What Are the Best Questions to Ask Recruiters?

by Pranav Ramesh
April 26, 2021
Best Questions to Ask Recruiters

Job hunting can be daunting and recruiters are a great ally to have when going through this process. But recruiters are also busy people and it is up to you to make the most of your relationship with them. Think of them as a resource that you can tap into when you need clarity about a role or a company. They are especially useful when preparing for an interview, because of their knowledge of the organization and your interviewers. With that in mind, let’s look at some of the best questions you can ask a recruiter before an interview.

Topics covered:

  • The company culture
  • The history of the role
  • The interview process
  • Feedback on your resume

The company culture

A company’s culture is defined by its values and attitude towards business. Understanding a company culture is important because it will tell you how the organization does business, manages hierarchies, the work environment, leadership style, ethics, goals etc.

For example, if you thrive in an environment with limited oversight, where you are given the freedom to operate towards long-term goals, rather than day-to-day targets, you would not be a good fit in a company that favors a hands-on style of management.

Recruiters appreciate a candidate who comes across as well prepared, and this includes having an idea about the company’s culture before you get in touch. But there is a limit to how much research you can do, and a recruiter would be a great source for further insight.

RELATED: 4 Reasons Tech Candidates Should Work with a Recruiter

 

The history of the role

It is a good idea to get some perspective about the role for which you are applying. Knowing a little bit about the history of the position and the people who have interviewed for it, will help you decide whether you are a good fit for the position or not.

For example, you can ask the recruiter how long the position had been open. This will give you some insight into the hiring process and how many candidates have applied for this position before you. If the job posting is new, you are likely to be one of the first candidates to get an interview. If the requisition has been up on job boards for a long time, that could mean the organization is particular about who they hire.

You could also ask the recruiter how much time they have to fill the role. If the company is in a hurry, you can expect to be called for an interview soon. If the company is taking its time with the hiring process, then you might have to wait.

The interview process

Companies often have interview processes that are unique to them. Recruiters can help you prepare, and give you advice about the process. Sometimes companies hold multiple stages of interviews, one with the hiring manager, another with the head of the department, a third with partners or upper management, and so on.

You could ask about the hiring manager, their interview style, and reputation. Is the manager someone with a laid-back attitude, who likes to conduct interviews informally? Or are they very formal and expect candidates to present themselves in a particular manner? Are they friendly, or stand-offish?

You could also ask about the kind of questions you might get asked. Some recruiters even offer to set up practice interviews, to help you be better prepared. Needless to say, if you get offered a chance to do a practice interview with the recruiter, DO NOT turn it down.

Feedback on the resume

Recruiters spend hours every day going through hundreds of resumes and cover letters. Over time they develop a keen understanding of what the company is looking for in a candidate, and the type of resumes or cover letters that will attract the hiring manager’s attention.

Feedback from a recruiter can help you tailor your resume to fit the needs of the organization or write an eye-catching cover letter. However, don’t expect recruiters to re-write your whole resume or fix any major flaws, just to fit in with the company’s requirements. They will suggest minor changes at best.

Also, remember that recruiters are very busy people, who are often connecting with multiple candidates for a role, and may take time to reply to your request. Even if your application is ultimately unsuccessful, this feedback will be valuable for the future.

Conclusion

Remember, recruiters don’t get paid to help candidates find the best jobs. They get paid to help companies find the best candidates. This means that, at any given time, recruiters are fielding questions from a large number of candidates, sometimes for the same role. It is important to keep in mind, when you write to them, that you DON’T waste their time. Don’t ask unnecessary questions. Don’t expect them to shop around for roles that will suit your qualifications. It is on you to apply for roles that fit you. And don’t be put off if you don’t get a prompt reply (Though a polite reminder email, maybe three or four days after the first one, is fine).

Finally, remember that people become recruiters because they have a knack for communication and enjoy networking with people. Even if their job doesn’t require it of them, they will be willing to help you, provided you do your part thoroughly. Being well prepared and showing your enthusiasm will win you points with most recruiters. Now you know what to do, go ahead and make the most of the opportunity.

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About the Company:

Peterson Technology Partners (PTP) has partnered with some of the biggest Fortune brands to offer excellence of service and best-in-class team building for the last 25 years. 

PTP’s diverse and global team of recruiting, consulting, and project development experts specialize in a variety of IT competencies which include:  

  • Cybersecurity  
  • DevOps  
  • Cloud Computing
  • Data Science
  • AI/ML
  • Salesforce Optimization
  • VR/AR 

Peterson Technology Partners is an equal opportunities employer. As an industry leader in IT consulting and recruitment, specializing in diversity hiring, we aim to help our clients build equitable workplaces.

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