Being ready to answer common recruiter interview questions is crucial if you want a position in this industry. And while some of the questions might seem straightforward at first, there can be many layers to them!
This list of questions will help you prepare so you can leave a lasting impression on the interviewer.
1. What does someone need to do in order to have a successful career as a recruiter?
Recruiting is a complex job requiring you to utilize many unique skills. With this question, employers aim to learn what traits you believe are most crucial to your success in talent acquisition.
Your answer sheds light on your experience in the field and general knowledge of the recruitment industry. Furthermore, it highlights what skills you value most. How you respond gives hiring managers a better idea of what to expect from you.
The best approach to this question is to focus on your strengths. Explain what skills you use most and emphasize how they help you excel in this profession.
2. What’s your process for checking references that a candidate provides?
A big part of your job as a recruiter is to check the references a candidate provides. Hiring managers use this question to learn more about how you approach your work and stay organized. You may have a large pool of candidates with multiple references each.
It’s a significant amount of work, and employers want to know that you can do it efficiently.
The best way to answer is to provide a methodical approach detailing every step you take. Explain what you do. For example, you might ask for contact information for every supervisor a candidate’s had in the last five years, send copies of their resume to each one for verification, and take steps to gather more information about a potential hire.
3. Tell me a little about yourself.
Here’s a question you can always expect to hear in a job interview. Employers want to learn more about the people they bring into the company, and this is your chance to leave a lasting impression.
When responding, keep your answer relatively brief. However, you still need to show what makes you unique.
Detail how you got into this industry, what you’re doing now, and where you want to go. For extra points, tie your response to the position. Explain how landing this job will help you meet your career goals plus the problems you’ll solve for the organization.
4. How do you use data during your recruiting process?
Recruiting in the modern era involves more than reaching out to potential candidates. Successful recruiters leverage data to their advantage. It’s a way to provide a stronger pool of candidates and become a more strategic partner to hiring managers.
There are many ways to use data as a recruiter. The most common ways are utilizing talent reports or insights from popular recruiting platforms like LinkedIn. Leveraging data to help you work smarter and more successfully is key to being strong in talent acquisition.
If you have experience with data, talk about it and lean into how it benefited your performance. If you don’t, you can reassure employers that you plan to leverage data in the future.
5. What made you want to become a recruiter?
This recruiter interview question requires considerable thought and reflection. It doesn’t seem essential at first, but your answer matters more than many realize.
Employers use this question to learn about your natural motivations and clearly understand your future prospects in this business. Candidates who have motivations beyond money are usually more passionate about their work. Furthermore, a solid reason for entering this industry indicates that you’re in it for the long haul and interested in ongoing career development.
Think about what initially interested you about recruitment. For some people, it’s a yearning to help connect people with the right career. For others, it’s the ability to actively participate in a company’s growing human resource needs. Whatever the case, detail why you entered this business.
6. What is your retention rate for new hires?
Retention rates are important in this industry. As a recruiter, you may work to fill many roles quickly. But at the end of the day, the quality of your candidates is what matters most.
If you have a low retention rate, it could indicate that you don’t do a good job at vetting potential candidates. In recruitment, matching candidates to a job they can excel at is essential.
Honesty is the best policy with this recruiter interview question. Refrain from fudging the truth. If your retention rates are low, explain why and emphasize what changes you’re making to connect hiring managers with better candidates.
7. What interview questions do you consider to be the most important? Why?
There are countless questions you can discuss in your answer, but the exact inquiries you highlight aren’t as important as the second half of the question. What hiring managers are interested in hearing about is the “why.”
When you explain why a question is important, you demonstrate your understanding of the hiring process. It shows you know how critical it is to find the right candidate for a role and can choose the best questions to point you in the right direction.
You can discuss the importance of skill-based questions or choose questions highlighting a candidate’s passions and motivations. Consider your response before your interview and explain why your chosen question matters most.
8. How do you stay up to date on the latest trends in the industry?
The recruiting industry is ever-changing. And in recent years, this line of work experienced a seismic shift. More recruiters are taking advantage of data and technology as job-seekers move online to find employment.
This recruiter interview question gets asked to ensure that you stay on top of evolving trends. Adaptability is crucial in this business.
In your answer, you can discuss industry publications you read regularly. Many recruiters are also part of groups. The key is to reassure employers that you’re proactive about industry changes and do what you can to adapt.
9. How do you maintain relationships with hiring managers?
Building strong relationships with hiring managers is critical as a recruiter. Recruiters need to treat those relationships as business partnerships. You can’t succeed without working well with a hiring manager, but recruiters must do more than take orders.
It’s an equal partnership. Hiring managers use this question to learn more about your approach. Employers typically like to see candidates with a strong philosophy about hiring manager relationships. Those who know how to manage those relationships for the benefit of all parties are the ones who leave the best impression.
Reflect on your past experiences working with hiring managers. Explain how you maintained a strong relationship with a specific hiring manager and emphasize that you treat it as a mutually beneficial partnership.
10. Can you share a time when a candidate of yours didn’t get the job?
Not every candidate you push through will get the job. That’s the nature of this industry.
Hiring managers ask this interview question to recruiters for a couple of reasons. The first is to verify your experiences. However, they mainly ask to learn about your approach and overall philosophy when working with candidates.
How do you react when you don’t get a commission? Do you remain professional or cut that candidate out completely?
The best answer is to show that you prioritize maintaining relationships with candidates. Discuss how you deliver the news, what you do to provide feedback, and what steps you take to keep them informed while creating a reliable experience for candidates.
11. How do you approach building a personal brand as a recruiter?
Branding is a critical piece of the modern recruitment business. It’s not enough to publish job postings. It’s about building relationships with candidates and having a strong brand identity.
When responding to this question, explain how you establish your brand. That typically involves having a strong social media presence on relevant platforms, like LinkedIn. Show how you’re active on those platforms and what you do to interact with candidates.
A strong brand identity can lead to great success as a recruiter, and that’s something employers love to see.
12. What do you find the most rewarding part of working as a recruiter?
This recruiter interview question is all about understanding what motivates you. It’s similar to other questions that unveil your passion for this industry. Employers want to hear that your motivations go beyond money and that you have a genuine drive to do the best job you can.
There is no right and wrong answer. The main goal is to discuss things you love about your job outside the salary.
That could be hearing the stories of potential candidates, working with employers to fulfill their staffing needs or an unwavering enthusiasm for helping people.
13. What are some ways that you like to think outside of the box when it comes to recruiting? How has this helped you?
Innovative thinking can get you far in recruitment. While there are standard conventions that many recruiters follow, those that aren’t afraid to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions to staffing issues are the ones who are most likely to succeed.
Reflect on your past experiences and discuss situations that forced you to approach things differently. What did you do to solve unique challenges? Tell a story and emphasize how your innovation led to success.
14. Share a time when a candidate rejected a job offer and what you learned from this.
Recruiters must navigate many challenging situations. Sometimes, candidates don’t get the job you connect them to. Other times, a candidate will outright reject an offer.
It’s frustrating, and employers ask this question to learn more about your attitude to those unique hurdles.
The best way to respond is to take time to learn why the candidate refused the offer. Your goal should be to focus on what you learned. Recruiters must take those moments, learn from them, and correct their approach to improve their strategies.
It’s always best to include a real-world experience related to the question, so don’t hesitate to discuss it.
15. What’s your approach when talking with a candidate who didn’t get the job?
This interview question for recruiters is similar to the previous one. It’s all about learning how you interact with candidates and maintaining your relationship to provide a reliable experience.
Your answer should focus on communication and learning. The best recruiters will deliver the news personally and provide valuable feedback to help the candidate improve for the next prospect. While these situations aren’t ideal, they’re a learning opportunity for you and your candidate.
When answering, explain how you managed the conversation with a candidate who didn’t get an offer and what you do to restrategize.
16. Share how you plan to sell our company to new candidates.
Here’s a unique question that allows you to demonstrate your skills!
A big part of your job is to sell the company to potential candidates. You must make the company look as compelling as possible. That requires creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving.
Before your interview, research the company. Figure out why job-seekers would want to work there.
When answering this question, treat it like a pitch to candidates. Highlight the company’s strengths and detail some unique particulars that could interest candidates. Think about it from a jobseeker’s point of view and sell the company.
17. Tell me how you determine the quality of a potential hire when recruiting.
No universal metric exists to gauge a candidate’s potential for a particular job. It’s a holistic process with no right or wrong approach. As a result, it’s one of the most challenging aspects of the job.
With this recruiter interview question, hiring managers aim to learn more about your approach. They want to understand your methods and gain insight into your thought processes.
The best responses detail how you analyze the position, determine what qualities a good candidate should have, and what you do to understand a candidate’s viability. Reflect on your biggest success and the steps you took to match the candidate to the right job.
18. Tell me how you like to conduct and structure your interviews.
Here’s another interview question for recruiter positions that sheds light on how you work.
Holding interviews is a critical task for recruiters. The interviewer you’re speaking with is all too familiar with the process.
Your response should detail how you structure interviews and why. Explain why your approach works and lean into how it’s benefited you.
The goal of this question is to show interviewers how you work. It helps them envision you in this role and gives them a better idea of how you would handle the company’s staffing needs.
19. Do you use social media during your recruitment process? If so, how?
Social media is a valuable tool in modern recruitment. The best recruiters know how to leverage it without experiencing legal or ethical pitfalls. You should be able to demonstrate how you utilize social media and reassure hiring managers that you know how to take advantage of it the right way.
Detail how you use social media to build your personal brand, reach out to potential candidates, make personal connections, and learn more about a jobseeker’s skills and qualifications. Think of a specific example of a time you used social media to source and vet candidates, promote opportunities, or build personal and company brand.
20. Have you ever hired a candidate who turned out to be a poor fit for the role? What did you learn from this?
Not every candidate will be a slam dunk. Even if one of your candidates lands the job, there’s a good chance that the company later realizes they’re not the right fit.
It happens! But that doesn’t mean you should brush those moments aside.
Interviewers use this question to learn more about how you handle those situations. The best responses focus on the growth and development aspect. Interviewers want to hear how you take those failures and grow from them.
Reflect on similar situations from your past and focus on what you learned. Talk about how you improved your strategy to prevent those moments from happening again.
21. How has your recruiting process evolved over time?
Recruiters need to continue learning and adapting. The industry is ever-changing. Sticking to the same processes leaves less-flexible recruiters in the dust.
Think about when you first started in recruitment. How have your approaches changed since?
Your answer should highlight your willingness to grow. Employers want to hear that you’re not resting on your laurels. There’s always room for improvement.
Detail the changes you’ve made and how they’ve benefited your performance and career.
These interview questions for recruiters aren’t hard to answer if you’re ready for them. That’s why taking some time to practice is such a good idea!
If you came across any questions where you didn’t have a great answer ready to go, circle back and spend some time working on your response. Once you’ve done this you’ll be ready to go!
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.