Q1. What is the most challenging aspect of working in recruitment?
This is a subjective thing and most recruiters will give you a different answer. Common answers will range from frustrating candidates to pernickety recruiters, or even too many candidates for too few jobs. Make sure that you describe why you would enjoy the challenging aspect of the job that you highlight, and any ways you can think of overcoming the challenges you may face.
Q2. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
Whether one is interviewing for a recruitment consultant position or other recruitment HR roles, this is a basic question that comes up almost all of the time. Companies want to hire individuals that offer a good fit with their ethos, so be sure to develop a reasonable understanding of what the business is and what it’s values are before going to interview.
It is essential that job candidates answer it truthfully but keep the responses concise, on topic and full of relevant information. This is the perfect time to sum up any and all educational and employment experience in just a few sentences. Continue with a few more sentences about personal passions that are relevant to the position at hand. Don’t bother including any irrelevant personal information when answering this question.
Q3. What experiences you have had during your academic career that will benefit you for a career in recruitment?
This is a typical question which you will be asked when applying for a role that does not fit in directly with your academic career. The best way to approach a question like this is to highlight skills that you have gained that the employer will be interested in. Good ones for this role would be good communication skills, analytical skills, writing skills and presentation skills, all of which are transferable from many degree subjects.
Q4. Why are you interested in working for this company?
This question may be phrased in different ways, so be prepared. Businesses are not interested in individuals that simply want a pay cheque – they want team members that will contribute in a positive way. It goes without saying that this is most easily achieved when candidates have a genuine interest in the work.
In preparation for a job interview, one should always conduct research on the company in advance. When this question comes up, it is a great opportunity to focus on a fact about the company that is of particular interest.
Use this fact as a reason for wanting to work with this company and be sure to detail any relevant experience, skills, and interests within the response. For individuals looking for trainee recruitment consultant positions or HR assistant roles, a healthy interest in the dynamics of the company would be considered an essential part of the hiring criteria anyway – so turn up prepared.
Q5. Have you had any experience in sales?
Not all roles in the recruitment sector will involve selling directly but most roles will require selling skills and indeed involve some form of selling. Many candidates will not have any experience in selling. If this is your then is will be a good idea to give an example when you have been in front of clients and have needed to use effective communication, have been particularly persuasive or have secured a deal or job due to good communication skills .
Q6. What is your greatest strength?
This is a great question and allows hiring managers to get a feel for the talents, strengths, and skills a potential employee has. The response to this question tells the hiring manager what will make a candidate a great addition to the team, so a well-thought out answer is an absolute must.
Thrive under pressure? Then let them know. Brilliant problem solver? Include that. This is a chance to shine, but remember to have plenty of examples to back up the claims.
Q7. People often categorise recruitment with sales. What do you think about this?
At some companies, recruitment consultants and sales consultants are grouped together. There is a great deal of overlap in terms of the people that are desired. Both sales and recruitment offer a target-based and fast-paced working environment, and involve: client interaction, cold calling, fast progression and huge financial reward. Despite these similarities, they are two distinct industries, and an interviewer will expect you to understand and articulate this.
You should understand that as a recruitment consultant, you will sell your services to clients. This will involve a lot of cold calling, and a lot of rejection. You’ll be selling opportunities and roles to candidates and even selling candidates back to clients.
Recruitment is more personable and more consultancy embedded than sales. It is ‘individual’-driven rather than product-driven. Ensure you understand the key differences, and can explain why you have chosen recruitment over sales.
Q8. What is your greatest weakness?
Most interviewees actually dread this question, and rightly so. Potential employers are well aware of the fact that job candidates are people; so knowing their faults allows them to get a bigger picture of that person. When answering this question, it is easy to draw a lot of negative attention to oneself. Avoid that by providing a positive but honest answer.
Think carefully about this question. Everyone has a weakness, whether it is focusing too much on the details or always saying yes or prioritising smaller work projects. The best response should include a small, work-related flaw that won’t mean that the interviewer’s interest is terminated there and then. Be sure to include the efforts made to manage this ‘fault’ and turn it into something positive.
Q9. Give me an example of how you tried to persuade someone in a situation, but failed.
In your answer to this question, mention the situation, but be sure to demonstrate that you are thick-skinned, and that this failure did not set you back. In recruitment, you will face a great deal of rejection, in both business development efforts, and when trying to persuade a candidate to pursue a career that would fit their career motivations and skills. For example, even when a candidate is perfect for a recruitment role on paper, their misconceptions about the industry, made so by corner-cutting and rogue recruiters, often mean they don’t want even hear you out. It is this reason you should focus on the recovery, rather than the failure itself.
Q10. Why should I hire you?
This may seem like a trick question to many job candidates, but it really tells the potential employer what sets this person apart from the rest. This question may be difficult to practise ahead of time, as often the response is best phrased based on the flow of the interview itself. Listen and learn throughout, then use that information to ask the interviewing manager what they are looking for and play to that response in a relevant and honest way.
Q11. What is your recruitment strategy?
Make sure that you draw upon hitting KPIs and targets, making lots of calls, and being thorough in your research, telephone-screening, and admin. Being successful in recruitment all boils down to attitude and work ethic; the company will want to know that you take the role seriously, and don’t just cut corners to make money. If you can find out how this company operates, then you can give an answer that references their practices.
Q12. How does the CV review process work?
The main reason businesses use recruitment consultants is to save time and money on selecting job candidates. Busy managers don’t want to be inundated with resumes and applications, but they still want to know how the whole process will work. Clients will not only want to know how a recruiter will handle the selection process, but they will also want to know how many CVs to expect, what sort of information they will receive, and what sort of timeframe in which this will occur.
Q13. Sell me this animal.
Ask plenty of open questions to establish what animal attributes the interviewer likes – sell to them based on their answers. If the interviewer says “I love fluffy animals,” for example, then really try to emphasise how ‘fluffy’ the animal is.
Q14. What does this type of service cost?
How much a recruiter or recruitment firm charges will always be on the short list of things clients will want to know. After all, businesses must keep an eye on their budget and watch their bottom line! There are two typical ways that recruitment agencies charge for their services – a retainer or a percentage fee.
The latter is based on starting salary of the candidate and is payable once the candidate is recruited while a retainer is more like a flat fee for their services up front with a remaining balance paid at a later date. Successful recruiters always provide clear pricing schemes to their clients.
Q15. What is the biggest challenge facing recruiters today in the global market?
Your research into the recruitment industry should have provided you with a few answers for this question. Make sure that you mention the competitive and fast-paced nature of recruitment, which makes responding to new techniques and beating competition even more difficult. Also, for contingency recruiters, if they can’t get placements for their clients, they don’t get a fee.
Q16. Does the cost change if an employee leaves?
Because pricing is often based on whether or not a particular candidate gets hired, many clients will want to know if a new employee leaves the company shortly after they are brought on board. It is very important for a recruiter to have this policy laid out as clearly as possible upfront so that there is no question later on. Most recruiting agencies offer rebates for such situations, based on a sliding scale, depending on the length of employment.
Q17. Why do you want to be a recruitment consultant?
Money needs to be a motivator for you, so ensure that you say so, and have evidence to back up this claim. As a recruitment consultant, commission, or prizes for high performance, will be the main ways that you are incentivised – if you aren’t motivated by money, then recruitment is not the career for you.
Q18. What about candidate referencing?
Today, checking references is a big part of the hiring process, but it is incredibly time-consuming. Many clients will want recruiters to do this legwork for them – but not all recruiting agencies provide this service. If the client doesn’t ask about this, it may be worth mentioning during the first conversation to gauge their expectations.
Q19. How would you construct your day as a recruiter?
In recruitment, it is essential to keep on top of things; an organisation needs to know that you can keep yourself organised. Many recruiters block out specific times of the day for certain tasks, such as tackling their inbox, resourcing a role, writing a job specification, business development, or admin catch-up. Refer to previous ways of organising yourself (university, college, work experience), and explain how and why you would operate as a recruiter.
Q20. Have you ever placed candidates into similar roles?
Some recruiters specialise in certain industries and sectors while others put their focus in more general terms. Clients need to be confident that the recruiters they have hired can get the job done and find the right kind of applicants. Customer testimonials and examples go a long way when clients ask this question.
While these questions may not be asked in every interview, variations of them inevitably will. Rehearsing responses prior to the interview can help reduce nerves and help a job candidate sound more confident during the process.