Recruiters are a vital link for those looking to learn more about a prospective employer. Whether you’re directly seeking out a recruiter or if you’ve been paired with one after submitting an application, these people are great resources.
Recruiters can provide insight about a company so that you can get the inside scoop about the culture and mission. But be aware that talking to a recruiter doesn’t mean that you’ve gotten the job. They’re the first step towards getting an interview.
Knowing which questions to ask a recruiter can help you get a better idea if the position and company is a good match. Here are ten of the most important questions to discuss when meeting with a recruiter.
1. What details can you provide about the job?
Job advertisements don’t always provide a lot of detail about a position. The good news is that recruiters usually have much more in-depth information that they can share with you. The more you know about a job, the easier it is to determine if it’s the right one for you.
After you know the basic details about the position, don’t be afraid to ask more specific questions. This is also a great time to get insight about company values and cultures as well as the daily life of an employee.
Some key questions to ask include:
- What are some of the specific projects I’ll be working on?
- Who will I be working with?
- What’s the company culture like?
- What kind of role is the position? (ie. full-time, part-time, temporary, freelance, etc.)
By knowing the inner workings of the position you’re applying for, you can make an informed decision to whether to continue with the application process.
2. Why is the position vacant?
It helps to know why a position is open and how long it’s been open for. Ask the recruiter if this is a new position or if the last person in the job left. If the latter, see if they can provide details as to why they left. Asking this question could be quite telling, as you’ll figure out the true nature of the job.
Learning how long the job has been open could be a red flag, depending on the answer. If a position has been open for months, this is a sign that other candidates have passed it up, which means you’ll want to be very mindful if you decide to move forward.
If the position just opened, be aware that the hiring process may take more time than usual. Chances are that the employer will consider several candidates to ensure that they’re making the right decision.
3. What are the top three skills needed to be successful in the position?
As discussed earlier, job postings aren’t always as forthcoming as they should be. Before agreeing to an interview, you want to be certain that you have the skills and expertise needed to be successful in your new role.
Ask the recruiter which skills the ideal candidate should have. This will quickly let you know how well you’re qualified for the job and new skills that you need to learn.
The answer you get to this question will also help you determine if this is the job for you. For example, if the position requires a lot of interaction with customers, and you’re someone who’d rather be behind the scenes, you may want to look elsewhere.
4. What’s the interview process like?
All companies have their own interview process. It helps to know whether you should expect one interview or several. Understanding the interview process makes it much easier to plan ahead and to prepare.
You will also want to ask what type of interview questions you should expect. Again, this makes it much easier to prepare so that you can feel 100% confident.
Some recruiters will offer to set up a practice interview. This gives you the opportunity to polish your interview skills while also giving solid answers for questions that you may be asked.
5. How would you describe the company culture?
While it’s important to get as many details as you can about the position, it’s even more vital to learn about your prospective employer. Ask the recruiter what the company culture is like. This way you can be sure that it’s a good fit for you.
Pay close attention to how the recruiter describes the company and don’t be afraid to ask question that may seem a bit silly. Some details that you’ll want to know include:
- Are employees expected to work late?
- Is there a strict dress code requirement?
- Does the company host morale builders or staff get-togethers?
- Is the company remote friendly?
- Does leadership value work/life balance?
All of these details make it much easier to know if the company is a good match for you.
6. What makes the company unique?
Employers are a dime a dozen. In today’s world where the demand for employees is higher than ever before, you want to know why you should choose one company over another. Ask the recruiter what makes this company unique.
These days, quality employers should go above and beyond to differentiate themselves from competitors. Knowing what makes a company different can help you to weigh your options in determining the one that best meets your needs.
7. Is remote work available?
In the past, remote work was a luxury. The COVID-19 pandemic was eye opening for employees around the globe. Today, remote work has gone well beyond a perk and is now an expectation.
Ask whether your position allows you to work from home. You’ll also want to know if you have the ability to flex your schedule if needed.
Avoid companies that don’t offer remote work, unless of course you prefer office life. If the company does provide remote work opportunities, get as many details as possible. If the recruiter says that the company is “open” to remote work but there isn’t a set policy, then chances are that there’s little to no flexibility.
Ideally you want to find a company that not only supports remote work, but one that has a solid policy with plenty of detail.
8. What’s the salary and benefits?
Most job listings provide a salary range, which isn’t the most helpful. Ask the recruiter how much the position pays and whether it’s hourly or salaried. You’ll also want to ask how often you’ll get paid. Some companies pay bi-weekly while others pay semi-monthly or monthly.
Salary aside, you’ll also want to ask the recruiter about the benefits package offered by the company. A company may offer a lower salary than another potential employer, but may offer a much better benefits package. Be sure to inquire about:
- Paid time off
- Retirement benefits
- Healthcare coverage
- Dental/vision coverage
- Short and long term disability
- Life insurance
When choosing an employer, don’t consider just salary alone. The full benefits package is what’s most important. Making a good salary is nice, but what good is a high salary if you get minimal paid time off or no retirement benefits?
Decide which benefits are most important to you and then choose the company that offers the best package for your needs.
9. How long have you worked with the company?
Understanding the relationship to the recruiter has with a company can be quite eye-opening. The longer the recruiter has been employed by the company the more insight they’re able to provide, especially in regards to company leadership as well as the hiring manager.
Ideally, the recruiter should have a good idea of not only the position, but the hiring manager, the team, and the company’s culture.
Recruiters that have spent years providing top talent to a company is not only informed, but trusted. In some instances, the recruiter plays a role in deciding which candidate is hired for the position.
10. How soon does the job need to be filled?
Knowing the timeline of the hiring process will help you to manage your expectations. The recruiter should have a good idea of how long it should take to hear back from the hiring manager and then the next steps.
Getting timeline details allows you to plan accordingly. If the position isn’t going to be filled for months, you may need to find a job in the interim.
While a recruiter doesn’t decide whether you get hired, they’re an important resource during the hiring process. Recruiters can provide much of the information you need to decide whether a prospective employer is the right one for you.
Make an effort to develop a relationship with the recruiter, and don’t be afraid to ask the important questions. The more details you have about a company, the easier it is to choose.