Updated on 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.
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How would you make an average candidate appear more attractive to a client?
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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.
"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."
Second Answer Example
"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."
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 temporary recruiter role?"
Second Answer Example
"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?"
When was the last time you contributed to a team effort and what was your role?
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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.
"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."
Second Answer Example
"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."
What could your current employer do for you that would have prevented you from looking for a job?
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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.
"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."
Second Answer Example
"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."
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 for many years, first as a car salesperson and now as a temp recruiter."
Second Answer Example
"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."
6. 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. Here is an answer example: "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." Here is an answer example: "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."7. 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. Here is an answer example: "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." Here is an answer example: "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."8. 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. Here is an answer example: "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." Here is an answer example: "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."9. 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. Here is an answer example: "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." Here is an answer example: "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."10. When have you had to shift your priorities in response to sudden changes? A great temporary staffing recruiter knows how to pivot from one task to the other, reacting well to sudden changes and urgent client needs. The interviewer would like to see how you handle those sudden shifts in priorities. Do you become uber-focused on the task at hand, or are you willing to drop what you are doing, and switch your focus? Discuss a time when you have been asked to change your priorities on a dime. Here is an answer example: "I am often working on one staffing project when a client will call and tell me that someone didn't show up, or their temp staff member called in sick last minute. In those circumstances, I then have to drop what I am doing to find an immediate replacement. Doing so requires my full attention and a lot of time on the phone. I can quickly adapt, and fully understand how to juggle priorities while simultaneously handling urgent matters." Here is an answer example: "Every time I have a contract employee no-show to their shift, I have to change the day's priorities. I will drop what I am doing, call in another temp or ask another temporary employee to work overtime to cover for the loss. I work in a very reactionary industry and can resist the stress related to change, quite well."11. How do you like to be recognized for your accomplishments? As a temporary staffing recruiter, there are many targets and goals to hit on a regular basis. It's a busy and fast-paced career choice, with a lot of wins along the way. The interviewer would like to know what motivates you to be an over-achiever in the workplace. We all want recognition in some way for our accomplishments in the workplace. Perhaps you enjoy surprise gifts, financial perks, public attention, kind words, added responsibilities, or title promotions. Share with the interviewer how you would like recognition for your hard work. Here is an answer example: "I feel best when I know how my hard work has positively impacted another person. In my current role, we will often perform online customer satisfaction surveys. If my name comes up in a positive review, I cannot help but grin from ear to ear." Here is an answer example: "I am a highly competitive person who is compensation driven. I like to recognition for my accomplishments through monetary bonus' or contests where the stakes are high. The more people I place in temp roles, the more I earn, which is very motivating."12. What is your current temp-to-hire ratio? Temp-to-hire, or often called contract-to-hire, is when a company takes on a temp employee to perform a role for about 3-6 months. If the temporary employee does well, the company will then make an offer of full-time employment. Often, in these cases, the staffing agency will credit the commission on hours billed and apply those funds spent, to the hiring company's final invoice. There is minimal risk for the employer when they hire this way.
Recruiters are often measured on their performance when it comes to their temp-to-hire ratio. The higher this number, the better they are matching employers with valuable candidates. Think of this as a 'successful match rate.' Tell the interviewer if you measure this metric in your current role, and why you believe your numbers rank how they do. Here is an answer example: "My temp-to-hire ratio is 28% with an expected standard of 20%. Many of my clients are warehouse and logistics related, so they go through temps quickly, especially the night shift folks. The majority of my temp-to-hire deals come from administration type of roles." Here is an answer example: "My agency does not measure my temp-to-hire ratio individually, but as a group. This year we are standing around a 35% temp-to-hire rate with a goal of 30%. I believe we have had twelve temporary employees convert to permanent hire, and I have been responsible for eight of those deals."13. 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. Here is an answer example: "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." Here is an answer example: "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."14. What do you believe to be the most significant change in recruitment this year? Recruitment is a fast-paced, ever-changing industry. Your approach will need to change with economic ebbs and flows, workforce legislation, and other trends related to human resources. Show the interviewer that you remain up to date on trends and changes in the recruitment world. Name the resources you utilize for your news and updates. If you would like the interview to have a more conversational tone, feel free to ask the interviewer what they think will be a significant change affecting their industry, this year. Here is an answer example: "I believe that virtual reality interview simulations are a game-changer for the interview process, especially when it comes to the fast-paced needs in temp recruitment. Virtual reality technology can help with skills assessment and response analysis, helping temp agencies to send more qualified and higher-quality candidates." Here is an answer example: "The eco-movement, along with significant changes in technology, I believe we will see a significant shift in video resumes, with a move away from paper versions. Keywording and SEO will still need important for applications such as LinkedIn profiles and personal websites; however, I feel that the traditional resume is on its way out for major corporations, in the next few years. With that said, small business will still rely on paper resumes for a long time, as they cannot afford the expensive VR technology."15. 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. Here is an answer example: "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." Here is an answer example: "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."16. Why would a client prefer to hire a temp over a permanent employee? There are a few primary reasons why a company would lean towards temporary placements over permanent hires. It may seem more expensive to have a temp, but the math will often make more sense to an organization. Some of the reasons include:
- Temp employees fill the gaps while companies mull over their hiring needs
- Companies have ideal staffing levels without the commitment of permanent employees
- Temp employees may not require paid vacation days, workers' compensation, or health insurance
- A staffing agency handles payroll, truancy, and other matters, saving a lot of time
- When a temp employee does well, you can hire them down the road, after they have proven themselves through excellent performance!
Discuss with the interviewer the reasons why you believe your clients prefer temp hires over permanent employees. What is the reasoning your clients use when putting in a job order with you? Here is an answer example: "From discussions with my clients, they prefer hiring temp employees when they have an increase in projects and work, but there is an end in sight. I have one logistics client for instance, who have a 1-year contract with Kraft. When the contract is over, they may not have it return. They need human resources to service their clients' needs; however, they do not need a long term employee commitment. We staff about 60% of their warehouse, taking care of payroll, temp employee issues, and more. This service saves them a ton of time and essential energy." Here is an answer example: "I have many clients who begin with a temp and then hire the person full time, once they prove 'fit' through performance. We call it temp-to-hire, and my conversion rate with one particular client is 67% which is remarkable. I believe this client feels safer in making hiring decisions this way. There is less risk of making a bad hire and dollars saved because they are not training the wrong people."17. 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. Here is an answer example: "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." Here is an answer example: "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."18. Which technology and tools you do lean on most often during your day? Recruiters have a plethora of tools at their disposal, and the interviewer would like to know which ones you take advantage of on a daily basis. Some of the most common tech and tools used by a temp recruiter include:
- Candidate relationship management software such as SmartRecruiters
- Headhunting tools like LinkedIn Navigator
- Premium subscriptions to job seeker boards such as Indeed
- Applicant tracking systems such as Bullhorn or Zoho
Speak about the technology and tools that you use most often. If the tools used by the hiring company are mention in their job description, be sure to bring up your experience with those! Here is an answer example: "I see that you use Bullhorn ATS here at ABC Agency. I was thrilled to read that in your job posting since I have spent the past four years using their applicant tracking system. The other tools that I use regularly include ZipRecruiter, Indeed, and JobScan." Here is an answer example: "In your job posting, you mentioned experience with Bullhorn as a bonus skill. I do have a couple of years with Zoho which has many similarities when it comes to applicant tracking and candidate management tools. I am on the phone a lot during the day, and also use a helpful SMS tool for texting my temp pool when a new job order opens."19. What is your most successful strategy in attracting new candidates for your clients' temporary positions? It's crucial for a temp recruiter to have a fresh pool of candidates, at all times. With technology today, and the internet at our fingertips, there are endless ways a temp recruiter can quickly attract new candidates to a job posting, ensuring a happy client with a filled position. Talk to the interviewer about the strategy that you rely on most often when it comes to being a talent magnet. Here is an answer example: "I have had to shift my strategy over the years and now, what is working best for me, is Twitter! I have started to post and hashtag new openings, generally with a #nyctempjob or whatever the initials are for the job location. These posts get shared, and lately, about 1/2 of my interviews and calls are coming from someone who saw my Tweet." Here is an answer example: "Currently, I attract new candidates by asking for referrals from my current temp pool. I find that referred candidates have been much stronger than blind applications, which is always a bonus when it comes to sending quality candidates to my clients."20. 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. Here is an answer example: "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." Here is an answer example: "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."21. Walk me through your process after receiving a new job order. The interviewer would like to know that you are well-organized and that you fully understand your responsibilities, as a temporary recruiter. If you have many years' experience in recruitment, this question should be simple for you to answer. If you are newer to your career in recruitment, think about the tasks mentioned in the company's job posting. Here is an answer example: "The first thing that I do after taking a new job order, is entering all of the details in our system. I scan our ATS for potential matches and start calling every candidate who is an 80% match or more. If I strike out there, I will post a job ad and then push it out by email and SMS to those in our system. Most of the time, these actions will result in a few great candidates who I will then bring in for an interview, hopefully, same-day." Here is an answer example: "Although this role would be my first temp recruitment job, I have gathered a solid understanding of the requirements after reading through your job description and performing online research. When a job order is received, the most important thing I can do is react quickly and start calling candidates who are already registered temps in the system. Then, I would move to a new candidate attraction strategy such as putting out a job posting online or cold calling job seekers from job boards such as Indeed."22. Tell me about your experience in terminations. As a temporary staffing recruiter, there will be times when a candidate does not do their job well, and your client asks you to replace them. Other circumstances may also arise where the temp employee performance is excellent, but their assignment is ending much earlier than expected. Show the interviewer that you can approach difficult conversations productively and professionally.
If you do not have experience with terminations, discuss how you believe they should be handled and have confidence in your ability to perform undesired tasks such as letting someone go. Here is an answer example: "In my six years as a temporary recruiter I have had to terminate dozens of people. The reasons may vary, but my approach is always the same. I let them know that they are appreciated, I discuss what went awry, what they could have done differently, and then I coach them if they are open to coaching. It's important that nobody is left hanging, or wondering what went wrong." Here is an answer example: "I have only needed to terminate one temporary employee at this point in my career; however, I am well trained in how to handle job eliminations properly. I am aware that as a temporary staffing recruiter I will need to handle a variety of situations like this in the future, and I feel ready and confident to do so."23. 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 temporary staffing 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 need for vacation coverage. 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. Here is an answer example: "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." Here is an answer example: "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 forklift driver, for instance. I would let them know that we have many talented female forklift drivers on our temp roster and that I would be happy to send them the most qualified person available."24. 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. Temporary 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 temp 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."25. 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 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." 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."26. 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. Here is an answer example: "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." Here is an answer example: "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."27. 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 take on more job orders from reviving 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 temporary staffing 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."28. Recruitment requires a lot of selling. Do you have any sales training? Most temporary 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 temp 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. 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!"29. What approach do you take when telling a candidate that they did not get the job? It isn't easy to pick up the phone and tell a job seeker that your client chose someone else for the assignment. However, this is a big part of your role as a temporary staffing recruiter. Show the interviewer that you can navigate situations such as this, and discuss how you go about letting an eager candidate down easy. If you can, turn this response into a short role-play. Here is an answer example: "When I need to tell a candidate that they did not get the job, I rip off the bandaid to not lead them on, but I do offer feedback if they want it. I will turn the call into a mini coaching session if the candidate is up for it! For instance, I would say, 'John, unfortunately, ABC client has decided to hire a different candidate for this forklift driver opportunity. They felt your background looked good; however, you could use further training on Raymond Reach. Please let me know once you have expanded your skill set to include this type of forklift, and I will happily submit your resume to this client again.' This method allows them to understand how to increase their chances in the future, and who wouldn't want that." Here is an answer example: "It is important to be straightforward and forthright when telling a candidate they did not get the job. Since I have such a high amount of interviews and client submissions, I need to make sure they all know where they stand, and what opportunities are not the best for them. First, I will call, rather than email. I have a script that I stick to while also adding in specifics related to their situation. I tell them why they did not get the job, and give two to three suggestion on what they could do to make their candidacy stronger in the future. My recommendations may include further training or even interview coaching. Most of the time, my temp candidates appreciate my candidness and always ask me to keep them in mind for future opportunities."30. When interviewing a temp candidate, what is the most important question you could ask? There are many excellent questions you could ask a temp candidate, but the bottom line is, you want to make sure they have an investment in this opportunity, are reliable, and trustworthy. One of the best questions you could ask a temporary candidate is if they are looking for a permanent opportunity down the road. If a temp employee's desire is to be hired on a full-time, permanent basis eventually, there's a great chance they will perform to the best of their ability. Tell the interviewer the most important question you ask in an interview and be prepared to discuss why this question matters. Here is an answer example: "When interviewing temporary candidates, one of the best questions I ask them is if they are ultimately looking for a permanent placement. I understand that some temps are university students and the answer will be no. I am talking about candidates who are well into their career. People who love to jump from temp job to temp job may have an unreliable lifestyle. I want to dig and make sure that the candidate will show up for my client and be someone I can rely on." Here is an answer example: "My favorite question is to ask a candidate is what they would do if they did not like their assignment. I ask them to walk me, step by step, what they should do if they no longer want to commit to their temp job. If they can tell me the proper action steps, I know that they understand their professional duty as a temp employee. If they tell me that they call just quit, I know they are not the right person for my talent pool."
Author of Temporary 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: 01/17/2019
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