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Temporary Staffing Recruiter Interview
Questions

30 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Updated January 17th, 2019 | 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
Temporary staffing can be highly frustrating at times. How do you cope with the fact that you are always putting out fires?
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How to Answer
Temporary staffing recruiters are always solving problems, and often these issues occur with no warning. Experience shows that temporary employees are not as reliable as professionals who seek permanent opportunities; however, this can also vary from industry to industry.

Many temps are university students who need the flexibility of choosing when they work. Others are people with a criminal background who cannot as easily land jobs through traditional hiring avenues. Many temporary employees are new immigrants who have yet to thoroughly learn the ropes when it comes to employment in their new country.

Discuss with the interviewer how you cope with working in a highly reactive job, where anything can happen in a day.
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Answer Examples
1.
Temporary staffing can be highly frustrating at times. How do you cope with the fact that you are always putting out fires?
Temporary staffing recruiters are always solving problems, and often these issues occur with no warning. Experience shows that temporary employees are not as reliable as professionals who seek permanent opportunities; however, this can also vary from industry to industry.

Many temps are university students who need the flexibility of choosing when they work. Others are people with a criminal background who cannot as easily land jobs through traditional hiring avenues. Many temporary employees are new immigrants who have yet to thoroughly learn the ropes when it comes to employment in their new country.

Discuss with the interviewer how you cope with working in a highly reactive job, where anything can happen in a day.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"Many days, my cell phone is ringing before I am even in the office. Often, its a client letting me know that their temp did not show up to work. Many of my temp placements are within warehousing roles, which traditionally show higher turnover rates already. These events can be frustrating, but so long as I remain organized, and have a pool of other temp workers in the pipeline, I can handle the issues swiftly."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Working as a temp recruiter is not for the faint of heart! With that said, I cope well because I love the fast pace and excitement that comes with making placements, finding new talent to add to the pool, getting bulk job orders from clients, and providing people with quality work opportunities. I feel accomplished nearly every day when I leave the office."
2.
Do you consider yourself a persuasive person?
The art of being an excellent communicator is also having the power of persuasion when necessary. There is a difference between persuasion and debating - or even convincing. Persuasion is used when you want to influence someone rather than tell them that they are wrong, and you are right.

As you know, recruiters are well-trained and highly persuasive professionals. The power of persuasion is essential if you are pitching a candidate to your client. It is also a helpful skill when you want to gain momentum with your coworkers or have your boss better understand your approach on a staffing project.

It is not a negative thing to be persuasive. Talk to the interviewer about whether or not you consider yourself to be a persuasive individual.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I can be persuasive when it comes to helping my clients to understand the logic, or reason, behind a decision that my company has made. It's important to lay out the intentions of any change and then express the importance of those changes."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Persuasion is a key skill of an effective recruiter, in my opinion. Have you ever read the book, 'Pre-Suasion,' by Robert Cialdini? He speaks of the science in persuasion and that there are significant moves to be made before ever asking someone to do something on your behalf. This book has greatly influenced how I use persuasion."
3.
How is your recruitment performance measured in your current role?
Recruitment is a competitive industry, and your role as a temp 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), your temp-to-hire ratio, and total temp hours billed. 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 temp 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 temp recruiters."
4.
What could your current employer do for you that would have prevented you from looking for a job?
A hiring authority at a recruitment firm will always dig deep to understand your motivation for seeking a new role. After all, staffing and hiring is their forte! Be prepared for challenging questions that will require a thoughtful response. If you regurgitate the same old 'work-life balance' nonsense that most job seekers offer up, you will likely lose to the competition.

There is a multitude of reasons why an employee would want to leave their current job, and the interviewer wants to know that they will not be the next place of employment that you quit. Can they meet your expectations? Talk to the interviewer about your reasons for moving on and what could have prevented you from starting your employment search. Be sure to avoid speaking negatively about your current employer.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"What prompted my search was a reduction in hours and a pending lay off in the fall due to lack of business. See, my current agency works only on trucking and transportation roles, so when the driver strike began, our job orders declined as well. I am satisfied with the majority of aspects when it comes to my current position, but it just isn't providing for me financially."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I would not say that I am looking solely because of something that my current employer is doing wrong. I have outgrown my role, and there is no opportunity for advancement in sight. I am passively seeking at this time and do want to make a move to a much larger organization, like yours, where opportunities for growth are more readily available."
5.
Name one thing you could improve in your process, as a temporary recruiter.
This question is another way of asking what your weaknesses are as a recruiter. You will want to discuss an area where you could use further clarification or training, without bringing up a point that would be detrimental to your candidacy. For instance, a recruiter should never say that they could work on their desire to make phone calls. Why? Because a temp recruiter spends most of their day 'smiling and dialing!' Discuss an area where you could improve your performance, and also respond with a solution to that weakness.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I often speak too quickly on the phone. It's out of complete excitement, of course, but sometimes it's a challenge for temp candidates to keep up and fully understand all of the job details. I am working on slowing down a bit. Recently, I started sending a follow-up email with the specifics of a position, so that the temp knows exact details, before committing to the gig."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"There is a lot of documentation in my current role as I am responsible for full cycle recruitment and placement. I will often leave my documentation for later than I should, and then I find myself staying late. I have set a reminder to do the documentation immediately after making a call, or when an email exchange takes place. This real-time documentation has been a beneficial addition to my daily processes and something I continue to improve."
6.
In which industry are you best versed, when it comes to temporary 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 temporary staffing needs include:

- Trades, Construction, Machine Operations
- Industrial & Warehousing
-Information Technology & Computer Science
- Administration & Accounting

There are significant temporary staffing needs in seasonal construction positions; maternity or paternity coverage, vacation time coverage, sabbaticals, or any work that requires a brief uptick in a company's workforce. Some accounting firms will hire accountants on a temporary basis, to help with tax season or to assist through an audit. Some warehouses will have peak seasons, for instance, if they are a 3PL for a retail chain that may have additional stock and merchandise needs around Christmas or Halloween (decorations and candy need to be warehoused and moved at rapid rates!). Discuss where your expertise is, within temporary staffing, but be sure to express your ability to make placements in any industry.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"In my current position, I focus solely on administration and accounting placements. With that said, I did spend about three years as an IT recruiter and about six months in our Industrial department. I am a well rounded temporary recruiter, and can take on any project your agency has for me."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"The bulk of my experience is in staffing for warehouse and industrial roles. I have a great deal of experience interviewing for forklift drivers, pickers, and short haul truck drivers. When I saw your ad for a temp recruiter with a specialty in this field, I knew I had to apply."
7.
Tell me about a time when you were unsuccessful in filling a job order. How did you handle the situation?
Temp recruiters work with tight deadlines, important client needs, unreliable candidates (at times!), and a variety of circumstances out of their control. In this high-pressure, fast-paced environment, the interviewer wants to know how you react when failures occur or you fall short. Nobody is perfect. Show the interviewer that you get back up and try again, never giving up in the face of perceived failure. The best temp recruiters have grit, and the interviewer wants to see that this is a characteristic you possess.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"Just last month I had a client give me 24 hours to fill ten warehouse picker openings. I was able to fill eight of the ten; however, the morning of their shift start, two of the temps did not show up. I was not thrilled with this 60% success rate; however, rather than becoming too discouraged, I picked up the phone and started calling. I had the four open spots filled by the end of the day and my client was thrilled."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I had an oil and gas client last year who needed a role filled with a highly specific skill set. I knew the job order would be a challenge to fill, but I underestimated just how difficult. It ended up being my longest 'order to placement' of the past three years, taking me nearly six weeks to fill. I worked very hard at that job order, combing resumes online, asking for referrals on LinkedIn, and cold calling. It was a grind; however, my client did end up hiring the temp candidate as a permanent employee after just three months."
8.
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 temporary staffing 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."
9.
How would you make an average candidate appear more attractive to a client?
As a temp recruiter, you will that find many qualified job seekers look plain terrible on paper. The interviewer would like to know what you do to make a candidate appear more enticing to a client, before sending their resume or profile. Discuss the steps that you take to repackage or coach a candidate, making them easier to place. Express your interest in helping people to find suitable jobs, while also touching on why it's important to represent your agency professionally.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I often see candidates who can be an excellent match for my client; 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."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Too often, I see highly skilled candidates being passed up for opportunities they are qualified to fill. Generally, this happens because the client, or potential employer, cannot see the fit. When presenting a candidate to my client, I will write a profile about them, highlighting the top skills that will benefit the employer, along with the candidates' most significant career wins. By pulling this valuable information out, it helps the client to see where the alignment is between their job description and the candidate's skill set."
10.
What questions do you have for me?
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?

Rachelle's Answer #1
"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 temporary recruiter role?"
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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?"
11.
When was the last time you contributed to a team effort and what was your role?
Sometimes a very last minute job order will come in, and you will have to collaborate with your teammates to fill the position in time. The interviewer would like further details on what you consider to be a substantial contribution when you are in a team setting.

Your example can come from a previous role or your current one. You can also draw on experience from your high school or post-secondary education if you are newer to your career. Volunteer experience is a great situation to bring an example from as well. Give the interviewer an idea of what you did to contribute, and be sure to mention any accolades you may have received for your excellent contribution.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I contribute to team efforts on a daily basis, as a bullpen manager. I hold a team huddle every morning, and outline expectations for the day, including my own. I want my team to know that I am also carrying the bulk of the work versus being the type of manager who barks out orders. I am the mentor, the encourager, and the pacesetter in team efforts."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Our admin temp team was struggling when it came to filling a specific land-administration gig for a client. I overheard their struggle and offered to jump in to assist since the energy sector is one of my greater strengths. They agreed to let me join their team for that particular project. It was great fun."
12.
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 for many years, first as a car salesperson and now as a temp 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."
13.
When a problem requires a quick solution, how do you respond?
When it comes to complex problem solving, decisions are not always readily reached. It takes practice, experience, and confidence to learn what sorts of decisions yield the best results. Walk the interviewer through your process when it comes to making quick decisions. Do you rely on past experiences? Perhaps you go with a gut feeling. Maybe you have read case studies that you lean on in these instances.

Problems that require you to act quickly can be emergencies where a temp does not show up to work, and your client is angry. Going with your gut is a skill, and the more you learn to trust your intuition, the easier it becomes to make these types of decisions. Demonstrate that you are confident and able to react swiftly when the need arises.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"In staffing, there are often split-second decisions to be made. Sometimes, I make these decisions after hours. On more than one occasion, I've received an evening phone call on my cell, from a candidate saying they won't be going back to their temp assignment. I have to remember the details of the particular job order and get creative with how to meet the customer's needs for the following morning. Due to the urgent and reactive nature of temporary staffing, I have to be comfortable making split-second decisions. Luckily, due to following my gut, I've been able to make speedy decisions in the best interest of the agency and our client."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Perhaps my fast-thinking skills come from my years as a parent, having to act immediately and put out fires! If a quick solution is required, I will do a fast overview of the facts and make a decision based on risk factors considering the potential financial loss and client satisfaction."
14.
Do you like being around people?
If you are interviewing with a very busy and successful agency, you will be talking to dozens of temp job candidates every day. This high level of people-based activity is why a temporary staffing recruiter needs to like people and can converse with people of all personality types and backgrounds. Share the kinds of people or situations that you enjoy. It's essential to maintain a positive angle when addressing this question.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I would consider myself an extrovert, and I do love working closely with a team, and a variety of personalities and candidates. The more I can interact with job seekers in a day, the better. You will rarely find me hiding in my office on the computer. I love to be on the phone and bringing new people in for interviews."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I am a people person, as are most recruiters. I enjoy having a great conversation with someone and getting to know them. The art of conversation is how I build wonderful rapport levels with my clients as well."
15.
Tell me about a time when you had to make a decision without all the information you needed.
The interviewer wants to hear more about your decision making and critical thinking skills. Many times, a client will call you with a new job order, without giving you all the details you feel you need. Maybe you take the job order but then realize that you forgot to ask how long the assignment will run for, or you didn't gain clarification on the tech skills the employer would prefer to see.

Keep your answer career based and discuss a decision you made where you may not have had all of the pertinent information. The interviewer would like to see that you can use logic to make a sound decision. Show the interviewer that you are capable and confident when it comes to independent thinking and decision making. Be sure to include the success you saw in your sound decision making.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"As a temporary staffing recruiter, ambiguity is a large part of my daily reality. I always do the best with the information I have to keep things moving. I often find myself making decisions wishing I had just a little bit more data. In these cases, I look at everything I have, create what-if scenarios for several variables and select the best possible option."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Often, our clients are vague on their needs because they don't fully know themselves what they seek. I have had to fill in the blanks many times. I always know my clients well so I am comfortable making executive decisions when they cannot."
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30 Temporary Staffing Recruiter Interview Questions
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Interview Questions
  1. Temporary staffing can be highly frustrating at times. How do you cope with the fact that you are always putting out fires?
  2. Do you consider yourself a persuasive person?
  3. How is your recruitment performance measured in your current role?
  4. What could your current employer do for you that would have prevented you from looking for a job?
  5. Name one thing you could improve in your process, as a temporary recruiter.
  6. In which industry are you best versed, when it comes to temporary staffing needs?
  7. Tell me about a time when you were unsuccessful in filling a job order. How did you handle the situation?
  8. Do you have experience using an ATS? Which applicant tracking systems do you know best?
  9. How would you make an average candidate appear more attractive to a client?
  10. What questions do you have for me?
  11. When was the last time you contributed to a team effort and what was your role?
  12. Are you comfortable being paid on a 100% commission basis?
  13. When a problem requires a quick solution, how do you respond?
  14. Do you like being around people?
  15. Tell me about a time when you had to make a decision without all the information you needed.
  16. When have you had to shift your priorities in response to sudden changes?
  17. How do you like to be recognized for your accomplishments?
  18. What is your current temp-to-hire ratio?
  19. What do you believe to be the most significant change in recruitment this year?
  20. Why would a client prefer to hire a temp over a permanent employee?
  21. Which technology and tools you do lean on most often during your day?
  22. What is your most successful strategy in attracting new candidates for your clients' temporary positions?
  23. Walk me through your process after receiving a new job order.
  24. Tell me about your experience in terminations.
  25. What would you do if a client asked something unethical of you?
  26. How do you maintain relationships with your clients?
  27. How often do you look for opportunities to approach potential new clients?
  28. Recruitment requires a lot of selling. Do you have any sales training?
  29. What approach do you take when telling a candidate that they did not get the job?
  30. When interviewing a temp candidate, what is the most important question you could ask?
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