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Permanent Staffing Recruiter Interview
Questions

30 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Updated July 5th, 2020 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Job Interviews     Careers     Business    
Question 1 of 30
How do you use social media and other online tools in your recruitment process?
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How to Answer
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.
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Answer Examples
1.
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"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."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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?"
2.
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I have taken a couple of 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 to an important new client. I built my confidence through these courses and am better at appealing to my clients' needs."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I have valuable on-the-job training related to cold calling and discovering a clients' need. I was the highest billing recruiter in my previous role, despite my lack of formal sales education. I also read many books on sales, relationship building, and leadership. These books have added significant value to my sales process. If you have recommendations on where to start, as far as online sales courses go, I would love some suggestions!"
3.
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"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."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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."
4.
Do you have experience guiding candidates through job offer negotiations?
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"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."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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!"
5.
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"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!"
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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."
6.
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"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."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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."
7.
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"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."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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!"
8.
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"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."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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."
9.
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"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."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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."
10.
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"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."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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."
11.
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"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?"
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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!"
12.
How is your recruitment performance measured in your current role?
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"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."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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."
13.
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"The top three most important activities as a recruiter are to develop a solid candidate pool, create 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."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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."
Anonymous Answer
"My top 3 most important activities as a recruiter are acting as the primary point of contact for clientele, generating client business and delivering on resumes and interviews, and delivering quality results for clients by matching the best person with the job."
Rachelle's Answer
Good! It seems you have a strong grasp of your core duties. Try adding in some detail regarding the volume of work you currently manage, as far as these duties go. I have provided a starter, below.
"My top 3 most important activities as a recruiter are to act as the primary point of contact for my list of 60 clients, generate new business in the form of at least four new clients per month...."
Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
14.
What would you do if a client asked something unethical of you?
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"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."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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."
15.
Are you comfortable being paid on a 100% commission basis?
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?

Rachelle's Answer #1
"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."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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."
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30 Permanent Staffing Recruiter Interview Questions
Win your next job by practicing from our question bank. We have thousands of questions and answers created by interview experts.
Interview Questions
  1. How do you use social media and other online tools in your recruitment process?
  2. Recruitment requires a lot of selling. Do you have any sales training?
  3. What does the term personal branding mean to you? Are you satisfied with your personal brand?
  4. Do you have experience guiding candidates through job offer negotiations?
  5. Tell me three details a recruiter should never include in a job posting.
  6. Do you have experience writing resumes, and coaching candidates on how to best present themselves to a client?
  7. What steps would you take if your newly placed candidate quit without notice?
  8. How do you help your clients to make sound hiring decisions?
  9. How many permanent placements did you make last year?
  10. Do you have experience using an ATS? Which applicant tracking systems do you know best?
  11. As a perm recruiter, which publications and resources do you turn to the most?
  12. How is your recruitment performance measured in your current role?
  13. What are your top 3 most important activities as a recruiter?
  14. What would you do if a client asked something unethical of you?
  15. Are you comfortable being paid on a 100% commission basis?
  16. What questions do you have for me?
  17. How do you maintain relationships with your clients?
  18. In which industry are you best versed, when it comes to permanent staffing needs?
  19. How often do you look for opportunities to approach potential new clients?
  20. When interviewing a candidate, what is the most important question you could ask?
  21. If you had a highly skilled candidate, but their appearance was terrible, would you present them to your client?
  22. 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?
  23. What does the term attrition mean, and what are the biggest causes of employee attrition rates?
  24. How do you use data and analytics in your recruitment process?
  25. Walk me through the types of placements you have made in your recruitment career. In which industries are most interested?
  26. Talk to me about your level of proficiency with LinkedIn Recruiter.
  27. What is the most critical area of training for a new recruiter?
  28. How do you treat candidates not selected for the job? Walk me through your process.
  29. Talented recruiters are entrepreneurial. Give me an example of how you have embraced an entrepreneurial mindset.
  30. Are you accustomed to working in a bullpen environment or do you have a personal office?
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