Insightful questions to ask when interviewing/hiring a recruiter?

Hi all. Does anyone have any great questions they ask potential candidates when applying to YOUR company as a recruiter, especially when they come in with no recruiting background.?

I know the traits that make a great recruiter, just looking for a behavioral way to screen for these…  Thanks!

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1. If one song describes your life, what would it be?
The answer would determine the type of person the candidate is, you want to look for someone motivated to yeah.
2. Who do you think makes a better manager... a man or a woman?
This helps identify if someone dislikes taking orders from a man/woman and vice verse
3. Which country has the largest population in the world?
Tells you if someone is aware of their surroundings or reads often, also if a person has the curiosity factor that a recruiter needs.
4. If I asked you to sign a contract with us for 5 years, would you sign it?
You figure this one out.
5. “If you were to win £1m what would you do with the money?”
Tells you if this person knows what he/she wants in life and also helps you indentify their motivation factors /goals etc.
6. “How do you fit a dolphin in a fridge?”
The answer is: Just get a really big fridge / tests one’s ability to think outside the box. I say dolphin because I got sick of people saying “chop the animal up in pieces”
7. “What is it about this job you would least look forward to?”
Brings out the honest truth about their perception towards the job.
8. “Would you rather slay giant or 5 midgets?”
It helps identify how someone tackles daily tasks; ones who say the dragon often start their day dealing with bigger problems / ones who say 5 midgets often starts with checking off smaller problems.
9. “Tell me about a time when you failed at something.”
Problem solving skills etc
10. “What are the three words that your parents/closest person would describe you with?”
Standard question
11. “If you entered into a room full of people with different interests, what would you do?”
Networking ability / Indentifying introverts / extroverts
12. Why do you want to work for this organization?
Standard question.
13. Explain how you would be an asset to this organization
This question allows you to see ones confidence level, strengths and selling skills.
14. Tell me about your ability to work under pressure.
15. Are you willing to work overtime? Nights? Weekends?
Shows you if someone is committed to his/her job.
16. If you were hiring a person for this job, what would you look for?
This helps identify natural born recruiters.
17. How do you propose to compensate for your lack of experience?
I love asking this question not sure why but yeah.

I am really digging scenario questions right now...and I say throw your worst ones at them...if they balk, or say "oh my!" or get squeamish, they're not the right fit.  

I use actual situations that have happened at our company, and I cover at least 3 to 5 scenarios - some are even related to each other (ability to progress through a day/project, retaining what you've already done).  They are lengthy, and highly detailed.  I start by telling the Candidate - I have X hypothetical scenarios I'm going to read through to you.  I know you don't know our Company/process/policies, so just use the information you receive, and your previous experiences, education, or gut instinct to tell me how you'd handle the situation.  You may take notes if you would like to.  I want you to think/act as if you're already one of our Recruiters.  The company names I use are real companies, however they may or may not be our actual Clients.  

I use real company names to see if they think one Client is more important than another just because of the brand recognition.  The size or brand recognition of the Client only weighs in so much as to how important that Client is to our company - I want the Candidate to have deductive reasoning, so I'll sprinkle in some words that should trigger a person to look beyond just the client name.  

The scenarios quickly tell you who is a good fit and who is not because:

1. Candidate MUST pay attention to what you say (active listening)

2. They must catch all of the important details and leave the frivolous info alone (attentive, accurate note taking, able to prioritize important vs non-important info)

3. If they don't take notes and still get things correct - they have a great memory.  If they don't take notes and they botch the answer, it shows me they don't care about what they're learning, which means our Hiring Manager will have a heck of a time training them

4. I ask them to prioritize at least 3 duties/tasks - shows me if they can do that without us telling them how

5. Some times I do role play, and I play the "mean" or "rude" or "stupid" person, see if they remain customer service oriented no matter what

I recommend thinking of all the times you were frustrated, overwhelmed, stressed out at your work (boss is a jerk, client who is unstable & demanding, impossible deadline, coworker stole your placement, you lost a Candidate to competitor, etc) and some things that are more mundane though could be more of a regular issue (NCNS interviews, clients changing their minds, pay range not in line with market/skills, internet/database goes down, etc) 

IMHO, there are no "perfect" interview questions and you're always taking a gamble on their fit; in the information age, Candidates are well prepped to say a canned answer, or they answer the way they think you want them to.  I combine the standard questions with the scenarios - and just this week I've had 4 Candidates gush to me about what a wonderful, thorough, upbeat, pleasant, interesting, insightful and professional interview they experienced.  Good luck!

No offense to Jay, but I would NOT ask any one of those questions at the top of his list!  You can google the questions and find ways to answer them.  When looking for a recruiter for your company, first and foremost you need to determine if they are truly a 'people person'.  I don't mean a chatty-Cathy, or one who just talks a lot, but one who gets to know people and to whom people open up.  That would be a starter for me.  Next would be the ability to think through things (logic and reason) versus a linear thinker (ask a question, get an answer, move on).  Your logic and reason thinker will be able to discern true interest in a position vs someone who's interviewing for the sake of interviewing.

Next, I'd look for someone who has experience in retail.  Odd request?  Dealing with customers on the front line in a retail environment is very similar to dealing with candidates.  Not to mention, retail employees are used to switching gears quickly (store specials, new product, holiday items, latest trends, items they need to push to increase sales, etc.).  Plus, if they work off commission, and they were successful, you will know they understand the model you have (presuming you have a commission structure) and will know how to work within it.

Obviously there are are SO many other directions you can go in!  Find one that works for you and go with it!  Please, though, I beg you to avoid questions like 'If you were a rock, what rock would you be?'.  That person may leave the interview with a lower sense of respect for your company and I don't think anyone wants that!

@ Jay: IMHO, many of the first half of these are quite irrelevant.

For any given position, we need to ask the questions that will tell us:

1) Can the person do the job we need them to do?

2) Do I feel comfortable working with this person for an extended period of time. (The more the person can work remotely, the less important it is.)

The more efficiently (aka "quickly") we can get these  questions ansdwered, the better.






There are hundreds of generic sample questions you could ask,  but when I've interviewed recruiters in the past I always stick to uncovering core motivations by reviewing what they know about me (the interviewer) the company and the role.  An effective recruiter always gets to know their subject somehow and even if the person has no recruitment experience, they know how to Google!

@ Sarah: ISTM that the core motivation of someone at a job interview is "to get the job".





Totally love these questions.

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