Common Recruitment Consultant Interview Questions and Answers

Updated 26 January 2023

An interview is one of the most important parts of the job-seeking process. It's important to prepare for a recruitment consultant interview as your answers need to reflect your knowledge of the company, excellent communication skills and passion for the industry. In this article, we review common recruitment consultant interview questions, how to answer them and give example answers.

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Common recruitment consultant interview questions

Here are some common questions that you can expect in a recruitment consultant interview:

1. Why do you want to work as a recruitment consultant?

The interviewer will ask this question to determine your motivations as a potential employee and to see if you will be a good fit for the company. It's important to be honest in your answer and provide reasons that highlight your determination and passion for the industry. Reasons you want to work as a recruitment consultant should focus on a passion for meeting and talking to new people, the potential for career progression and a desire to help people achieve their goals.

Example answer: 'I've always enjoyed meeting new people and working towards a common goal. As someone who enjoys my career, I have a genuine desire to help job seekers find their perfect career match. I know that my communication skills and positive outlook can help my clients achieve their goals. Also, I see a lot of potential to grow in this industry, earn a good salary and work with like-minded individuals.'

Related: What is a recruitment consultant?

2. How would you handle a client who was unqualified for a particular role?

Sometimes a recruitment consultant will have to prioritise the needs of an employer while maintaining a professional relationship with the unqualified candidate. Your answer should reflect your professionalism and thoughtfulness in this difficult situation. Also, if this has happened to you at a previous job, this is a great chance to utilise the STAR method and use your previous experience to emphasise your potential as an employee.

Example answer: 'I believe the only way to handle this situation is to be professional and straightforward. I would explain to the candidate that I know the employer well and I don't think they would be a good fit for this position. I would tell them about other openings within the company and try to steer them towards those roles. Also, I would mention some actions they can take to make themselves more qualified for this position, such as updating their CV or gaining more experience.'

Related: How to Use the STAR Interview Technique in Competency-Based Interviews

3. What would you do to create new business for the company?

Interviewers may ask this question to see how you view your potential position as a representative of the company. While it is not the principal job of a recruitment consultant to find new business, their positive attitude and reputation should attract clients. In your answer, demonstrate that you understand that your individual success as a recruitment consultant reflects on the entire company. You want to succeed in your job so that the company also succeeds.

Example answer: 'The best way to create business for the company is to be the best at my job. I feel that when recruitment consultants perform well and get the best results for their candidates, their reputation grows among job seekers and companies. I plan on creating new business for the company by excelling at my job, maintaining an excellent relationship with employers and networking among potential job candidates. A recruitment consultant should always look for new business.'

4. Why did you leave your previous job?

The key to this answer is to focus on your positives as an employee and not on the negative aspects of your previous job. Even if you left your previous job under negative circumstances, don't criticise your previous company or supervisor. Instead, talk about how you wanted to expand your career horizons and work for a company where you see more potential for growth.

Example answer: 'I was at my previous job for three years as an assistant recruitment consultant. While I am grateful for all the training and experience I received, I also knew that it was a small company and that one day I wanted to work for a much larger organisation. I'm an ambitious person and I feel that after three years of being an assistant, I am ready for a full-time role as a recruitment consultant for a large company.'

Related: How to Stand Out When Changing Careers

5. What is key to being a successful recruitment consultant?

Answering this question shows off your knowledge about the role and the recruitment industry. You want to show that you understand the daily tasks required of a recruitment consultant, and also prove that you can complete these tasks. Refer to the company's website and job description to become more familiar with their specific values and mission statement before your interview. Be sure to highlight that you understand the importance of these values.

Example answer: 'The most important qualities for success in this industry are communication, confidence and the ability to build lasting relationships. As mentioned on your company's website, professionalism is the foundation for all the best, lasting business relationships. I feel I have all these traits and I can only improve from here.

I value open communication with both my colleagues and my clients. I have the confidence that I know what candidates an employer needs and the best position for a job seeker. And I know that once I've made a recruitment match, it's important to stay in contact with both the employer and the candidate to maintain a good working relationship in the future.'

6. What do you know about our company?

With this question, the interviewer is not only seeing how well you prepared for the interview but also finding out why you applied for a position at their company. It's important to research the company you are applying for, usually by visiting the company website and carefully reading the job description. Your answer should also show your knowledge about the recruitment industry, proving your passion and understanding of the industry.

Example answer: 'Even before I saw this job opening, I was familiar with the exceptional work of this company. In the recruitment industry, I find it's best to familiarise yourself with the competition and learn all you can about how they operate compared to your own company. I've learned even more about your company during this application process and I'm really impressed by the company's dedication to diversity. I believe that the future of the recruitment industry lies in how we address diversity amongst our clients.'

Related: Learning About Diversity and Inclusion: 10 Free Virtual Courses

7. How would you fill a vacancy that you cannot find applicants for?

Your interviewer wants to know that when faced with a challenge, you are ready with a solution. Again, if you have previous experience as a recruitment consultant, you can use the STAR method to tell a story that reflects your best attributes as an applicant. Focus on how being proactive in this situation can help you fill the vacancy. Explain how you will use your existing network to find the perfect candidate.

Example answer: 'When dealing with an undesirable vacancy, I believe it's important to sell the candidate on the positive aspects. I don't want to lie to them but I will help them visualise how this position can benefit them and lead to other career opportunities in the future. Also, if I am having trouble finding candidates suitable for this position, I will put my networking skills to use. I would be sure to search the various professional networks online and reach out to any candidate I think might be interested.'

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

8. How do you deal with setbacks at work?

People experience setbacks at work in all industries, and the interviewer wants to see how you will deal with this. It's important to acknowledge the setbacks that might occur in the recruitment industry while also remaining positive and focused on a solution. Talk about how you use setbacks as a learning experience and a sign that it may be time to change your perspective.

Example answer: 'The recruitment industry is full of potential setbacks, many times beyond our control. I know that sometimes I will have to deal with a slow job market, difficult candidates and disagreements with employers. I think it's important to analyse the problems by acknowledging things I can't control in this situation and the things I can. Then I focus on what I can control and try to look at the situation with a fresh perspective.

For example, if I'm having a disagreement with an employer about a candidate, perhaps I should think of a different way to approach the argument, without offending the employer. I believe that while sometimes you just have to deal with setbacks, that's only after you have tried everything in your power to improve the situation.'


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