The 6 Interview Questions You Should Ask When Hiring a Recruiter

March 8, 2016

The mantra of any recruiter is that people matter above all else; and the key to building a lasting organization is continually hiring great talent.

Therefore, it makes perfect sense that recruiting leaders would really, really care about the people they hire to fill out their talent acquistion team. And they should, because hiring a great recruiter can have a drastic long-term effect on any business, as it provides a higher level of talent at your organization over time.

So, how do you know if someone will make a great recruiter? To help make this determination, we put together a list of six outstanding interview questions you should ask any recruiting candidate.

They are:

1. "Describe your relationship with your last three hiring managers."

Studies have found the single biggest factor in being a successful recruiter is consistently building strong relationships with hiring managers. And that means the recruiter acting as a partner in the hiring process, not just an order-taker.

By asking a candidate to walk through their relationship with their last three hiring managers, you’ll get an inside look at how they handle that relationship. Do they describe the relationships as being authoritarian, where the hiring manager was leading the charge and the recruiter was being reactive to their demands?

Or, does the candidate describe how they took control of the relationship early on, and managed the hiring process as an equal? Ideally, you should look for someone who has a strong philosophy on how to handle that relationship, as opposed to someone who is going to let each individual hiring manager act as a dictator.

2. "How do you treat candidates who don’t get the job?"

Recruiters are often incentivized on how many reqs they close and the time in which they close them. Hence, some short-sighted recruiters often forgo providing a great candidate experience to the candidates they reject, and instead focus solely on the people who are left.

That can really hurt your company’s employer brand.

Instead, the best candidates should make it clear they provide a strong experience to all candidates. For example, emailing candidates who apply, but don’t get an interview. Calling candidates who interview, but don’t get the job. And consistently updating candidates throughout the interview process, so the candidate isn’t left constantly wondering where they stand.

3. "Tell me about the last two times you used data to help you recruit."

Data is increasingly becoming more and more important in recruiting. It is also a way for recruiters to “swim upstream” and become more strategic partners with their hiring managers, by providing them strong talent pool data on where to recruit and what to expect.

A great candidate should have no trouble listing off the last two times they used data to recruit, perhaps using talent pool or industry reports. Conversely, candidates who have a tough time citing examples of how they use data to recruit are ones who are not using all the tools necessary to be successful.

4. "What publications do you read to stay atop the recruiting industry?"

Recruiting is an ever-changing industry that requires constant adoption. Top recruiters can adapt to those changes because they spend time each day staying informed about the industry they work in.

It doesn’t matter so much what publications a recruiter reads, so long as they read something. A good follow-up question here is to ask the candidate about some specific developments in the industry they are currently interested in, to both ensure they actually are reading something and to hear their perspectives on innovative new recruiting concepts.

5. "Show me your LinkedIn and Twitter profiles."

Employer branding today is becoming as important as ever. It isn’t just enough to post jobs or to InMail qualified candidates; you need to start building relationships with prospects digitally, so it is easier to source positions later.

Any candidate should have a strong LinkedIn profile, considering the importance of it in recruiting. Beyond that, they should use LinkedIn as a way to share content, join groups and participate in conversations; showing they understand the importance of branding as well.

Same goes for Twitter. A recruiting candidate with little-to-no professional social media presence outside of LinkedIn should not necessarily be disqualified; but one that really gets social media should be prioritized.

6. "How do you measure quality of hire?"

This is a classic “there’s no right answer” question, because the top minds in the industry have no right answer yet. In fact, when surveyed, talent leaders agreed that defining and accurately measuring quality of hire is one of their biggest challenges, with no one clear solution out there yet.

That said, there’s near universal agreement that quality of hire is the most important metric in recruiting (even though no one truly knows how to define it). So a great recruiting candidate should have a perspective, or at least a theory, on how to measure it and how they’ve tried measuring it. Their answer should give insight into both their thought process and their commitment to taking on the industry’s biggest challenges.

*Image by Lucas

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