In a job interview, as someone hoping to be hired, it’s natural to want to not rock the boat. Hopefuls usually get the recruiter take the lead, they answer their questions, and they’re careful not to overstep.
Did you know though that most recruiters welcome the opportunity to answer questions about a job position – they do! Before walking into a job interview, know what information you want to be walking out of there with. Here are some practical questions to ask recruiters:
Question #1: “How would you describe a company’s management style?”
The best questions to ask recruiters will demonstrate a passion to learn more about the company. You want to show that you’re interested in the position and that you already see yourself contributing. In this vein, don’t hesitate to inquire about the leadership culture at a company. If you don’t have a thorough idea of who you’ll be working under or what their management will be like, feel encouraged to ask.
Question #2: “How will I be measured around my roles and responsibilities?”
When you compile your list of questions to ask recruiters, some of these questions should pertain to your employment role in the company, but make sure they are intelligent questions. If you ask what your responsibilities will be, that shows you didn’t read the job description and indicates you don’t really care about being there. Instead, mention you’ve read the responsibilities associated to your position and you want to know how your performance will be measured.
This is important information as it’ll provide you insight into what performance metrics are most important. For example, some companies want speed in customer interactions while others will value quality. Gain a sense of how you’ll be judged.
Question #3: “What does success look like six months into the job?”
Before walking into any job dynamics, you want to know how success is being defined to management. Defining job success in a near term gives you something to focus on and provides a clear understanding of where you’re expected to take things.
Question #4: “Are there long-term opportunities here?”
If you have ambitions to move past the limitations of what your current role allows, ask what’s possible down the line. Even if it’s months away, if you have the ambition to move into management, you don’t want to be investing your time in a position that’s a dead-end.
Although this can be a question that’s presumptuous to some, it also lets them know you’re a loyal employee looking for a company where you can confidently invest your time and effort.
Question #5: “Have you been searching long for a candidate to fill this position?”
As a way to build rapport and find out a little more about where your recruiter is coming from, how long they’ve been searching for a candidate lets you know if you’re the right person. They may confide in you the challenges they are facing which you can then position yourself as the solution.
Keep in mind companies don’t usually hire from their first list of applicants. Alternatively, if they’ve been searching for four months or more, it might be a negative reflection on them or the role. The latter answer might be a sign the recruiter’s either inexperienced or that you don’t want to accept a role.
Question #6: “Can you describe your screening process?”
Some recruiters may be open to sharing how they are screening candidates. With this information, a prospective partner can better position themselves in relation to the available role and what kind of background the employer is looking for.
Question #7: “Are there any other benefits not mentioned?”
You always want to get a full idea of what’s being offered. So if there’s any confusion on your part relating to pay such as if there are commission incentives of any kind, flexibility in scheduling, benefits, or additional perks, be sure to ask. That said, you do want to tread lightly.
When asking, be very general. You don’t want to come off like you’re already asking for time off before being hired or as if you’re demanding more pay above what’s been agreed-upon. Take things slow. Benefits or salary should not be negotiated during an interview. Only after you receive definite offer should those things be broached.
Question #8: “What happens at the end of the contract/parole period?”
When one’s first hired on a job, typically, they are either given a contract or are put on a trial period to see how they fit in. After you have a definitive contract offer of some kind on the table, you want to ask what the expectations are with your role going forward. If there’s a criteria expectation, you want to ensure you meet it.
Question #9: “What are the next steps?”
If you don’t have a clear path forward, before walking out of the interview, feel free to ask for a follow-up call as you’re very interested in the position. Don’t be too pushy but make your interest clear. If they decline to set up a specific time frame for a follow-up call or don’t appear to be interested in further contact with you, you must assume there’s no interest and move beyond that.