Questions to Ask a Recruiter


What are the best questions to ask a recruiter?

Tick tock. Let’s face it. You’re busy. You’re probably working full time and when a recruiter calls about a job opportunity, it’s not always a welcome interruption. Save time by asking questions that get right to the heart of the matter. Is this a job you want to consider, or not?

Here are some purposeful questions that will give you more insight into the hiring organization and your chances of success. These probably frame the same selling points the recruiter will use to introduce you to the employer.

1. Background and Skills

Questions to ask a recruiter #1

Why do you feel my background and skills would benefit this organization? This is one of the best questions to ask a recruiter because it requires him to denote your strengths and compare them against the employer’s ideal candidate. The recruiter should have a strong answer that shows he is familiar with your education, experience, and credentials.

His answer should also reveal something about the company. Is it a start-up? Perhaps it’s an established company planning to expand into new territory. Or, perhaps there’s a pressing problem and the employer needs an answer man. This question can give you some valuable insights into the employing organization.

2. Company Culture

Company culture

Tell me about the company culture and why you think I am a good fit for this organization? This is one of the most important questions to ask a recruiter. If there’s a cultural mismatch, you won’t be happy there. For example, many companies have an open office environment. Facebook is a good example. Even Zuckerberg doesn’t have his own desk.

If this would be too distracting for you, then you might as well tell the recruiter it’s not your cup of tea and why. Many people figure they’ll adapt. But that’s like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. You should just “own” your quirkiness. It’s in your best interest to discuss with the recruiter what you need to be happy.

3. Characteristics

Candidate characteristics

What characteristics would the ideal candidate have that I appear to be lacking? This is a beneficial question to ask a recruiter, as your resume may not be conveying your whole story. It gives you a chance to discuss ways you could update your resume to reflect specific qualities the employer is seeking.

Perhaps the employer would like to have someone in this position who speaks a bit of Spanish. You spent a semester in Mexico back in your college days, but certainly aren’t fluent. You probably didn’t note this on your resume. But, it would be enough to give you an edge with the employer. This question might reveal some valuable “Easter eggs” that could either work to your advantage, or warn you off the job.

4. Salary Negotiations


I would need something in the XXX dollar range to make a move. Is this in the budget for the position? Are we wasting our time here? You will find many career advisors telling you NOT to reveal your current salary. I disagree with that philosophy, but that’s another article! Here’s a couple of questions to ask a recruiter that get straight to the point without revealing your salary. It’s NOT all about the money, but money is certainly a consideration.

Changing jobs is always stressful and if a move is required, then that ups the ante. If this is an upward transition for you, then there will be increased responsibility involved. Consider all these factors and tell the recruiter how much it would honestly take for you to consider the position. Then he can tell you if your expectations are within the employer’s budget for the position.

5. Timeframe

Hiring timeframe

What is the employer’s timeframe and hiring process? Does the employer want to fill the job NOW or is the start date flexible? This might make a difference to you. I recently ran into a situation where my top candidate dropped out because he was involved in a project that would take a few months to pass off. You might also want to know about the hiring process itself. Will the hiring decision be made by a single individual? Or, will there be several rounds of interviews? These are all good questions to ask a recruiter.

You want to know what to expect and when. This is one of the most telling questions to ask a recruiter. If you are already busy and it is going to be a long drawn out hiring process, you may not want to commit to that. You have a right to know what to expect. Communication is the key.

Tick tock.

take the call and talk to recruiter

Is this call a waste of time, or is it the opportunity of a lifetime? These are a just a few simple questions to ask a recruiter. They’re guaranteed to help you make that decision in record time. Who knows? You could be a hot ticket and not even know it!

You’re a busy person. So is the recruiter. Be respectful of his time and don’t let him waste it if, after you hear him out, you are certain about not being interested in making a career move. If it’s not time for a change, then be sure to tell the recruiter after you graciously thank him for his time. After all, you may be ready for a change in a few years.

The Author

Straight from the desk of

Kimmel & Associates

Kimmel & Associates

Marketing & Communcations

Kimmel is an executive search firm located in Asheville, North Carolina. Our professional recruiters are committed to exceeding client expectations. They work with the same dedication, honesty, and attitude of service that has been the Kimmel standard for over 34 years.

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