10 Recruiter Interview Questions (With Answers and Examples)

Updated 16 November 2022

Recruitment professionals have in-depth knowledge of the recruitment process. They know employers are looking for thoughtful responses in interviews that highlight why the candidate is ideal for the role. If you are a recruitment professional applying for a new position, it is important to understand the kinds of questions employers will ask you regarding your experience to determine your capabilities. In this article, we review the most frequently asked interview questions for recruiters and their answers, provide examples and explain how to prepare for them.

Related: How To Write a Recruitment Consultant Letter (With Example)

What can you expect from recruiter interview questions?

In a recruiter interview, you can expect the employer to ask you a mix of theoretical and practical questions that they will use to assess your suitability for the role. Also, consider what questions you may have when speaking with an interviewer to help prepare for your meeting. Although there may be a minimum amount of information for the role you're pursuing, try to prepare ahead of time to ensure you are ready.

Professional tips for having an efficient recruiter interview

If you're thinking of becoming a recruiter, or are applying for a new role as a recruitment professional, then keep these tips in mind:

Do your research

Make sure you know everything there is to know about the company so that you can prepare for questions that they may ask. This includes checking their business website, social media accounts and conducting competitor research to gain the most accurate information. Reach out to those you know who work at the company you're reviewing to find out more details about the role.

Related: How To Prepare for an Interview

Practise, practise, practise

Identify questions they are likely to ask and prepare answers. Rehearsing your answers in front of a mirror or with a friend can really help you get into interview mode and feel more relaxed and prepared. Prepare notes on your answers to refresh your memory before the interview.

Adopt the right mindset

Train your brain to get into the mindset of a winner. Whether that's through positive affirmations or reflecting on the professional projects of which you are most proud, being in a positive frame of mind is crucial. Visualise yourself working at the company with confidence.

Present yourself professionally

The first thing a potential employer will assess is your appearance. Review the policies for their workplace dress code and adhere to this during your interview. Also, displaying body language that is open and positive during the interview can help you appear more approachable. These are all factors to consider in any interview, regardless of industry.

Ask questions

Typically, the interviewer will ask if you have questions before they end the interview. Having questions prepared can show you have really thought about the company and have a deep interest in how it operates. Create tailored questions for the role you're pursuing and those relevant to the company.

Related: Questions To Ask at an Interview

10 common recruiter interview questions

Below, we identify 10 recruiter interview questions and outline example answers:

1. Explain the process you follow to attract quality candidates

Employers may want to know about the techniques you use to source the right talent. To answer this question effectively, explain concisely the strategies you apply to find and test candidates for a job position. Mention the steps that you follow and how they work at each stage of the recruitment process.

Example: 'I screen candidates' CVs, conduct phone interviews and check references, before inviting them for a face-to-face interview'.

Related: 10 Essential Recruitment Consultant Skills

2. Take me through a situation where you failed to fill an open position

Answering questions about failure can be nerve-racking, but don't let it kill your confidence. By asking this question, employers want to know what you have learnt from your experience and what you would do differently at another time. Think of the question as an opportunity to show how you've grown in your role.

Example: 'It was a role where the client was looking for a set of very specific technical skills. What I would do differently next time is to combine traditional recruitment techniques with modern approaches, effectively using online professional networks'.

3. How you would describe our company to a candidate?

For this question, employers are really looking for you to get creative with your answer. They may also use this question to identify how much you have researched the company. To really impress the interviewer, demonstrate your knowledge of the company by highlighting its strengths and uniqueness.

Example: 'Green Cosmetiqs is a leading organic beauty retailer, supplying thousands of products from over 200 popular and emerging brands'.

4. When checking a candidate's references, what steps do you take?

By asking this question, employers are looking to learn about the methods that you use and how you organise your work. You need to go through the steps of the reference-checking process, emphasising your thoroughness.

Example: 'First, I ask the candidate to share the details of two referees. I then contact the referees by phone to verify the candidate's role and employment history. I also check the social media profiles of each candidate for testimonials'.

5. Tell me about the most challenging role you've worked on

For this question, the interviewer wants to know how you handle and overcome obstacles in the recruitment process. Anyone who works in recruitment faces challenges that test their efficiency, so there are many aspects of the hiring process you can discuss.

Example: 'I recently worked on a role where the client wanted a candidate for an immediate start. I needed to explore a niche talent pool, so I created an application form covering specific questions that would attract the right person to the role'.

6. Explain to me how you structure candidate interviews

Candidate interviews are crucial for gauging whether a person is right for the role. To answer this question effectively, you need to outline clearly the steps that you take to assess whether a candidate is a good fit. The employer wants to know how you work and what you do to filter the right candidates onto the shortlist.

Example: 'I ask specific and relevant questions regarding their experience and skills mentioned in their CV, and make detailed notes while I conduct the interview'.

7. How do you handle a candidate offer rejection?

This kind of question frequently comes up throughout the recruiter interview process, so it's important to have a prepared and well-thought-out answer. This is an opportunity for you to show the recruiter your level of professionalism. Make sure that you answer with grace and in a positive, reflective manner.

Example: 'I respond graciously and politely by thanking them for letting me know and wishing them the best of luck in the future'.

8. What makes a great job advertisement and why?

Having a job advertisement that is specific and relevant is the first step in attracting the right candidates. As a recruitment professional, employers want to know that you have a good understanding of what a job advertisement should include and how you would structure one. They want to know the key information that you would provide, while also assessing your communication skills.

Example: 'A job advert needs to be clear and to the point. It should highlight the responsibilities of the role and build an attractive picture of the company, including its culture and employee benefits'.

9. How do you collaborate with your team to hire for a position?

All employers look for employees who are excellent team players and able to collaborate effectively. This question is a chance to show the interviewer how well you work with your colleagues and why you would be an asset to the recruitment team.

Example: 'I always make sure we define our goals clearly and share any important updates in real time. Communication is key, so I always make time for team meetings'.

10. Tell me about a time when you worked in a fast-paced environment

To work in the recruitment industry, you must be able to cope in a fast-paced, high-pressure working environment. Employers want to know that you can handle and adapt to this type of work culture. Consider demonstrating that you have the skills they are looking for by emphasising your strengths.

Example: 'I use digital organisation tools such as [mention relevant platforms/apps] to keep track of my workflow and prioritise my tasks. I have learnt how to thrive under pressure by using mindfulness techniques that I apply effectively in the workplace.'


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