11 questions to ask recruiters before an interview

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written byContent Strategist, Remote Lifestyle & Career, EPAM Anywhere

With a focus on remote lifestyle and career development, Gayane shares practical insight and career advice that informs and empowers tech talent to thrive in the world of remote work.

With a focus on remote lifestyle and career development, Gayane shares practical insight and career advice that informs and empowers tech talent to thrive in the world of remote work.

Many interviewees prepare for an interview by looking up everything they might be asked without considering what questions to ask recruiters before an interview.

Before you get to an interview, it’s worth knowing as much as you can about the company first, and asking these questions before the job interview is an excellent approach to preparing yourself for the big day. The more knowledge you have, the more confident you will be before and during the interview.

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Key questions to ask before an interview with a recruiter

Working with a recruiter gives you the benefit of a professional's assistance and exposure to their thoughts and suggestions.

Recruiters aim to identify the best prospects for their candidates. Therefore, they frequently have a clear understanding of what it takes to be an impressive applicant for that organization. So, before you begin practicing and planning, here are some key questions to ask a recruiter before an interview so that you have everything you need before you go in.

1. How does the interviewing process work?

While prepping for an interview with a firm, it’s crucial to understand their interview procedure. This will update you on whether you have more than one interview to attend. It will also assist you in planning your calendar to have time available if several interviews are required.

It’s always worth knowing if they have tests and assessments, including standardized versions that you can prepare for, which is why this is one of the most common questions to ask recruiters before an interview.

You may also need to be prepared for more in-depth or lengthy discussions that could include technical interview questions. This is why knowing what to expect is critical.

2. How quickly does the company need to fill the position?

The answer to this question provides you with a timetable for when the organization needs personnel. Do they intend to recruit someone in the coming days, weeks, or months? This information will assist you in determining which interviews to prioritize. If they are interviewing people without regard for a deadline, it might be months until you receive an offer. These roles could therefore be time-consuming.

3. How long have you been with the organization?

In your questions to ask before an interview, try to understand the relationship between the recruiter and the company. The more time the recruiter has spent working with the prospective employer, the more knowledge they should have about them. They should have a strong awareness of their management style, how they handle people, and the organization's culture.

Before an interview, I suggest asking clarifying questions to make sure the position is the right fit for you. For example, inquire about the company, the project, contract type, work schedule, and general requirements for the role, including a must-have tech stack if relevant. You should also ask how long the interview will last to plan your time accordingly.

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Nargiz ZeynalovaRecruiter, EPAM Anywhere

4. Who is the best candidate for this position?

Would you like to have an advantage during a phone screen interview with a recruiter? Request that the recruiter outlines the company's ideal applicant. You can look at the job description, but the recruiter will likely have more information. Take extensive notes and ask follow-up questions. You can use the information offered to decide whether or not this position is a suitable fit for you — and it may even affect your responses to future interview questions.

5. Do you work for the firm that is hiring?

To put it another way, is the recruiter a third party, or do they work solely for the hiring company?

You'll encounter two kinds of recruiters, and it's critical to understand the distinction. An internal recruiter works only for the hiring firm, whereas an external recruiter acts as a third-party intermediary between the potential employer and any potential hires.

Understanding the distinction can help you formulate better questions to ask a recruiter before an interview to get useful responses. For instance, an inside recruiter may be more knowledgeable about the company's values, but an external recruiter may close the meeting by inquiring about more employment openings.

6. Was I presented to the potential employer?

Questions to ask recruiters before an interview should include what the potential employer (or their designated hiring manager) already knows about you. This provides you with an idea of what you should cover or elaborate on throughout the discussion.

Furthermore, the hiring manager may have replied positively to your qualifications or highlighted worries about an absence of experience in a specific field. If you can inquire deeper, you’ll be able to make a stronger case for yourself during the interview.

7. What’s the starting salary range?

Whenever it comes to job interviews, you'll have to use your best judgment to determine whether this is a suitable question. If so, you should be careful about how you word the query. Try something like, "I would like to ensure this prospect meets my needs. Do you have any compensation details? What is the starting salary range?"

It's also not unusual for a recruiter to inquire about your salary expectations, so be ready to respond if that comes up.

8. How would you define the team with whom I'll be working?

This question can help you learn more about the team you'll interact with daily. Some teams within firms may have their own customs, so inquire about the team and the overall organization. Hopefully, you'll leave with a sense of the team's size, how you'll fit in, and some facts like average working hours and the firm's overall direction.

9. What do most individuals who hold this position go on to do?

Discovering what others in the job have gone on to do later will provide context for the abilities you'll gain in the function, especially if it appears to be a transitory role, and whether the company has a history of internally promoting people. When trying to get a new position, you might want to know where you could end up over time.

10. Who will be doing the interview?

If the recruiter has stated that you have been invited to the interview, inquire about your interviewers. If you speak with an internal recruiter, they should be able to provide you with some names and titles. You can better comprehend the sorts of questions you'll be asked if you have a list of names and/or titles.

You may also want to spend some time on LinkedIn researching the backgrounds of these experts. Doing homework like this will help you immediately develop a more intimate relationship.

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11. Why is this position open?

Is a new role available as a result of career advancement? Was anyone dismissed, and if so, why? Has someone left the position, and if so, does the recruiter know why?

The responses to these questions will help you better grasp the career opportunity and what it might hold for you.

Before your interview, it’s also worth asking about the company's expectations in terms of English language proficiency, since it might be a deal-breaker in certain circumstances. If the meeting is held online, you should also check with the recruiter to see if a camera is required.

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Anna CherniakovaSenior Recruiter, EPAM Anywhere

What do the questions you ask a recruiter say about you?

Talking to a recruiter and asking questions, whether before or during a phone screen interview, is a chance for you to get more information from them.

However, they don’t exactly work for you — rather, they are looking to hire the best people for their clients. Because of that, they will be seeking to gauge your abilities and compare you with the job description or other candidates.

When you ask smart questions, the recruiter could leave the conversation thinking that you are:

  • Proactive
  • Attentive to details
  • Determined to do your best if offered the job
  • Planning to succeed
  • Intelligent and discerning

These are not all the things a recruiter may deduct from talking to you. Other considerations include your manners, the way you speak, and the specific way your questions are posed.

If you ask relevant and well-thought-out questions, the recruiter will not only find you memorable but also be prompted to engage with you more than if you only take questions and pose none.

Check out more remote interview tips if you have an interview set up already. If not, start by browsing our open tech jobs and applying to get the ball rolling. We’re looking forward to working with you!

published 31 Oct 2022
updated 23 Jan 2024
Gayane_Hakobyan.jpg
written byContent Strategist, Remote Lifestyle & Career, EPAM Anywhere

With a focus on remote lifestyle and career development, Gayane shares practical insight and career advice that informs and empowers tech talent to thrive in the world of remote work.

With a focus on remote lifestyle and career development, Gayane shares practical insight and career advice that informs and empowers tech talent to thrive in the world of remote work.

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