5 Questions to Ask Recruiters (and 5 You Should Keep to Yourself)
When it comes to the typical job hunt, we all think we understand what should be on the average to-do list. For starters, we know to have a well-defined résumé and an error-free cover letter. It also helps if we've practiced our interview answers and even picked out an office-appropriate outfit. But as much as we overthink our previous work history and the strength of our handshake, there's one detail we may not pay enough attention to at all: impressing a recruiter.
Like the guard at the gate of a castle, a recruiter is the first shield of a secure paycheck—the initial decision maker of who gets to meet with a hiring manager and who doesn't. And while there are plenty of factors that go into receiving a job offer, failing to impress the position's recruiter will never reveal those crucial details. So to get a better insight into how to approach this acquaintance, we asked Los Angeles–based recruiter Alexander Tucker for his advice.
Although Tucker works in the light industrial and skill trade industry, his tips on the five questions to ask and the five questions to keep to yourself can help any job seeker get past a posting's first hurdle.
What are five questions job seekers should ask recruiters?
What type of position is this? "This is a good and simple question to see if this job is the right one," Alex says. "For example, if someone is quitting a stable job to work a short-term contract, that's probably not the best idea. But on the other hand, if a person is out of work and the position is a contract-to-hire, then that's a good fit for the candidate."
Where is the job located? "You should think twice about taking a job that's more than 20 miles away, due to all the gas and time you're using to get to that job," he notes. It's an easy way to determine if you should explore this job or not."
What are the most important duties? "This is a great question for getting a clear understanding of what the job is and if it's actually something that you would like to wake up and do day in and day out," Alex says. "It'll also help you tailor your resume to the job."
What can you tell me about the hiring manager? "It's a good idea to know whether or not you'll be reporting to the person you're potentially interviewing with," he says. "If the recruiter can tell you anything about the hiring manager, like her position in the company, that'll help."
Why is this position available? "This is a good question to gauge a little more about the details of the job, as well as the status of the company," Alex says. "Maybe it's a more demanding position than the job description lets on, or maybe the company is expanding."
Does the company offer advancement? "This ties back into knowing the duration of the job," Alex says. "If a company is saying that it wants someone for six months and then the job will potentially extend, that gives you a clear understanding of the company's direction."
What are five questions job seekers should not ask recruiters?
If I take this job, can you still find me one that pays more? "This is a huge red flag for recruiters because we view this person as a job hopper or someone who will take another job for a few cents more," he says.
So what do you have for me? "If a recruiter has no clue about the interest or type of work you are looking for, this is not a good way to start a conversation," Alex jokes.
How much do you make? "It shouldn't matter what a recruiter is making because that's not in your skill set," he says.
How casual is this office? "There's a much better way to phrase this question if you're looking for a less traditional workplace," Alex says. "When it's being presented this way, it's almost as if you plan on being unprofessional."