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Agency Recruiter Interview
Questions

30 Questions and Answers by
| Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.

Question 1 of 30

As an Agency Recruiter, which publications and resources do you turn to the most to keep yourself educated?

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Agency Recruiter Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    As an Agency Recruiter, which publications and resources do you turn to the most to keep yourself educated?

      There are a plethora of resources available to you as an Agency Recruiter. You could discuss any tools that your employer provides you, some you found on your own, or those that other recruiters have recommended to you. The interviewer wants to see that you have a keen interest in learning and staying on top of the ever-changing recruitment game. This question offers an opportunity for you to ask for recommendations if you are comfortable.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "It's important that I continually educate myself and remain up to date on changes and hot topics in the recruitment industry. Top resources that I turn to include the Undercover Recruiter blog and Forbes magazine online. This year, I want to expand my knowledge by attending coursework on diversity and inclusion in recruitment practices. Do you have any further recommendations? I am eager to build on my skills and knowledge continually."

  2. 2.

    How many permanent placements did you make last year?

      Agency Recruiters work fast, so the interviewer wants to know about the work volume you have handled in the past. For instance, if you made only three candidate placements in a year, that likely means that you will not work well in a fast-paced agency environment.

      Some Agency Recruiters will place a dozen or more candidates per quarter amounting to nearly 50 placements per year. If you work for a boutique firm, that number may be less. Discuss with the interviewer how many placements you are accustomed to securing, assuring them that you are a high performing Agency Recruiter.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Last year, my goal was to place 35 candidates. I wanted to reach my stretch bonus and I achieved this by placing 42 candidates in total. It felt great! My average placement-per-quarter is around ten candidates."

  3. 3.

    Talk to me about your level of proficiency with the LinkedIn Recruiter platform.

      LinkedIn Recruiter is a widely used online talent solution that many recruitment agencies utilize. LinkedIn Recruiter subscriptions can be costly for an agency, so the interviewer would like to know that you can fully utilize the platform's features, making their investment worthwhile.

      With LinkedIn Recruiter, you can easily search, connect with, and reach out to talented professionals across the globe. The platform also acts as a candidate relationship management system, allowing you to prioritize tasks and track conversations with viable candidates.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I have used LinkedIn Recruiter for about four years now, and I log into it every day. I appreciate the features such as candidate spotlights, allowing me to see the best matches for my job postings much faster. Also, I can identify candidates who have not completed their application which is an excellent feature. I am highly proficient in LinkedIn Recruiter and can even train newer recruiters on the platform, if needed."

  4. 4.

    Recruiting in an agency environment requires a lot of selling. Do you have any sales training?

      Many Agency Recruiters will run a 360 desk. The term 360 means that the recruiter will handle everything from acquiring new clients, landing new job orders, finding the right candidates, placing them, and all the paperwork required from start to finish.

      Many of these tasks require the same skill set that a professional salesperson would have. Discuss any sales training you have and how you believe it will help you succeed in this role. If you do not have any sales training, you could ask the interviewer for recommendations of online sales courses or other helpful resources to grow your sales skills.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I have taken a few Dale Carnegie sales courses including 'Winning with Relationship Selling' and 'How to Cold Call and Build New Customers.' The greatest things I learned were how to take the stress out of cold calling when looking for new clients or shopping a candidate for an important new client. I built my confidence through these courses and am better at appealing to my clients' needs."

  5. 5.

    How would you make an average candidate appear more attractive to a client?

      As an Agency Recruiter, you will find that many qualified job seekers look plain terrible on paper. Even the most talented people are not great at writing a resume, after all. The interviewer would like to know what you do to make a candidate appear more enticing to a client, before submitting their resume. Discuss the steps that you take to repackage or coach a candidate, making them easier to place with your clients. Express your interest in helping people to find suitable jobs, while also touching on why it's important to represent your agency in a professional light.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I often see candidates who can be an excellent match for my clients; however, their resume is vague, a total mess, or shows unexplained gaps. It's important to me that I present only the best to my clients so for that reason, I will coach these candidates on how to write a proper resume. Often I will work with them on these documents, ensuring they put their best foot forward."

  6. 6.

    Are you comfortable being paid on a 100% commission basis?

      Many Agency Recruiters work on a 100% commission basis; however, not all of them. It's vital that you fully understand the pay structure offered by the recruitment agency before accepting any job offer.

      The interviewer would like to know if you are happy with being paid solely on your performance. Whether the job pays 100% commission may not be the exact point of this question. Assure the interviewer that you are confident in your ability to be a top performer, regardless of commissions or a comfortable base salary. Show that you can work hard and be paid based on your performance alone.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I can assure you that my performance is always top-notch, and I am comfortable being paid based on my performance. I have earned solely on commission plus a minimal draw for many years, first as a car salesperson and most recently as an Agency Recruiter."

  7. 7.

    How do you help your clients to make sound hiring decisions?

      There are many ways that an Agency Recruiter can influence a hiring manager and help them through a challenging hiring process. A skilled recruiter will act as a partner to their clients, be a listening ear, an educated hiring partner, and a person with sound judgment to explore ideas and thoughts. Discuss how you help your clients make the best hiring decisions.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I must act as a solid hiring partner with every client. I support my clients by helping them with interview questions, candidate engagement strategies, teaching them the red flags to look out for in a job seeker's interview answers, and walk them through best practices in salary negotiations. Many of my clients lean on my expertise when it comes to being competitive in their market and industry."

  8. 8.

    How do you use data and analytics in your recruitment process?

      As an Agency Recruiter, your clients will respond best to your interview and hiring recommendations if these suggestions link back to data. Show the interviewer that you understand how to leverage data and analytics in your recruitment process. If possible, give a specific example of a time when the use of data and analytics led to a successful placement.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Many recruiters rely on their intuition, which is an important factor in the process; however, should not be 100% of the work. I analyze data from clients' past hires, successes and fails of the past, employee attrition data, and more. Then, I make hiring recommendations on what I see to be working for my clients' competitors. Most recently I helped a client to reduce their workforce by replacing three low-performing employees with one full-time and one part-time staff member. My client was thankful that I took the time to analyze their issues before recommending they continue to overstaff."

  9. 9.

    Talented Agency Recruiters are entrepreneurial. Give me an example of how you have embraced an entrepreneurial mindset.

      To be a successful Agency Recruiter, you need to think like a business owner, a sales professional, a job seeker, and a hiring manager - all rolled into one! This multifaceted skill set requires you to be highly entrepreneurial by nature.

      Ways that you might display an entrepreneurial mindset:

      - Looking at challenges from all sides, all the time.
      - Happily face challenges and learn from them.
      - Embracing a lot of variety in your day.
      - Exploring new ways to provide value to your clients.

      Discuss the ways that you have embraced an entrepreneurial mindset in your recruitment career. To make your answer more memorable, be sure to give a specific story-based example using the STAR framework (Situation, Task, Action, Result).

      Rachelle's Answer

      "As any smart entrepreneur would do, I read a lot of books and keep myself educated on negotiation, sales, and persuasion techniques. I never shy from a challenge and always have my agency's profitability and reputation in mind. I also put myself in my client's shoes and think of ways to add value to their pain points. (Situation) For instance, last month, I had a client who did not want to give me an exclusive job order. She wanted to see how fast I could work compared to other agencies she occasionally works with. (Task) I knew it was up to me to change her mind about giving her job order to multiple agencies. (Action) I spoke like an entrepreneur and moved the conversation away from how I would benefit from an exclusive job order. Instead, I focused on the benefits to her if the job order was exclusive to me. I used my persuasion gift, and the client agreed to give me the job order exclusively for 30 days. (Result) I presented my client with three strong candidates after just two weeks, and she made a job offer to one of my candidates yesterday. My next step is to ask this client for full exclusivity on all upcoming projects."

  10. 10.

    What is the most critical area of training for a new Agency Recruiter?

      New Agency Recruiter training can be intense and will cover a broad range of topics, including:

      - Cold calling
      - Business development
      - Employment diversity
      - Business ethics
      - Health and safety
      - Legal practices
      - Candidate selection
      - Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)
      - Boolean search and keywording

      This list is to name just a few areas of training! Discuss with the interviewer what you believe to be the essential skill for a new Agency Recruiter. Then, express how strong you are in that particular topic. If you are a more seasoned recruitment professional, you can also talk about your experience in training new Agency Recruiters.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Fast and accurate research, in my opinion, is the best skill for a new Agency Recruiter to have. For that reason, I believe that keywording, SEO, and boolean training is critical. A new recruiter can then dig up excellent candidates for an agency's talent pool and uncover new client opportunities. I am highly skilled in these areas and more than willing to train new Agency Recruiters on these topics. In my current position, I have trained approximately 12 new Agency Recruiters in the past three years, all of whom have proven to be skilled researchers."

  11. 11.

    How do you use social media and other online tools in your recruitment process?

      A great Agency Recruiter will have many tools at their fingertips, allowing them more speed in their research. The fastest acting Agency Recruiter will almost always win the placement, so it's important to the interviewer that you know which tools are available to you, helping you to succeed.

      List a few of the top resources that you use in your recruitment process. If you'd like, you can also ask for recommendations on tools. Show that you are eager to learn and lean on resources other than yourself to reach the finish line.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I am still shocked when I hear that some recruiters do not use social media in their recruitment process. It's incredibly useful for targeting high-quality candidates. I begin with LinkedIn, using my subscription to its Recruiter platform. From there, I search for potential professionals on Facebook and even Twitter. Other tools that I lean on regularly include our company's applicant tracking system. I will also ask for referrals quite often from candidates that I have worked with in the past."

  12. 12.

    Walk me through the types of placements you have made in your agency recruitment career. In which industries are you most interested?

      Any industry can call for a recruiter's assistance; however, certain industries are better known for regularly engaging recruitment agencies. These industries include:

      - Healthcare
      - Manufacturing
      - Food & Beverage
      - IT & Software
      - Accounting
      - Office & Admin
      - Engineering (all types)

      Share with the interviewer what your specialties are as an Agency Recruiter or which areas interest you the most. Perhaps you have a degree in a specific field of work. Maybe you worked in high-commission sales in the past, making you great at spotting terrific sales candidates. If the agency you are interviewing for has a specific niche, avoid singling yourself out or talk yourself out of the role. Be sure to qualify yourself by highlighting your industry experience and making the connection between this experience and the recruitment agency's client focus.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Before becoming an Agency Recruiter, I worked in medical device sales for ten years. As a result, I have a solid reach into the medical network in our area. I also have a deep understanding of how to spot excellent medical sales candidates. I applied to this Agency Recruiter position, knowing that you serve many US medical companies I am already familiar with. I have a history of making successful placements in the medical industry and look forward to continuing this success with ABC Recruitment Agency."

  13. 13.

    How do you properly qualify potential new agency clients? Is it necessary to you to that your clients are ethical, or will you take any job order?

      Responsible Agency Recruiters and their agencies will always interview their clients before agreeing to take on their job orders. Some of the things you should look out for is a history of constant employee turnover, sexual harassment accusations, stories of discrimination, poor health and safety records, and lousy employee reviews on review sites such as Glassdoor. If a client mentions they have burned through multiple recruitment agencies, this is another major red flag. Discuss with the interviewer your thoughts on ethical hiring and your process when it comes to onboarding new clients.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "The agency I currently work for is very selective on who they take on as a client. We have an online questionnaire, then a phone or in-person meeting. Whenever possible, I will make a site visit to see the environment in which my successful candidate would be working. I look for red flags such as a high employee turnover, bad vibes in the office, any discriminatory language used in meetings, and more. If I would not place a friend in the role, I do not take on the job order."

  14. 14.

    As an Agency Recruiter, are you accustomed to working in a bullpen environment or do prefer a private office?

      As an Agency Recruiter, you may hear the word 'bullpen.' Some agencies will place their recruiters in a bullpen environment where desks are put together in an open-office environment. Since Agency Recruiters work so fast to find candidates for their clients, many recruitment firms will set their employees up in a bullpen-style office to ensure maximum collaboration among recruiters. This close-knit environment allows recruiters to quickly and easily update their team members on a recruitment project's progress. This work environment also makes it easier for managers to single out recruiters who are not picking up the phone and hustling compared to their co-workers.

      If you are accustomed to a bullpen-style office, let the interviewer know you are confident in your ability to thrive in this environment. Before your interview, you might know what kind of workplace environment the agency offers. If you are unsure, you can ask the interviewer. Be sure to ask enough questions to ensure that the agency's work environment is right for you.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I have worked in both a bullpen environment, and I have had a personal office. I feel each scenario has its benefits and drawbacks. For instance, I love the collaboration involved in a bullpen set up. When I am working on fast-paced projects, I prefer the buzz that comes with group work. However, when I am working on a highly-specific executive search, I prefer working in a private office. Could you share with me which work environment you offer here at ABC Recruitment Agency?"

  15. 15.

    If you had a highly skilled candidate, but their appearance was terrible, would you present them to your client?

      The appearance of your candidate can be just as important as their skill set. If your candidate is meant to be placed in a client-facing role or in a sales position for instance, it is especially important that they are presentable and professional. As an Agency Recruiter, you know that you would not send your client a restaurant management candidate who had poor hygiene or a legal assistant who wore sweat pants to an interview.

      The interviewer wants to see that, no matter how talented your candidate is, you would be comfortable handling the situation appropriately. Yes, it's uncomfortable to tell a candidate that they need to clean up their appearance; however, you will come across uncomfortable situations like this as an Agency Recruiter. Discuss how you would handle the dilemma. If you have ever experienced this situation, you can give a real-life example by telling your story using the STAR framework (Situation, Task, Action, Result).

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Honesty is important when dealing with job seekers. Being straightforward is great, but I also have to be kind. If I had a highly skilled candidate, but their appearance was terrible, I would let them know that their presentation was not the best. I would first ask their permission to give them feedback on their appreance and then be prepared with resources and examples they could turn to for help. For instance, a fashion blog, a great hairstylist, or a list of my favorite self-care products."

  16. 16.

    Do you have experience using an Applicant Tracking Systems? Which ATS do you know best?

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  17. 17.

    What would you do if a client asked something unethical of you?

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  18. 18.

    Tell me about a time when you were unsuccessful in filling a job order. How did you handle the situation?

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  19. 19.

    Tell me three details an Agency Recruiter should never include in a job posting.

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  20. 20.

    Walk me through your process after receiving a new job order.

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  21. 21.

    Why would a client prefer to hire a temporary employee vs. a permanent employee?

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  22. 22.

    How is your recruitment performance measured in your current role?

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  23. 23.

    As an Agency Recruiter, how do you maintain relationships with your values clients?

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  24. 24.

    How often do you look for opportunities to approach potential new clients?

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  25. 25.

    When interviewing a candidate, what is the most important question you could ask?

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  26. 26.

    Do you have experience writing resumes, and coaching candidates on how to best present themselves to a client?

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  27. 27.

    Do you have experience guiding candidates through job offer negotiations?

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  28. 28.

    What steps would you take if your newly placed candidate quit without notice?

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  29. 29.

    How do you treat candidates that your client does not select for the job? Walk me through your process.

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  30. 30.

    What are your top 3 most important activities as an Agency Recruiter?

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