Six questions to ask a recruiter in an informational interview

Got an initial interview with a recruiter and wondering what types of questions to ask them? In this article, we’ll give some suggestions to try to help you prepare.

Our six suggested questions to ask will help you be clear on the role and the organisation, impress the recruiter, show your knowledge and demonstrate just how interested you are in the role.

1) What would you say are the greatest challenges of this role?

This is a great question to ask, as it shows you’re thinking about the realities of the role and understanding that it won’t always be plain sailing.

From your perspective, this type of question, whether during a phone/online interview or face-to-face, will enable you to really understand some of the difficulties you may face and whether you’re happy about that. It will show the interviewer that you are serious about the role and wish to really get your head around the pros and cons.

2) What is the reporting structure and how does the position fit into the overall structure of the business?

It’s really important that you understand who the position reports into and find out whether you will have the opportunity to meet them, should you be successful in going through to the next stage. Personality is key and you will want to ensure you have a connection and can get on with the individual, just as much as they will you. So, we think this is one of the key questions to ask a recruiter in an informational interview.

Also, understanding how the position fits into the overall organisational structure shows the interviewer that you have an interest in teamwork and an eagerness to understand how you will be contributing to the wider organisation.

3) Is there an induction programme for new starters?

Most organisations will have a standard induction programme to help new staff get to know everyone in the team and what their roles and responsibilities are. This enables new starters to understand the structure, see how their role fits into the team and who they might need to approach about certain elements of their job.

Asking about the organisation’s induction policy will help you work out the level of support you will receive to help you settle in.

4) Do you offer a programme of training and development?

This is a great question to ask, as it shows that you’re eager to grow your skills, develop the role and add more value to the business in the long term. It also helps you decide on whether the organisation is right for you, and whether it will give you opportunities to grow and develop your career in the future … or not.

5) How do you measure and review performance?

By asking this question, you are showing that you are professional, reliable, and committed to delivering results for the organisation consistently, over time. In short, it shows you are serious, and commercially minded.

6) Can you give me an idea of the growth and development plans?

This question will help you work out how ambitious the organisation is and whether their plans take them in a direction which excites you. It shows the recruiter that you have commercial acumen, understand the value of planning and are likely considering a long-term commitment to the role. Again, this type of question in an interview shows you are serious.

Finally, if you’re thinking about other questions to ask a recruiter in an informational interview, we think it’s useful to actually flip this on its head and put yourself in the shoes of the recruiter.

Knowing what you do of the job specification, what do you think they might they be looking for in a candidate and how can you demonstrate, through your questions, that you have the skills, experience and commercial acumen to do the job well and be an asset to the organisation?

The questions are relevant whether you’re meeting face to face or online. But during a phone interview or during a phone screen interview, you have the advantage of being able to glance at your prepared questions without the interviewer knowing that you’re using notes.

We hope this article has been helpful in guiding you to ask suitable questions of your recruitment agency and an actual recruiter, to find the right job for you and in preparing you for any interviews you might have. Good luck in your job search!

Flexibility Matters helps candidates find flexible work in future-minded companies. They match the right person to the right job, and devise a collaborative, flexible working strategy that suits everyone.

Photo by airfocus