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Questions recruitment consultants may ask you in a screening interview

Written by: Charlotte Rogers
Published on: 6 Jan 2023

Questions Recruitment Consultants ask

It’s a recruitment consultant’s job to find the right candidate for their client. They are looking for people that are not only a good match on paper but are able to be a good fit for the company, talk confidently and answer their questions. A lot of the time, external recruiters will have pre-interviews with candidates to be able to have a face-to-face (or virtual) chat with them and take the time to answer any of their questions too. But what will these types of recruiters ask you during these interviews and does it really matter?

What happens during an interview with a recruitment consultant?

Before sending your CV to a client, it’s likely that a recruitment consultant or recruitment agency will want to have a chat with you first. This is usually similar to an interview, but sometimes a bit more informal. It’s likely they’ll want you to answer some questions about yourself, your career and where you want to be. This not only helps them see if you’re a good fit for the role in question, but it can help them see what other roles they could have on the go that may also be of interest to you. 

It’s definitely more of an informal chat compared to an employer interview, but it is still a good idea to do some prep beforehand. Do things like:

  • Print off your CV
  • Put together a portfolio of work
  • Prepare some questions for them - ask them if there are any other roles available 

There is always a chance that there are other roles they’re helping hire for, so don’t forget to ask if they forget to mention it themselves. 

Tell me about yourself?

This is a popular question to be asked in any interview. It gives the interviewer a chance to get to know you a bit better, understand what kind of role you are looking for and a better understanding of who you are and how you could fit into a team. When answering this question there are some things you should include:

  • Your name & current job title
  • Some of your background / work experience
  • Maybe start touching upon why you’re there

This question should be answered differently in a recruiter interview. Your answer should be concise and to the point, they want to know what companies and roles might be a good fit for you. 

What are your current responsibilities?

The recruiter wants to know what kind of role you are looking for. They want to know your boundaries, what you are looking for in a job and if you are currently working. Questions you should aim to answer are the following:

  • Are you looking for full-time, part-time, or temp work?
  • Do you care for anyone? Is flexible working going to be a good option for you?
  • Are you currently in work, if so, what’s your notice period?
  • Do you have another role?

All important questions that will help recruiters look out for the right job for you. 

Why are you looking for a new job?

This question is asked to make sure they aren’t sending you jobs that aren’t right for you. If you are wanting to leave to get into a different sector, then let them know so they don’t start sending you roles that would be of no or little interest to you. 

Think about your reasons for leaving your current role – if you want to move onto part-time work, you don’t like your current company, would like to learn somewhere new or you just want a change, be honest and they will be able to tailor their search to you. If you withhold this information, it could take you and them longer to find a new role. So be honest, but positive. You don’t want to be bad-mouthing your current company, it’s never a good look. 

What are your salary expectations?

Recruiters are there to help you find a new job and they know with that, comes a good salary and company benefits. However, everyone is at different levels in their careers, have different responsibilities and expectations. So let them know yours. 

It can feel easier to talk to a recruiter about salary than it would initially be to talk to an employer. Although salary can feel like a taboo subject to discuss with others, it’s important. You should never feel nervous about asking for a specific salary, you deserve to be compensated for the work you do and needs to be talked about more. 

Have an idea of what you want before discussing with recruiters, do your research and makes sure to be certain of what you are asking for. Have some leeway either side of the salary requested, but don’t settle for something you’re uncomfortable with. 

What’s your timeline for moving roles?

The outcome for this question, is to simply know your current notice period. If you are in a role currently, what is the amount of time you have to give that employer for your notice? Is it flexible or is there a specific amount of time you are contracted to give? Make sure you know this information beforehand, to prevent going back and forth. 

If you are currently out of work, think about when you’d like to start. Just because you are unemployed doesn’t mean you have to start straight away. You are entitled to the same period as any other person, so think about your timeline and what you would like to do. 

Are you actively using any other recruitment agencies?

Recruitment consultants often make their money when a candidate is successfully placed within a company, so they want to know their competition. This is something most recruiters will ask, but you don’t necessarily have to tell them if you don’t feel necessary. You can say you are actively looking, which doesn’t imply much. 

Recruitment agencies and consultants are there to help you find your next role, so help them by giving them as much information to work with as possible. By knowing things like your notice period, salary expectations and the type of role you are looking for, they are able to narrow down their search and hopefully find you a fitting job much faster. So go to recruiter interviews prepared and ready with answers.