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Recruiter Interview Questions

A recruiter is browsing through multiple floating screens. The floating screens each have star ratings, block text, and headshots of diverse candidates. Text reads:
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Recruiters find, screen and attract qualified candidates for open jobs. Recruiter duties and responsibilities typically include managing full-cycle recruiting for multiple roles, holding phone screens with promising candidates, building relationships with candidates and collaborating with various teams to understand their hiring needs.

When hiring a recruiter, look for ​​good research skills, a positive attitude and strong interviewing skills. Great candidates for your recruiter role may also have experience in customer service, strong negotiation skills and knowledge of talent acquisition techniques.

Ask 5-10 of the following interview questions to get a better sense of a candidate’s recruiting skills and experience.


  1. What attracted you to the recruiting profession? See answer
  2. What changes have you implemented in your recruiting efforts to increase success? See answer
  3. What resources do you reference to stay current with recruiting trends? See answer
  4. What types of data do you use to measure success and how have you used that information to help you? See answer
  5. How do you develop and strengthen relationships with job candidates? See answer
  6. What do you do if a candidate unexpectedly rejects your job offer? See answer
  7. Can you describe a time when you had difficulty supporting a demanding hiring manager?
  8. A qualified job candidate provides you with their salary expectations, but the figures they provide don’t match what you can offer. What do you do to convince them to continue their candidacy?
  9. What was the recruitment process like at your previous job? Is there anything you would’ve changed about it?
  10. How many candidates have you successfully recruited during your time as a recruiter?
  11. Do you have experiencing interviewing job candidates at the preliminary level? If so, what types of interviews do you have the most experience with?
  12. How would you describe our company to a job candidate, based on what you’ve already learned about our key values?
  13. Do you think it’s important to proactively update job candidates on their application status or should you wait for them to contact you?
  14. What are some examples of job titles that you have experience recruiting for?
  15. How would you feel about reaching out to a former candidate about a new opportunity?
  16. Are you familiar with using ATS software? If so, how does it impact the application screening process?
  17. You have a tight deadline to fill a job at your company, but you haven’t found a qualified candidate for the position. What do you do?
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8 Recruiter Interview Questions and Answers

Q:

What attracted you to the recruiting profession?

A:

This question sheds light on what drives a candidate to succeed as a recruiter and how their motivations can positively impact the role. What to look for in an answer:

  • Past experiences
  • Consideration put into the decision
  • How their motivations can help bring success
Example:

“In college, I interned at Company XYZ. I was fortunate enough to interact with a positive, motivated group who was proud of their work. I realized the impact that truly enjoying a career and workplace has on a person’s life. I’ve always been successful at encouraging and helping others, and I knew the perfect way to combine my passion for service and the belief that a person should find value in their career was to become a recruiter.”

Q:

What changes have you implemented in your recruiting efforts to increase success?

A:

This question determines how well the candidate identifies areas to improve and how proactive they are in initiating change as a recruiter. What to look for in an answer:

  • Ability to reflect
  • Desire to improve
  • Flexibility
Example:

“My career as a recruiter has changed quite a bit over the years. The biggest change being the impact that a strong online presence plays in attracting top talent. Recently, I evaluated the effectiveness of my company’s brand on web and mobile outlets. I determined that the information and overall look and feel of the brand was lacking and dated. I helped develop a strategy to modernize and make the information relevant, as well as ensure mobile responsiveness.”

Q:

What resources do you reference to stay current with recruiting trends?

A:

With constantly evolving trends in the profession, knowing that a recruiter candidate stays up-to-date helps determine their drive and desire to adapt. What to look for in an answer:

  • Interest in recruiting
  • Knowledge of current trends and events
  • Desire to learn and grow
Example:

“As a recruiter, staying current with trends means extending myself to learn all that I can to improve my techniques and the candidate experience. I subscribe to several resources, including Website XYZ. Recently, I discovered new approaches I can take to attract candidates, like re-evaluating my email communication methods and job posting style.”

Q:

What types of data do you use to measure success and how have you used that information to help you?

A:

Leveraging metrics and data helps measure how current methods are helping – or hurting – a candidate’s recruiting efforts. Determining if a candidate utilizes data lets you know how serious they are about increasing efficiencies and generating success as a recruiter. What to look for in an answer:

  • Whether candidate currently uses metrics
  • Understanding of key metrics
  • How the candidate has previously used results to improve processes
Example:

“Utilizing metrics, like time to fill and time to hire, has greatly increased my efficiencies as a recruiter. At a previous company, I encouraged the recruiting department to increase the frequency in which they measured metrics, from annually to quarterly. In analyzing results, I discovered that 40% of the hiring process was spent in the hiring manager review stage. I initiated candidate outreach automation to collect candidate availability and their level of interest to help guide the hiring manager through the process.”

Q:

How do you develop and strengthen relationships with job candidates?

A:

Building and nurturing relationships is a key component in the career of a recruiter. This question lets you know how and why a candidate uses communication to develop relationships. What to look for in an answer:

  • Communication skills
  • Respect for others
  • Ability to connect
Example:

“In knowing how unnerving navigating a job search can be for a candidate, I make it a point to be available whenever possible. Deliberately ignoring a phone call or making a candidate wait unnecessarily prolongs the hiring process, creates a relationship gap between the recruiter and candidate and decreases the candidate’s confidence. When I connect with a candidate, I listen carefully, respond attentively and remain positive, even if I find myself delivering a rejection phone call, a call no recruiter enjoys making.”

Q:

Describe a time you had difficulty supporting a demanding hiring manager.

A:

Maintaining positive relations with hiring managers preserves a collaborative environment. This question determines how a candidate addresses the needs of an overly-ambitious manager from a recruiter standpoint. What to look for in an answer:

  • Resourcefulness
  • Ability to collect and present thoughts
  • Use of data to backup performance
Example:

“Encouraging and maintaining an open line of communication is one of my best defenses in ensuring a hiring manager is current and knowledgeable about the company’s hiring efficiencies and my recruiter abilities. When working with one particular manager, I remained data-driven in my approach. I presented metrics that showed the company was actually performing above the market average, and offered a solution to increase the acceptance ratio, which did have room for improvement.”

Q:

What do you do if a candidate unexpectedly rejects your job offer?

A:

A good recruiter adapts well to rejection. How they react will show you if they are able to remain calm and handle disappointment with grace, along with how they bounce back. What to look for in an answer:

  • Stability
  • Resilience
  • How they learn from such an experience
Example:

“I was particularly excited about offering a role to a high-quality candidate. This candidate had been responsive and enthusiastic, and I was sure they would accept my offer. When they turned it down, I extended genuine thanks and encouraged them to stay connected and reach out to me any time.”

Q:

A qualified job candidate provides you with their salary expectations, but the figures they provide don't match what you can offer. What do you do to convince them to continue their candidacy?

A:

Recruiters are responsible for engaging with job candidates and telling them about what their company can offer. Their ability to persuade candidates to consider their company can mean the difference between quality hires and missed talent. This question allows interviewers to gauge a candidate's ability to hold a candidate's attention while being open about their company. A candidate's answer should emphasize:

  • Transparency
  • Ability to market their employer
  • Creative problem-solving skills
Here is an example of a quality candidate answer:
Example:

"I would be honest with them right away and name the maximum offer we could provide them. Then, I would tell them about the unique benefits, training programs or competitive salaries we offer to our employees, as well as our positive workplace culture that compensate for a lower starting pay grade. If they still weren't convinced, I would tell them I'd consult with the hiring manager about potential salary negotiations and get back to them as soon as I could."

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