Recruiters are typical, but quality recruiters are hard to find. Before you entertain a call from a recruiter proposing a life-changing career opportunity, it’s worth posing some of the following questions to make sure you are talking to the right individual who you feel comfortable speaking to.
Find out about their work: Find out about the company they work for, i.e. what is the company’s track record, especially about the opportunity they have approached you about. Also, delve deeper into their relationship with their clients, i.e. in what capacity are they representing their client or how long have they been working with their client.
Are there any other candidates in the process? Most recruiters won’t tell how many other candidates are being considered for the role but some do. Also, try asking how urgently the position needs to be filled. If they respond with unclear answers, it’s probably because the role has just gone live or is challenging to fill.
What is the opportunity? Don’t be tempted by the job title alone but find out about the nature of work the successful candidate will be doing, about the reporting lines and level of seniority. Insist on receiving a job specification via email from the recruiter. Get as much information on the role as possible.
What is the salary? Instead of asking what the pay is, ask what the ‘achievable’ salary is? Don’t waste time on discussing salary in detail and cut straight to the chase by indicating to the recruiter what level of salary you currently get. The recruiter will then be in a better position to tell you whether or not the pay will be in line with your expectations.
What is their background? An awkward question to ask directly, but if you want the recruiter to help you land your dream job, you need to know what the credentials of this person are. Nine times out of 10, recruiters will be on LinkedIn, so this should be your first port of call when carrying out your due diligence.
What is the average feedback time? One of the major frustrations of both candidates and recruiters is the amount of time it takes to find out about the outcome of an application which unfortunately neither can do much about as the client controls it. Nevertheless, ask the recruiter if there is an average feedback time or if there are going to be any delays in getting feedback.
What is the interview process? Most good recruiters will tell you this automatically but if they don’t, then ask them to break down the interview process step by step, i.e. how many stages to the interview, what is the nature of the meeting – telephone or face to face or both, who are the interviewers, where and when will the discussion take place etc.
Why is the role available? This question should be asked in tandem with ‘what is the opportunity?’ Find out if it is a new role or a replacement. If it is a replacement, then ask why that is the case. If you don’t get a clear cut answer here, it might indicate that the client has some deeper employee engagement issue(s) that resulted in the role becoming available.
In summary, a good recruiter will know their client’s requirements inside out. Even if the role they are speaking to you about does not materialise with an offer, do make a point of keeping in touch with them. You never know there might be an even better opportunity for you later on.