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What questions to ask your recruiter before an interview

Posted on 25 May 2022

What questions to ask your recruiter before an interview

8-minute read

​If you opted to use a recruiter to support your job search, you should already know a lot about the open position (if they have done their job correctly!) before you applied or at the very latest before your interview takes place.

You will come across a variety of recruiters during your job search, some are very forthcoming with information to the point of overload, which might seem great at the beginning but it can be difficult to identify what is important and what is not. Others will only share knowledge based on the questions you ask, which can be frustrating if you forget something.

The sweet spot is those recruiters who identify what is uniquely important to you, offer that information first and then answer anything you require after.

This article will help you formulate questions you may wish to ask a recruiter ahead of your interview (or before you apply in some cases). That way, you can leave the meeting with a full understanding of not just the position, but key preparation topics as well.

You will likely already have questions important to you committed to memory. Therefore we suggest using this article to build upon those, allowing you to dig deeper into each opportunity, aiding your search in finding the right opportunity for you.


Q: What created the need for the position?

Knowing if the position is open due to growth, someone leaving or someone being fired will help you understand what you might be stepping into, of course there are more reasons than below but to give a little context what each could mean.

Growth = Prosperous time, but maybe a little chaotic.

Someone leaving = Potentially big shoes to fill.

Someone being fired = Potentially high standards or desperation to replace quickly.


Q: How long has the position been live?

Knowing how long the opportunity has been live for can give you an indication as to the expectations set by the interviewers.

A position open for six months or more is a big red flag, as it might indicate that the team have unrealistic expectations or cannot decide on what they actually want.

Likewise, a job being open for a few short days might mean that you are the ‘trial run’ applicant as they iron out exactly what they need.


Q: How quickly does the position need to be filled?

Knowing a timeline of the process, and more specifically when the company needs someone to start will help you prioritise your positions and maybe help speed up other companies you might have.

It will also help you evaluate if your timeframe matches theirs in both the process and possible start date, and if not, you can withdraw before getting too deep into the process.

Usually, you will hear ‘yesterday’, therefore ask ‘when is it business-critical that this role start’. This changes it from a light-hearted throwaway question to a serious one.


Q: How many applicants are interviewing for the same position?

Similar to knowing the timeframe, you will likely want to know the competition. If you are up against two people, it is a lot easier than say ten.

This will help you refocus your efforts on the right opportunities and allow you to not waste time on processes that might not go anywhere.


Q: How many openings are there for this role?

An extension to the above question, if there are ten other applicants competing for the same role, if there are multiple positions this could be okay.

Asking how many openings are there will help you truly understand if the high number of applicants is a real threat to your application.

Also, the higher the number of openings the more flexibility the organisation might show on the skill required compared to if they were hiring just one person.


Q: Who will I be interviewing with?

Every process is a little different so knowing who and how any people you are speaking to during an interview will help you prepare accordingly.

Make sure you get the full name, job title and any links to their social accounts to help you do your research ahead of time.


Q: How long have they worked in the company / that position for?

We also advise asking how long they have worked in the company and then more specifically in that position.

You will gather two core bits of information here. Firstly, how much they truly know about the company and if they can give an honest account of the business. Secondly, if they are a seasoned interviewer who will ask the right questions or a young interviewer who might try to flex their own knowledge to boost their ego.


Q: What type of questions should I expect in the interview (behavioural / technical)?

In an ideal world, you will get to see the actual questions ahead of time but this is not always possible, therefore at the very least you should be aware if the interview will be based on behavioural or technical questions.

This will help you prepare ahead of time, ensuring your focus is put in the right area.

Always ask what type of questions are asked, no harm in trying to find out!


Q: Is there a test I should prepare for?

If it is a technical round, make sure you know if it will be just technical questions or if you should prepare for a technical challenge.

Even if it is a whiteboard or talking through a challenge, you still want to prepare.


Q: What skills or experiences should I highlight in the interview?

The recruiter should know what the hiring manager desires in the right applicant, therefore asking them what skills and/or experiences you should highlight based on their experience with the hiring manager will help you formulate the right answers during the interview.

If you don’t ask this question, you might miss out on some very key topics during your preparation.


Q: What is the company’s culture actually like?

A job description will tell you what the HR team want you to know about the culture but a good recruiter will tell you what the culture is actually like from their perspective.

Remember this is just their perspective but knowing the environment a little more ahead of time will again help you prepare and formulate answers that will resonate more with the hiring manager, helping you stand out against the competition.


Q: Based on past interview rejection feedback, what is important to this specific hiring manager?

Although this one is last, it is one of the most important you can ask. Applicants before you were rejected for various reasons. Knowing these, especially if they were skills or culture-related can drastically help improve your chances of not making the same mistakes.

Don’t forget to dig as much as you can into this with your recruiter, spend the time preparing and hopefully learning from others mistakes.


These questions if asked and if answered from your recruiter will help improve your chances of successfully passing your interview process with any company. Knowing these answers will help you prioritise the right companies, whilst preparing correctly at each stage.

Add them to your list, and share the article with your network if you feel someone could learn from it as well.

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