What To Ask A Recruiter

We advise our clients to always call the recruiter before submitting a resume in response to a job application. The only time you shouldn’t of course, is if the recruiter specifically requests no phone enquiries.

There are many reasons for connecting with a recruiter, not least of all to ensure that your application would be considered. Why spend hours preparing an application if you’re not even a contender? Calling a recruiter beforehand can provide you with some vital clues as the recruitment process, and can help shape your application, so make the call before you labour over your documents. If you can’t get hold of them by phone, make an appointment to see them, or connect with them on LinkedIn and begin a dialogue that way.

It’s a great opportunity to find out a little more about the job that might provide you with some detail to add to your application, and it also gives you a point of contact with the recruiter that will  leave them with not only your name, but also (hopefully) a good impression.

There is no point in making the call just for the sake of it though. Be prepared to ask questions that will help you tailor your application.

But what to ask? Well, don’t ask anything that’s blindingly obvious from the job advertisement. Keep it short and sweet and don’t waste the recruiter’s time.

Don’t ask any close-ended questions – you don’t want to get a ‘yes’ or no’ answer to any of your queries or you won’t get the information you want.

Feel free to use the following as a guide:

Scripted Guide For Calling A Recruiter About An Advertised Vacancy

Hi [recruiters name], my name is [your name].

I am interested in applying for the advertised role of [your new job] that I saw on [advertised where].

[Sell yourself here – i.e. I’ve got 5 years experience as … I’m a business development specialist with 5 years’ experience at the world’s largest law firm, I’ve been selling advertising space to 5 of the top 10 property companies for 3 years, or whatever …].

I’m confident I match the requirements for the role, but I’m hoping you can provide some clarity on a few things before I submit my application so I can make sure I’m addressing everything the employer seeks. Could you please tell me:

Choose relevant questions from this selection:

Q: What are the biggest challenges faced by the person in this role?

Q: What would the employer like the next person in the role to do differently?

Q: What are the three key things the employer is looking for?

Q: Is there anything else you can tell me about the role, for example, is location or proximity to work important for the employer?

Q: Why is the position vacant?
 Is someone already in the role, or ‘acting’ in the role? How long have been doing that role?

Q: When do applications close?

Q: How many applicants will you be putting forward to the organisation?

Q: What is the interview process?

Q: What are the three key things the employer is looking for?

Q: Is there anything else you can tell me about the role, for example, is location or proximity to work important for the employer?

Q: What are your expectations as to my resume? e.g. 2-3 pages, would you like copies of my credentials attached?

Thanks – that’s really helpful … I would like to submit my application.

Q: Should I send it direct to you? (This is a great question to ask – if you have piqued their interest, you may be able to circumvent the initial ATS screen and have the recruiter look at your documents straight away on their desktop).

Q: When [as in how long timing-wise] should I expect to hear about next steps once I’ve applied?

Thanks for your time – you’ve been a great help.

Don’t forget to thank the recruiter after you’ve spoken to them, and if you’ve not already connected to them on LinkedIn, do so, with an appropriately worded brief note of thanks*, whether you intend to apply for the role or not.

e.g. Hi [insert recruiters name] – thanks for your advice with regard to the role at [XYZ]. I look forward to hearing from you in due course. In the meantime, can we connect on LinkedIn? [insert your name and mobile number]

You should then make any changes required to your resume, based on your conversation with the recruiter, and then submit your application for the role.