10 Essential Questions to Ask Recruiters Before an Interview

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 19 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Recruiters are human resources professionals who help connect candidates with employers. They can help you find jobs that match your preferences and ensure that you get a satisfactory job offer. Knowing about different questions you can ask recruiters before an interview can help you learn more about a job opportunity and how to secure it. In this article, we discuss 10 questions to ask recruiters, why you might ask these questions and a guide on how to prepare for an interview.

10 essential questions to ask recruiters before an interview

Some essential questions to ask recruiters before an interview can be about career paths, work culture, salary expectations, job requirements and the hiring process. A recruiter may help candidates prepare for interviews, create their resumes, write tailored cover letters, conduct salary negotiations, solve employment issues, stay up to date with labour laws and share market and industry knowledge. Working with a recruiter allows you to get in touch with more potential job opportunities because they usually have wider connections than you do. Here is a list of 10 questions that you can consider asking the recruiters before an interview:

1. What are the responsibilities of the role?

Recruiters sometimes only tell you the job title and a brief summary of the role, so it's important to ask them for more details. Try to find out the core tasks of the job, so you can understand if you have any relevant experience or skills to succeed in the role. You can also ask if there are any prerequisite skills or educational qualifications for the post.

Related: Job Position vs. Job Title: Definitions and Differences

2. How long has the position been open?

This question can give you more valuable insights into the competitiveness of the job. If the position has been open for a while, this may imply the company has unrealistic expectations or offers below-average compensation. It may also mean the role isn't crucial to the organisation or the hiring process is very lengthy.

Related: Headhunting: Definition, Differences From Recruiting and Tips

3. What's the time frame for filling this job?

This is another question worth asking which gives insight on the urgency of the employer, which can give you a better picture of how long the hiring process could be, such as when they may reply after an interview. If a company urgently wants to fill the position, the hiring process may be quicker and they may follow-up shortly after an interview.

If the recruiter says that it may take some time, consider waiting longer before following up if an employer hasn't contacted you. Knowing the timeline of the hiring process can reduce the transition period between your existing and new job if your current employer requires a notice period for resignations.

4. Why is the position currently vacant?

You can ask this question to know more about the reasons behind a job vacancy. Positions may be vacant because previous employees quit, or the company is expanding their business. If the job is vacant because of a promotion, it's a good sign of upward mobility within the organisation. If the company is expanding, this can also indicate career advancement opportunities.

5. Why did the company not hire the other candidates?

If a company has advertised a job for a while, you can ask the recruiter why the company didn't hire other candidates. This question gives you a better understanding of an employer's specific requirements and expectations, which can allow you to better assess whether you fit the role. You may also learn tips on what to be mindful of when interviewing or writing your application materials. Previous candidates may have been missing a certain skill or failed a placement test. The recruiter may also give you hints on the personality of the hiring manager.

Related: Complete Guide to the Employee Recruitment Process

6. What's the turnover rate at this company?

Before considering applying for a job, you can enquire about the average turnover rate of a company. Businesses with a high turnover rate may indicate issues with the compensation or work environment. Companies with low turnover rates may imply high job satisfaction.

Related: What Is Staff Turnover? (Plus How to Improve Turnover Rates)

7. What's the company culture?

Recruiters often have in-depth knowledge about a company's operations. You could enquire about whether a company values work-life balance or encourages teamwork. If the company culture matches your values, you're likely to have higher job satisfaction. You can also compare your personal preferences to the company culture to see if this job is a good fit for your personality. A recruiter's insights into a company's culture and goals may also help you devise more interesting questions to ask during interviews to show your interest in the company.

Related: Why Is Company Culture Important? (With Interview Questions)

8. How long have you worked with the company?

This question because helps you consider the reliability of any information provided by a recruiter on a company. If the recruiter has worked with a company for many years, they may have a better understanding of the company's culture, hiring process and requirements. Working with a recruiter that has a long-term relationship with an employer can increase your chances of being hired by that company.

9. What skills or experience can I highlight in my CV?

Asking this question can help you tailor your CV to ensure that it catches the hiring manager's attention. Some recruiters mays assist candidates by proofreading application materials and giving constructive feedback. As recruiters regularly review applications, they often have valuable insights on how to highlight relevant qualifications. For example, they may suggest providing more details on certain work experiences or adjusting the formatting to be more concise.

10. What is the salary range for this position?

Before you accept a job interview, it's important to consider the compensation being offered. If the salary range is below your expectations, you can consider negotiating early or pursue other opportunities. Letting your required know when an offer isn't within your expectations can help them find opportunities that better match your needs. It's important to note additional benefits aside from the salary, such as annual leave, flexible working hours and year-end bonuses. An employer may compensate a lower salary with better benefits.

Related: How to Discuss Your Salary Expectations (With Example)

How to prepare for an interview

After talking with the recruiter, it may be time to practise for your interview. Preparing for an interview is crucial to securing job offers. Being better prepared before an interview can help you remain calm and confident. Here is a list of steps to help you:

1. Analyse the job description

You can start by reviewing the job description to note what qualifications the employer is looking for. Job descriptions can help you understand more about the employer and what questions an interviewer may ask. You can also come up with questions to ask the interviewer about any information provided or what the job posting didn't mention.

2. Review your qualification and goals

You can start reviewing the skills and experience you've included in your application materials and preparing in-depth examples and references you can use to answer questions or display your qualifications. Writing out all your qualifications and goals may also help you better articulate them during an interview. It's important that the information you give during an interview matches your application materials.

3. Research the company

If your recruiter shares minimal information on a company, consider conducting your own research. For example, you can look up their website to review their history, goals and products and read any press releases to understand what the company is currently doing. Researching a company can help you come up with questions to ask an interviewer for clarification on.

4. Review common interview questions

You can review some common interview questions to prepare answers beforehand. Some commonly asked interview questions include:

  • What are your strengthens and weaknesses?

  • Why do you think you're an ideal candidate for this position?

  • What challenges have you faced before and how did you overcome them?

5. Prepare questions for the interviewer

You may prepare one to two questions about the position and company before you attend the interview. Asking interviewer thoughtful question can show that you're well-prepared and have a thorough understanding of the position. Here are some sample questions:

  • What's a typical day like for a person in this position?

  • What's your favourite thing about working for this company?

  • I've really enjoyed learning about this role. What are the next steps in the hiring process?

6. Draft a follow-up email

Sending a follow-up email after an interview can help show your professionalism and gratitude. It's also a good opportunity to ask any questions you forgot to ask or follow-up questions about any information given during the interview. Drafting a follow-up email early can help remind you to send it after the interview.

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