Questions and answers for an interview with a recruiter and a hiring manager

By YuwebDesign

Сareer Related Questions

Version of: “Tell me about the events that led you to the *** profession.”

This question sheds light
on what drives a candidate to succeed as a ***
and how their motivations can positively impact the role.

What to look for in an answer:

  1. Past experiences
  2. Consideration put into the decision
  3. How their motivations can help bring success

“In college, I interned at Company XYZ.

I was fortunate enough to interact with a positive, motivated group
who was proud of their work.

I realized the impact
that truly enjoying a career and workplace
has on a person’s life.

I’ve always been successful at encouraging and helping others,
and I knew the perfect way to combine my passion for service
and the belief that a person should find value
in their career was to become a ***.”

When a *** is truly passionate about what they do,
they are growing more excited about the product.

Get to the root of why you got into the business.

While there are few wrong answers here,
*** who are only in it for the paycheck
or who don’t really have a favorite part of the job
may not bring much passion or enthusiasm to the role.

This helps gain deeper insight into candidates’ motivation for their work.

Their answers can help gauge
where their interests may align within the scope of the open position,
in terms of the immediate needs of the role,
and how their strengths can prove effective over the long term.

Workaholics are not likely to be the best employees.

Rather, people who can achieve a good work-life balance
tend to have the approach of working smart, not hard.

Talk about different aspects of their lives,
such as hobbies and interest,
to show that you can effectively manage your professional and personal life.

Version: “What publications do you read to stay atop the *** industry?”
With constantly evolving trends in the profession,
knowing that a candidate stays up-to-date
helps determine their drive and desire to adapt.

*** is an ever-changing industry
that requires constant adoption of new tools and techniques.

Top *** can adapt to those changes quickly
because they spend time each day
staying informed about the industry they work in.

A good follow-up question: “What recent industry developments they find interesting.”

This not only shows how plugged in you are to industry news,
but also allows to demonstrate your perspectives
on innovative new recruiting concepts and trends.

What to look for in an answer:

  1. Interest in recruiting
  2. Knowledge of current trends and events
  3. Desire to learn and grow

“As a ***, staying current with trends
means extending myself to learn all that I can
to improve my techniques and the *** experience.

I subscribe to several resources, including Website ***.

Recently, I discovered new approaches I can take to ***,
e.g., re-evaluating my ***.”

Leveraging metrics and data
helps measure how current methods
are helping – or hurting – a candidate’s *** efforts.

Determining if a candidate utilizes data
lets you know how serious they are about increasing efficiencies
and generating success as a ***.

What to look for in an answer:

  1. Whether candidate currently uses metrics
  2. Understanding of key metrics
  3. How the candidate has previously used results to improve processes

“Utilizing metrics, like ***,
has greatly increased my efficiencies as a ***.

At a previous company, I encouraged the *** department
to increase the frequency in which they measured metrics,
from annually to quarterly.

In analyzing results, I discovered that 40% of the *** process
was spent in the *** review stage.

I initiated *** to help guide the *** through the process.”

Your Strengths and Impact on a Company

Version of “Tell me about your strengths”,
“Tell me how you’ve used the strengths and skills that make you a strong candidate”,
“Tell about the combination of your skills, knowledge, and experience that would cause you to hire yourself.”

Are you money-motivated?
Do you thrive in a fast-paced environment?
Can you multitask?
This question gives you an opportunity to show that you are all of those things—and more.

Emphasize your ability to multitask even in a hectic setting.

Talk about how you build relationships and are a quick learner.

And don’t just say what you are, show them.

Speak eloquently and confidently to prove to the recruiter that these are among your many, many strengths.

This question determines
how well the candidate identifies areas to improve
and how proactive they are in initiating change as a ***.

What to look for in an answer:

  1. Ability to reflect
  2. Desire to improve
  3. Flexibility

“My career as a *** has changed quite a bit over the years.

The biggest change being the impact
that a strong online presence plays in *** (e.g., attracting top talent).

Recently, I evaluated the effectiveness of my company’s brand
on web and mobile outlets.

I determined that the information
and overall look and feel of the brand
was lacking and dated.

I helped develop a strategy
to modernize and make the information relevant,
as well as ensure mobile responsiveness.”

Soft Skills

Building and nurturing relationships
is a key component in the career of a ***.

This question lets you know how and why
a candidate uses communication to develop relationships.

What to look for in an answer:

  1. Communication skills
  2. Respect for others
  3. Ability to connect

Example: “In knowing how unnerving navigating a job search can be for a candidate, I make it a point to be available whenever possible. Deliberately ignoring a phone call or making a candidate wait unnecessarily prolongs the hiring process, creates a relationship gap between the recruiter and candidate and decreases the candidate’s confidence. When I connect with a candidate, I listen carefully, respond attentively and remain positive, even if I find myself delivering a rejection phone call, a call no recruiter enjoys making.”

Maintaining positive relations with *** preserves a collaborative environment.
This question determines how a candidate addresses the needs of ***.

What to look for in an answer:

  1. Resourcefulness
  2. Ability to collect and present thoughts
  3. Use of data to backup performance

“Encouraging and maintaining an open line of communication
is one of my best defenses in ensuring ***.

When working with one particular ***,
I remained data-driven in my approach.

I presented metrics
that showed the company was actually performing above the market average,
and offered a solution to increase ***,
which did have room for improvement.”

A good *** adapts well to rejection.
How they react will show
if they are able to remain calm
and handle disappointment with grace,
along with how they bounce back.

What to look for in an answer:

  1. Stability
  2. Resilience
  3. How they learn from such an experience

“I was particularly excited about ***.
Everyone had been responsive and enthusiastic,
and I was sure they would accept my ***.

When they turned it down,
I extended genuine thanks
and encouraged them to stay connected
and reach out to me any time.”

You can expand on this further
by asking about a disagreement with a superior and/or a colleague.

This question gives hiring managers insight
into how candidates handle conflict at work.

Are they naturally confrontational, quiet and secretly stewing
or balanced when it comes to conflict?

If they cannot give an example, they may be hiding something.

A hiring manager is looking for candidates to describe
how they’ve done this in the past
and how building a network helped them be successful.

They are also looking for creative or unique ways
they’ve thought outside the box
in order to get introduced to new contacts
or reach their goals.

How they answer this question allows to understand their communication skills,
as well as their ability to build rapport
and long-term relationships with others.

Version: “Tell me about your experiences with LinkedIn (etc.) when it worked well for you and when it did not.”

It’s essential to have a strong LinkedIn profile,
as this can make or break a first impression.

Incomplete information and missing pictures are red flags.

Beyond that, you’ll ideally use LinkedIn
as a way to share content, join groups,
and participate in conversations.

This shows that you understand the importance of a compelling personal brand.

The same goes for Twitter.

While a candidate with little-to-no professional social media presence
outside of LinkedIn shouldn’t necessarily be disqualified,
it’s worth paying attention to those that really get social media
and use it to their full advantage.

Cultural Fit

Ability to Deal with Adversity and Problem Solving

The answer to this question
can tell hiring managers a lot
about the type of culture that candidates respond well to,
as well as how they’re motivated to work.

Asking this question
helps hiring managers understand
the level of responsibility that candidates are comfortable with,
and will ultimately allow them to determine
if their management style matches candidate expectations.

Answers to these questions are very telling about candidates’ motivation,
personality and potential cultural fit.

If the job they least liked has similar qualities
as the job they’re being interviewed for,
then they’re probably not going to be a good fit
and likely won’t stick around for long.

Very few applicants indicate their salary requirements on the front end
for fear that they’ll overprice themselves and be ruled out.

But, if possible, I try to at least get a salary range.
This way, if you are way over the company’s budget,
you don’t waste your time or theirs.

Version of: “Give me an example of other opportunities you are considering and where you stand in their hiring process.”

Not always, but oftentimes,
if a candidate is interviewing with a company,
they are also interviewing elsewhere.

Finding out what other positions candidates are interviewing for
provides a hiring manager some additional insight.
Are the roles they’re applying for similar or completely different?

A follow-up question asking
what the candidate likes about the other positions
they are interviewing for
can be revealing as well.

Candidates’ responses can help to understand more
about what they’re truly looking for in a new position
and may help you determine
if this particular position matches their career goals.

This question is a variation of
“Why should I consider you for this role?”

However, it is usually so unexpected
that the responses are pretty telling.

Hiring manager can quickly see
what candidates value in their own experiences
and gain a little more insight.

The candidate’s responses
can tell a lot about their current work situation
and the likelihood that they will accept a new offer.

This question even provides insight
into the possibility of a counter offer
from their current employer.

It also opens the door for candidates
to detail their goals and career aspirations.

Are they looking for management opportunities?
Are they seeking training?

This broad, open-ended question
helps to gauge the candidates’ motivation
for seeking a new position.

Each person is motivated by different things – money, work-life balance, new technology, etc.

It’s imperative to determine their motivators,
not to waste time selling aspects of the job
that applicants don’t care about.

Version of “Give me examples of the circumstances that cause you to consider leaving your current company.”
Finding out why someone left their last role
tells a lot about the person’s work performance and expectations.

Red flags can already begin to emerge during this conversation,
and it may help lead to more probing questions.

E.g, if a candidate is looking for growth opportunities
but hasn’t sought project work or an increased workload in his or her current role,
it may signal an unwillingness to work for a promotion while still expecting it.

Candidates’ answers tell a lot
about their follow-through on commitments
and dedication to their jobs.
Give specifics in your responses.

Dedicated, committed employees
will be able to speak to their efforts
to ensure they do a good job in their roles.

They will speak to prioritizing tasks and managing their time.

Version: “Give me an example of *** (action) you made that affected the bottom line of the business.”

A fairly standard question and for a good reason.

Employees who are driven to take action
and feel confident in introducing their ideas
are more likely to come up with new and better ways of doing things.

Show a time when you pioneered a positive change
that helped improve efficiency and results.

This helps to identify self-starters
who are willing to go the extra mile
to improve productivity not only for themselves
but also for the entire team.

Version of: “Can you talk about a time when you reached your goal?”,
“What’s your biggest achievement?”

Productive employees are often results-driven,
show how you achieved outcomes.

Talk about tangible outcomes as a result of your hard work.

It shows that you are likely to have your eyes on the prize,
make a plan to achieve your goals,
and use your time productively
to create meaningful results.

It is a common interview question for a good reason.
It shows a candidate’s productivity.

Show you have a clear structure to your days.
People who have a set of routines and processes in place
tend to be the most productive.

E.g., employees who spend the first 10-20 minutes of their morning
planning out their days and prioritizing their tasks
are more likely to focus on the highest-value activities during their workday.
Even better if you routinely do this the night before the following workday.

Moreover, productive employees don’t just do busy work,
they focus their time and efforts on critical tasks
and have the ability to prioritize them autonomously.

We’re inundated with notifications
from our smartphones and alerts on our desktops.

Add multiple conversations happening across the room,
plus all the email threads and Slack messages,
and no wonder it’s hard to stay focused on tasks.

Workplace distractions are the biggest productivity killer,
and employees need to develop effective techniques to help them focus.

Whether it’s

  1. working in 90-minute blocks,
  2. tackling one task at a time,
  3. or making a conscious effort to avoid office chatter,

the most productive employees use their time intentionally
to focus on what matters most.

To that end, candidates who do time blocking
are often more apt to be productive.

It’s often overlooked,
but being in a bad mood can lower productivity.

In fact, anxiety and depression
can lead to lower cognitive performance
and limit the ability to think creatively.

While it’s human to feel down once in a while,
being stuck in a rut for too long
will not only affect people’s productivity
but also impact those around them.

Understandably, it’s not always easy to stay in a positive mood.

The right coping strategies can help employees minimize
the impact of mood fluctuations on their productivity.

These can include

  1. eating a mood-boosting snack,
  2. adding physical movements to the day,
  3. taking a power nap,
  4. or incorporating regular breaks

to help stay focused.

Questions to Ask a Recruiter

Is this a retained search, or are you collecting resumes for your database? If it’s a retained search, it’s serious. If they are collecting resumes, it’s up to you whether to share, just don’t expect too much from the interaction.

You can decide whether or not you want to donate your time
to populate the recruiting firm’s database,
if there is no actual, relevant job opening for you to explore right now.

It’s nice to know
if a position was previously held by somebody else
or if it was newly created within the organization,
so this is one of the best questions to ask a recruiter.

There’s no right or wrong answer to listen for here,
but knowing this type of information
is helpful in understanding the big picture.

If this is a backfill,
you can follow up by asking
what happened to the person that previously held the job.

Maybe they were promoted, left the company, transitioned into a new group, etc.

This is a great question to ask recruiters
because it will give you a sense of how the search has been going,
how many candidates are in the company’s pipeline, etc.

If a position has been open for a year, this is usually a red flag.
It’s tipping you off to the fact
that the hiring manager is either extremely picky,
or nobody wants the job.

It could also mean that the hiring manager
doesn’t really know what they are looking for
and keeps changing the requirements.

At the same time
if a position has only been open for one week,
you can expect a delay in the hiring process even
if you interview right away.

Hiring managers usually like to see
two or three candidates face to face
before making an offer.

This is an essential question to ask recruiters
because the hiring manager
might not tell you this information later in the process.

This can help identify some potential mistakes
that candidates have exhibited,
whether it’s on a resume or during an interview.

What can you tell me about the role?
What kinds of skills are they looking for?

This information should be used to assess
whether or not the job will be a good fit for you.

If you decide it’s potentially a good fit,
use the information provided
to customize a resume before sending it
(if you haven’t submitted a resume already).

You should also use this information
to prepare some talking points or questions before your interview.

You can look up the recruiter’s LinkedIn profile
while you are chatting by phone.

Read their profile to get a feel for the recruiter’s experience,
subject-matter expertise and credibility.

Listen to find out
if they have substantial experience as a recruiter,
and in this industry.

Or are they new and relatively inexperienced
and therefore less knowledgeable
and less likely to get you hired.

Not only will you interview with this person,
but you also might report directly to them
(it’s a good idea to ask specifically whether the hiring manager
is also the person you’ll be reporting to).

It’s helpful to know what type of technical background the hiring manager has,
as well as information about his/her history within the company.

This information will be helpful
when speaking with the hiring manager
later in the interview process.

The best recruiters
will have a direct line of communication
with the hiring manager.

They talk frequently
and work closely together
on the hiring process.

This isn’t 100% required,
and you’ll find some good recruiters out there
that work more with a company’s HR department.

It depends a bit on the type and level of job you’re pursuing,
but this is still worth asking and finding out.

Asking recruiters this question
will tell you even more information
about how closely they work with this company,
and therefore how much they can influence the process
and help you get the job!

You’ll want to listen for clues
about how often, and how they communicate.

E.g, do they have the hiring manager on instant messenger?
Or do they exchange one email per month and barely know each other?

This will tell you more
about whether the hiring company trusts this recruiter
and is likely to hire from them.

You want to determine whether the headhunter who calls you
has a real relationship with the client,
or is just tossing resumes at the employer
and hoping they’ll become a client
by hiring one of the recruiter’s candidates.

Professional recruiters will tell you what the job pays.

You don’t want to seem like you only care about salary in a first conversation, but you also don’t want to waste your time if the position would be a step down in pay, either.

This is a very casual, non-threatening way to ask.
It sounds better than saying, “What does the position pay?”

I’d never recommend asking that in a first conversation.

One other good option is to offer them some information about your recent pay and see how they react.

For example, you could say, “My most recent base salary was $X, and I’m hoping to receive an increase in my next role. Does that fit into the range that’s been set for this role?”

They might say “yes,” which is great… or they might say, “no” and save you some time.

They might also say “no” but mention that there’s a more senior-level position that could pay better.

Overall the choice is yours – you don’t NEED to tell them your salary, and a lot of people feel this is private info. But it’s just one option available to you, to help you quickly figure out if this job is worth pursuing.

Sources: indeed.com, linkedin.com, forbes.com, insperity.com, www.ere.net, careersidekick.com

Leave a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *