Updated on January 20th, 2019 | 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
Do you have experience guiding candidates through job offer negotiations?
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One of the most exciting parts of your job as a perm recruiter is when your client tells you they are ready to make a job offer to your candidate! Congratulations - you did it! But, now what?
Many things can get in the way between a proposal to its acceptance, and it's up to you to ensure the process goes as smooth as possible. This task includes controlling the conversations regarding salary offerings and counteroffers. Discuss any experience you have with job offer negotiations, giving a real-life example if possible.
"I keep my clients and candidates close, to ensure that proposals do not go sideways due to lowball offers from the company, or unrealistic expectations from the job seeker. Just this year, I have worked on 18 different offers, helping both parties come to a satisfactory result. I keep up to date on market trends, what competitors are offering, and what employees are earning based on their location, education level, and years of experience. I am 100% comfortable taking full control during job offer negotiations."
"As a partner to my clients and an ally for my candidates, I often find myself helping with job negotiations. Just this week I helped fill a $15K salary gap by requesting that the client bring their offer up another $5K plus an added week of paid vacation time. It was a perfect compromise, and the candidate signed the offer just last night!"
It's always a great idea to have questions ready for the interviewer. Since you are interviewing for a recruiter role, this is an excellent opportunity to show the hiring authority that you have insightful questions! Review the company website and other online resources to ensure the queries you have are not mundane, or redundant. The last thing an interviewer wants to hear is a list of items you could have found the answers for from merely watching a video on their company site!
Here are some sample questions:
- When would you like to have this position filled?
- How long has this role been vacant?
- Is this a replacement search or a newly created role?
- What is your favorite part about working here?
- What is the company's primary goal for this position in the next 12 months?
- Is there anything from my background and experience that I can clarify for you?
- What do you see as the most significant change in this industry over the past three years?
- Is there any reason why you would not hire me?
"I would like to ask if there is anything in my recruitment background on which you need clarification? Also, after discussing everything today, is there any particular reason why I would not be the best fit for this permanent recruiter role?"
"I appreciate you opening the floor for questions. I am wondering what your timeline is for a decision on this opening? Also, what was the biggest struggle the last recruiter encountered in this role?"
Are you comfortable being paid on a 100% commission basis?
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Many 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 firm, 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 or not, may not be the point of this question. Assure the interviewer that you are confident in your ability to be a top performer, regardless of commissions or a comfy base salary. Are you able to work hard and be paid based on your performance alone?
"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 now as a permanent staffing recruiter."
"Although I have never worked in a 100% commission environment, I do know that I would perform well, and hit my sales targets, even in the absence of a base salary. I am confident in my ability to be a high performer, either way."
How is your recruitment performance measured in your current role?
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Recruitment is a competitive industry, and your role as a perm recruiter is similar to that of a sales professional. Some of your performance metrics will include the number of placements you make, how quickly you fill a job order, your business development activity (gaining new clients or asking for more job orders), and your interview-to-hire ratio. Discuss with the interviewer the ways that your performance is measured, and discuss how you stack up compared to others on your team.
"The most important metrics in my role are the speed at which I fill a job order, and the number of new job orders I bring in to the agency. Right now my expectations are set at gathering ten new job orders per week. For the year, my average is 14 JO's, and I am in the top place for placements as well. You can see that I am a high performer, and I look forward to bringing this winning attitude to your agency."
"My current recruitment role focuses on new client acquisition, job order collection, interviews performed, and placements made. I brought for you my last quarter performance review if you would like to take a look at my numbers. I consistently ranked in the top 5 out of 25 recruiters on our team."
What would you do if a client asked something unethical of you?
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Sometimes your clients may not know about human resource laws, and will unintentionally (or intentionally) cross the line when it comes to hiring and employment ethics.
Most often, as a recruiter, you will come across clients who cross the line when it comes to gender, age, race, and other equal employment rights. You may hear a client unintentionally say 'she' when they refer to the type of front-desk receptionist they want to hire. Or, more blatant, you may hear a client say 'we can't hire anyone over 40 for this job.' Discuss what you would do if faced with this situation. Of course, the only right answer is that you will politely refuse, and kindly educate your client on how to best work with you and your agency.
"I have had clients subtly put in clients as subtle as gender discrimination, and as obvious as race discrimination. I am a full supporter of equal employment opportunity and will not hesitate to tell my client that their request is inappropriate. It's not worth breaking laws, to win a job order."
"If a client asked me to do something unethical, or that I was not comfortable with, I would let them know that their request would not happen, but perhaps we could find an ethical alternative. Let's say that a client asks for a male salesperson, for instance. I would let them know that we have many talented female sales professionals on our roster and that I would be happy to send them the most qualified person available for an interview."
6. How do you maintain relationships with your clients? Happy client relationships are everything to a recruitment agency, and the hiring authority wants to see that you are capable of maintaining their well-established client relationships while also creating new ones. Recruitment is a competitive industry with many staffing firms vying for exclusivity with their clients. As you know, exclusivity can only happen when your clients are thrilled with your service and have an excellent rapport with you. Discuss the ways you ensure the best customer service. Here is an answer example: "Repeat business and referrals truly drive my business, and those only come from excellent client delivery. Great rapport starts with the ability to take and implement feedback. From there, I build relationships through active listening, ensuring that I always deliver on their needs over my own. I will never send a bad candidate to my client, to fill the role. My clients recognize and appreciate that integrity." Here is an answer example: "I have a system of checking in with my clients on a weekly basis. My check-ins are not always to ask for a new job order but more often to see how a new placement is working out, or sending them an interesting article about their industry. The more interest I show in their day-to-day activities, the better they will trust me to understand their needs when it comes to talent sourcing."7. Do you have experience using an ATS? Which applicant tracking systems do you know best? Most recruitment firms will use an ATS or applicant tracking system. This system collects and stores job applicants' resumes, personal information, interview notes, documentation, and candidate history.
When a job seeker applies online to one of your job postings, their application, documents, and notes will automatically populate into your company's ATS, allowing you to quickly see how well they match to the role they have applied.
Some of the most popular ATS programs will enable you to email a job seeker directly from the system, and even book interviews or push out bulk SMS messages.
Popular ATS' include Taleo, Bullhorn, Kenexa, SAP Success Factors, and JazzHR. Discuss what you know about ATS features, and which systems you have used the most. Here is an answer example: "For the past three years I have used Taleo, first as an HR assistant and then as a recruiter. When I sent my application to your company online, I noticed that your talent portal is run by Taleo as well. The features I use most in this system include the quick applications overview, email templates, and social job sharing feature." Here is an answer example: "I am familiar with an applicant tracking system, and how an ATS works to filter job applicants, making the work of a human resources professional, or recruiter, much easier. I have heard of Bullhorn and Taleo most frequently. I am a quick study, and very capable with technology. If you could share with me which ATS you use here, I am happy to start with some online tutorials to learn the basics of navigating your system."8. In which industry are you best versed, when it comes to permanent staffing needs? The interviewer would like to know which industries you are most comfortable working within. You should know, before your interview, if this staffing agency or company focus' on one particular area of staffing, or if they are a generalist firm. Some of the most common areas for permanent recruitment include:
- IT and Computer Technology
- Office & Clerical
- Engineering Here is an answer example: "In my current position, I focus solely on accounting placements. With that said, I did spend about three years as an IT recruiter, placing computer engineers and cloud specialists primarily. I am a well-rounded recruiter, and can take on any project your agency has for me." Here is an answer example: "The bulk of my experience is in staffing for highly commissioned sales roles. I have a great deal of experience finding salespeople who are willing to work without a base pay, with large commission opportunities. When I saw your ad for a recruiter with a specialty in competitive sales placements, I knew I had to apply."9. How often do you look for opportunities to approach potential new clients? This question is a sales based inquiry. The hiring authority wants to see that you keep your eyes open for opportunities to gain new clients, or to revive a client who has not put in a job order in some time. Discuss the ways you approach opportunities. Be sure to show that you are enthusiastic about business development! Here is an answer example: "So far this year, I have acquired four new clients and have taken on 18 new job orders. I first look for new opportunities with existing clients, or clients who have been silent for some time. Next, I will ask for referrals from my active clients and then perform warm calls. I look for new opportunities every day, as business development is a key component to my success as a recruiter." Here is an answer example: "I spend one day per week on business development activities - usually on Wednesday's. Every day, I do keep my eye out for chances to ask clients about new job orders, but I am more focused on business development one day per week. There are opportunities everywhere, and I enjoy finding new ways to acquire new business."10. Recruitment requires a lot of selling. Do you have any sales training? Many permanent staffing recruiters will run a 360 desk. The term 360 means that you handle everything from client acquisition, business development for new job orders, finding the right candidates, placing them, and all the documentation required in between. Many of these tasks require the same skill set that a professional sales person would have. Discuss any sales training you have, and how you believe it will help you to 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. Here is an answer example: "I have taken a couple of Dale Carnegie sales courses including 'Winning with Relations 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 around. I built my confidence through these courses and am better at appealing to potential clients' needs." Here is an answer example: "Although I do not have formal sales training, I have some on-the-job training related to cold calling and discovering a clients' need. If you have recommendations on where to start, as far as online sales courses or books to read, I would love some suggestions!"11. When interviewing a candidate, what is the most important question you could ask? There are a plethora of essential interview questions that, as a recruiter, you could ask a job seeker. The most crucial first step is for you to ensure that the opportunity you are presenting is a fit for your candidate. If you do not vet your candidate correctly, they could be a big disappointment to your client; making you appear unprofessional and inexperienced. Show the interviewer that you are capable of digging deep in your candidate interviews. Here is an answer example: "One question that I always ask, no matter the role my candidate is seeking, is 'Describe for me in detail your ideal opportunity.' This question puts the responsibility on them to tell me, very specifically, what they seek in a job. I ask them to include the workplace environment, team size, location, type of industry, and more. If their response feels like a solid match, only then will I submit their resume and profile to my client." Here is an answer example: "I have a no-fail question that I ask in most interviews, and it's 'Why would you accept this job over any others you are entertaining?' See, I want them to desire the role genuinely. If they cannot show enthusiasm for this position, I will eliminate them from the competition right away."12. 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 the candidate would be in a client-facing role, a sales position, or the face of the company, it is essential that they are presentable and professional.
Imagine sending your client a restaurant management candidate who had poor hygiene, or a legal assistant who wore sweat pants? You see, no matter how talented they are, they would be overlooked by any discerning client.
It's uncomfortable to tell a candidate that they need to clean up their appearance; however, as a recruiter, you will come across situations like this now and then. Discuss how you would handle the dilemma. Here is an answer example: "Honesty is important when dealing with job seekers. Being straightforward is great, but you 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 ask their permission to give feedback, and then be prepared with resources and examples they could turn to for help. For instance, a fashion blog, a great hair stylist, or some of my favorite self-care products." Here is an answer example: "I am always clear with my candidates on what the appropriate dress code is before they head into a client interview. I ask them to show up as fresh and ready as possible. So far, my candidates have been able to show up presentable and ready to nail the interview. In an extreme circumstance where there was body odor, for example, I would mention it. It's an uncomfortable task; however, someone has to do it! I prefer honesty, and I hope the candidate would appreciate it as well."13. Do you have experience writing resumes, and coaching candidates on how to best present themselves to a client? Much of your work, as a recruiter, will be prepping candidates to put their best foot forward. Preparation could include coaching them on how to highlight their best skills and achievements in their resume or working with them on answering tough interview questions. Discuss the experience you have working with your candidates on a deeper level. Here is an answer example: "In my 15-year career as a recruiter, I have coached and helped hundreds of candidates. I have a certificate in resume writing and also have formal training in interview coaching. I am ready to help any candidate to put their best foot forward." Here is an answer example: "Before moving into recruitment, I was an HR assistant and spent a lot of my time coaching employees on communication. I enjoy helping people to be their best. As a new recruiter, I am thrilled at the thought of helping candidates create a great resume, or working with them to nail the interview."14. Tell me three details a recruiter should never include in a job posting. The interviewer is checking to see how skilled you are with crafting compelling job postings that benefit your agency, protect your client, and attract the right candidates all at once. When writing a job posting it's vital that you consider unconscious bias, keep your clients' name private, all while making sure that the right keywords are present so that your posting is optimized. As a recruiter, you will be writing job postings on a regular basis, as new job orders come in or as clients tweak their requests. Discuss what you think should be left out of a job posting. Here is an answer example: "It has taken me a while to learn the art of job postings; however, I believe I now have a highly effective formula. First, I would never include details about my client that would give away who they are. This omission is so that other recruiters do not try to poach my client, but also so that candidates do not go to the client directly. Next, I am sure never to say 'she' or 'he.' Keeping pronouns general is very important these days. Lastly, I never include boring words! Candidates will apply to jobs that sound exciting and compelling - even if it's accounting!" Here is an answer example: "In my recruiter training, I was told never to mention a client's name in a job posting, to make sure the wording is entirely different than the clients' public job postings, and to never include biased language."15. How do you help your clients to make sound hiring decisions? There are many ways that a 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, being a listening ear, an educated hiring partner, and a person with sound judgment where they can bounce ideas and thoughts. Discuss how you help your clients make the best hiring decisions. Here is an answer example: "It's vital that I act as a solid hiring partner with every client. I support my clients through helping them with interview questions, candidate attraction strategies, teaching them the red flags to look out for in a job seeker, and even through salary negotiations. Many of my clients lean on my expertise when it comes to being competitive in their market and industry." Here is an answer example: "I have a few great resources that I lean on, and I will share those with my clients. Displaying that I know about recruitment, as well as in their industry, is another way I support my clients and help them to make the best hiring decisions. If I come across an article they would find interesting; I will send it to them. When my clients know I am here for them, they are more likely to send me job orders and happily collaborate when it comes to hiring my top candidates at premium rates."16. What are your top 3 most important activities as a recruiter? The hiring authority is looking to see that you have a full understanding of your responsibilities as a recruiter. By discussing what you believe to be the top 3 activities you will be doing in this role, you are showing the interviewer that you have an understanding of the job.
If you are currently working as a recruiter, discuss what you now take care of in your role, on a daily or weekly basis. If you are new to the recruitment world, lean on what you know from research and the job description or job posting. Here is an answer example: "The top three most important activities as a recruiter are to develop a solid candidate pool, created trusting client relationships, and dive into business development. These three tasks will ensure that I have a strong amount of job orders, enough candidates to quickly fill my positions, and a great reputation to build on." Here is an answer example: "From what I have read in the job posting, it's important that I spend a lot of time interviewing candidates, performing a variety of business development activities, and following up with my candidates. Documentation is also an important function, ensuring that my accounts remain up to date at all times."17. How do you properly vet potential new clients? Is it necessary to you to that your clients are ethical, or will you take any job order? Responsible recruiters and agencies will always vet their clients before agreeing to take on their job order. 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.com. If a client mentions they have burned through multiple recruitment firms, this is also another major red flag. Discuss with the interviewer your thoughts on ethical hiring and your process when it comes to onboarding new clients. Here is an answer example: "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 amount of turnover, bad mojo 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." Here is an answer example: "One of the reasons I am seeking a new opportunity is because my current agency will take on any client. It is very frustrating, and I am frequently asked to find candidates for roles that are highly undesirable. I look forward to joining a reputable recruitment firm who have the same values as I do. I want to be excited about the positions I am filling, and feel comfortable with every single client with which I collaborate."18. What does the term attrition mean, and what are the biggest causes of employee attrition rates? Attrition is the speed or rate at which something declines. In recruitment, you may hear the term 'employee attrition rates' from your clients now and again. What this means is that a company is losing staff due to natural reduction including resignation, retirement, or relocation.
Keep in mind; this term refers to natural reduction. Employee attrition rates would not include mass layoffs for instance. Discuss with the interviewer that you understand what attrition means, and what the primary causes of employee attrition are. The hiring authority is looking for your ability to recognize and understand your clients' pain points. Here is an answer example: "Employee attrition rates refer to the reduction of staff due to unforeseen or natural circumstances such as increasing retirement rates. I have helped many clients overcome attrition by working with them on proactive workforce planning. When a company sees where their employee attrition rates are going, they can act ahead and plan, rather than being reactionary." Here is an answer example: "I understand attrition to be referring to the loss or decline of something. Although I am not overly familiar, I think resignations and retirement would cause employee attrition rates. It's important that every company work hard to plan for a strong future workforce by hiring according to attritions rates and trends in data."19. What does the term personal branding mean to you? Are you satisfied with your personal brand? Personal branding has become a hot topic in the world of recruitment and job search. When you present candidates to your client, they will surely check out that person's online presence and overall public persona.
Do you guide your candidates to have a clean and concise brand, online? How about when it comes to yourself? The interviewer would like to see that you put into practice what you teach. Discuss the importance of personal branding, and how you feel about your brand as a recruiter, and as a job seeker. Here is an answer example: "Personal branding is a significant topic, especially with so many online platforms where a person's life can be on display. I guide my candidates to have a cohesive brand on LinkedIn and their website. I also encourage candidates to have a private Instagram and Facebook profile, keeping in line with a professional appearance. I have spent a good amount of time crafting my brand, and I am satisfied with my approach." Here is an answer example: "Personal branding is the practice of forming your 'brand' around your career and personal desires. I believe it's vital that there is never confusion from what a candidate says they want, to what they show online. For instance, it would be a good idea for an elementary school teacher to spend their time adding learning resources to their LinkedIn profile versus an open Instagram account filled with pictures of them partying. I am careful with my brand, ensuring that I give the same message to everyone who searches me online; whether that be a job seeker I am working with, my current boss, or a future employer."20. As a perm recruiter, which publications and resources do you turn to the most? There are a plethora of resources available to you as a recruiter. You could discuss any tools that your employer provides you, some that you found on your own, or ones 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. Here is an answer example: "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. I want to take time this year to expand my HR knowledge by attending a couple of basic HR courses. Do you have any further recommendations?" Here is an answer example: "I am just learning the recruitment industry but have found some helpful online resources including The Muse for career building advice, and Harvard Business Review for news and interest pieces on a variety of industries. I am always open to recommendations if you have some for me!"21. How do you use data and analytics in your recruitment process? As a recruiter, your clients will respond best to your recommendations if they link to data. Show the interviewer that you understand how to use analytics in your recruitment process correctly. If possible, give a specific example of a time when the use of data and analytics led to a successful placement. Here is an answer example: "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." Here is an answer example: "I will use data and analytics when it comes to benchmarking and helping my client to forecast their hiring needs. I also use analytics when taking on a new job order. I first calculate how many new applicants I will need to attract, how many of those I need to interview, and how many I have to send my client, to make a hire."22. Walk me through the types of placements you have made in your recruitment career. In which industries are most interested? Any industry can call for the assistance of a recruiter; however, certain industries are better known for regularly engaging recruiters. These include:
- Food & Restaurants
- IT & Software
- Office & Admin
- Engineering (all types)
Share with the interviewer what your specialties are, 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 firm you are interviewing for has a specific niche, be sure never to single yourself out or talk yourself out of the role. Here is an answer example: "Before becoming a recruiter, I worked in medical device sales. I have a solid reach into our state's medical network and also know how to spot an excellent sales candidate. I make fantastic placements in both the sales field for any industry or in the medical industry itself." Here is an answer example: "When I read in your job posting that you are looking for a recruiter with a specialty in accounting, I knew I had to apply. Before joining the world of recruitment, I was pursuing my accounting degree. I had two years completed towards my degree and then decided sales and recruitment was a better path for me. With that said, I have a lot of knowledge on accounting systems and terms, making me a perfect choice for this opportunity."23. How many permanent placements did you make last year? The hiring authority wants to gain an idea of the work volume you have handled in the past. If you made only three placements in a year, that means you are a slow recruiter, or you do not work in a fast-paced environment. The average recruiter will place around a dozen or more candidates per quarter or - nearly 50 per year. If you work for a boutique firm, that number may be less. Discuss with the interviewer how much work you are accustomed to doing, ensuring them that you are a high performer. Here is an answer example: "Last year, my goal was to place 35 candidates. I wanted to reach my stretch bonus and was able to achieve this by placing 42 candidates in total. It felt great! My average per quarter is around ten candidates." Here is an answer example: "I started working as a recruiter halfway through last year and made a total of 8 placements. I would have loved to see more, but I was training for much of that time. This year, my agency has set me a goal of 25 placements, which I am already on track to reach."24. Talk to me about your level of proficiency with LinkedIn Recruiter. LinkedIn Recruiter is a widely used online talent solution than many recruitment agencies utilize. To have a subscription is not a small cost for an agency, so the interviewer would like to know if you can fully use the platform, making it worthwhile. With LinkedIn Recruiter, you can easily search, connect with, and reach out to great candidates across the globe. The platform also acts as a candidate relationship management system, allowing you to prioritize better and track conversations with candidates. Here is an answer example: "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 a great new feature. I am very proficient in LinkedIn Recruiter and could even train newer recruiters if needed." Here is an answer example: "I was recently introduced to LinkedIn Recruiter, but have picked it up quite quickly. LinkedIn offers some great training material, and most of the features are quite intuitive. I look forward to digging into the program further, to help me find the best talent out there for my clients."25. How do you use social media and other online tools in your recruitment process? A great recruiter will have many tools at their fingertips, allowing them more speed in their research. The fastest acting 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 that you lean on resources other than yourself, to reach the finish line. Here is an answer example: "I am still shocked to hear that not every recruiter utilizes social media in their recruitment process. I begin with LinkedIn, using their Recruiter program. From there, I will also search for potential people to poach from Facebook and even Twitter. Other tools that I lean on regularly include our company's applicant tracking pool. I will also ask for referrals quite often, from candidates that I have worked with in the past." Here is an answer example: "It's important that I look at a candidate's social media profile, ensuring that I have the full story, before submitting their application to my client. Primarily, I use LinkedIn to search for new candidates. I also use LinkedIn to look at the profiles of the candidates I am entertaining. I like to look at their recommendations, connections, and ensure that their work timelines match what is on their resume. Other tools I use include Indeed and popular job search boards as well as our agency's talent portal. Do you have any recommendations for tools that you prefer using here?"26. What steps would you take if your newly placed candidate quit without notice? Temporary and permanent staffing recruiters both have to face the fact, more often than they'd like, that humans can be a touch flaky. As a recruiter, you will experience candidates who don't show up, quit their job without notice, or decide part way through their probation period that they want to leave their job in accounting and become a dolphin trainer (seriously- it's happened!).
The hiring authority wants to see that you handle these cases with grace and that you jump into action to immediately repair the situation for your client. Here is an answer example: "If a candidate quit without notice, I would hold an immediate meeting with my client. I would apologize profusely, discuss what went wrong, and then commit to a replacement within a suitable timeframe. Then, backfilling that position would be my priority. I would be sure to document the situation and never entertain that candidate for future roles." Here is an answer example: "I have encountered this situation only a couple of times. I understand that even though we do what we can as recruiters, to place reliable candidates, these situations will happen at times. If a candidate quit without notice, I would uncover what happened so that the situation did not repeat itself. Then, I would work with my client on a fast replacement. Apologizing is important, and assuring the client that it was an isolated incident is also essential. You don't want your client to lose faith in your judgment or selection abilities!"27. What is the most critical area of training for a new recruiter? New 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 a few! Discuss with the interviewer what you believe to be the essential skill for a new recruiter to possess. Then, express how strong you are in that particular area. If you are a more seasoned recruiter, talk about any experience you have in training new recruiters. Here is an answer example: "Fast and accurate research, in my opinion, is the best skill for a new 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, as well as new client opportunities. I am highly skilled in these areas and more than willing to train new recruiters on these topics." Here is an answer example: "If a recruiter cannot correctly navigate their company's ATS, they will miss out on great candidates who could be an excellent fit for their clients' position. When I receive a new job order the first thing that I do is perform a search within my existing talent pool. If I did not have applicant tracking system skills, I would miss out on filling client orders in time."28. How do you treat candidates not selected for the job? Walk me through your process. Recruiters speak to a lot of candidates in a day and often interview handfuls of people for one role. Show the interviewer that you treat your candidates with respect and that you are unafraid to be forthright with them when they don't get the job. The hiring authority wants to see that you have excellent coaching skills, and the ability to give helpful and actionable feedback to your candidates. Here is an answer example: "Part of being a successful recruiter is to gain and keep the respect of your talent pool. When I find out that a candidate was not selected, I will pick up the phone and call them. I tell them the news and ask them if they would like feedback. If they are open to feedback, I will have a 15-minute interview coaching session with them, helping them to prepare for their next shot. Then, I document everything that has happened. Next, I spend about 30 minutes uncovering new opportunities for that specific candidate. I like to shop great candidates to other clients and companies who may have an interest." Here is an answer example: "It is essential to me that I treat every candidate with care and respect. Even if they are not right for my clients' job, it does not mean that they won't be a fit for a similar role with a different client, a couple of days later. If a candidate loses out on the job, I call them right away. Nobody likes to be left hanging. Most of the time, they will ask why. If I have feedback from the client, I will provide it to the candidate. I try my best to have helpful and actionable advice readily available when I call."29. Talented recruiters are entrepreneurial. Give me an example of how you have embraced an entrepreneurial mindset. To be a successful recruiter you need to think like a business owner, a sales professional, a job seeker, and a hiring authority - all rolled into one! This multifaceted skill set requires you to be highly entrepreneurial in thought.
Some ways that you could embrace an entrepreneurial mindset is to look at challenges from all sides, all the time. A true entrepreneur will happily face challenges and learn from them. An entrepreneur will do a lot in their day, but also know how to provide value to their clients and candidates on a regular basis. Discuss the ways that you have embraced an entrepreneurial mindset in your recruitment career. Here is an answer example: "As any smart entrepreneur would do, I read a lot of books and keep myself educated on the challenges that a variety of industries are facing. I put myself in their shoes, and think of ways that I could add value and help through staffing. I never shy from a challenge, and always have the agency's bottom line in mind." Here is an answer example: "When I was in high school I started my own social media management business, helping my friends to extend their reach and build attractive Instagram profiles before University started. I monetized my skills and interest and was already then - showing signs of being entrepreneurial. In my role as a recruiter, I apply candidate and client attraction strategies by thinking how others would think, and learning about their industries, goals, and interests."30. As you accustomed to working in a bullpen environment or do you have a personal office? As a recruiter, you may hear the word 'bullpen' often. This word is slang for a workspace area filled with desks and no separating walls. Everyone works together in an open space. Think 'Wolf of Wallstreet.'
Because 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 style of office also makes it easier for managers to single out their recruiters who are not picking up the phone as hustling like the others.
If you are accustomed to this work environment, let the interviewer know. You should know before your interview what kind of workplace environment the interviewing company offers. If you are unsure, you can ask. If the agency's work style is right for you, then let them know you can thrive in that particular environment. Here is an answer example: "I have worked in both a bullpen office and a personal office. I feel they each have their pros and cons. I love the collaboration involved in a bullpen setup but also like the level to which I can concentrate, in the quieter environment of an individual office. Could you share with me which work environment you offer here at ABC Recruitment?" Here is an answer example: "In my current role, I work in a group setting or bullpen-style office. I find that my day goes so much faster in this highly collaborative environment, and I can more readily bounce ideas off of my fellow recruiters. I noticed that you have a bullpen office here at XYZ Recruitment. Rest assured I will adjust to this environment immediately."
Author of Permanent Staffing Recruiter Answers and Questions
Rachelle Enns is a job search expert, executive headhunter, career catalyst, and interview coach. Utilized by top talent from Fortune companies like Microsoft, General Electric, and Nestle, she helps professionals position themselves in today's competitive digital marketplace.
Rachelle founded Renovate My Resume and Executive Resume Solutions, two companies focused on helping job seekers get their edge back. She helps everyone from new graduates looking for their first placement, to CEO's who want more out of their career.
Rachelle coaches students to executives on how to master the toughest interview questions and how to handle the most bizarre interview situations; all with confidence and poise.
Rachelle trains other career coaches, recruiters, and resume writers, globally. A big part of her job is also spent coaching HR professionals on how to bring the human touch back into their interview and hiring process.
First written on: 01/08/2019 Last modified on: 01/20/2019
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