the open positions and the best individuals needed to fill them.
- How long have you been working on filling this position? In this case, the shorter the better, although if the job is highly specialized, it may take some time. Follow up by asking why the position has been open for so long.
- How many placements have you made with this company?
- How did you find me? The answer to this question will offer insight into whether or not you would be a match for the position and company. This is particularly true if your name was provided by a professional colleague.
Two caveats: A reputable recruitment firm will never ask you for money. And you should never be asked by a recruiter not to apply for jobs you find online. They’re not in the driver’s seat of your job search — you are. And now is a very good time to be at the wheel.
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