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Questions to ask the hiring manager when interviewing for a recruiting job

Published: 20 July 2022

Author: Jenny Finch

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Isn’t it strange how we can all advise other people about how to ace the job interview but when it comes to our own selves we often get tripped up and forget what to do?

Questions to ask the hiring manager in the interview

As recruiters, not only do we spend a lot of time interviewing and shortlisting candidates for our clients, but we also spend a lot of time helping coach and guide our candidates through their interview process, regardless of their seniority. We are there to help.

But when it’s you sitting in the hot seat, interviewing for a recruiting job, who is helping you ask the right questions about your next career opportunity?

We all know that when you’re being interviewed for a job, you’re going to be asked a lot of questions, and at some point towards the end of the interview, you’re going to be asked “Do you have any questions for me?” You can’t answer “Nope. I’m good” to this question. You have to ask questions, because not asking them conveys a lack of interest in the position and the company.

Types of questions to ask the hiring manager in a recruiting job interview

As recruiters, we tell job candidates this all the time, and we also tell them that you want to ask questions that show your enthusiasm for the role. Well, this also applies to recruiters applying for recruiting jobs, and it means asking questions about how you will contribute to the success of the company and where you will fit in, rather than questions like “How much vacation time do I get?” or “When’s lunch?” It means doing your research about the company or recruitment firm in advance and not asking questions like  “So, what does this company do?”

There was a time, not so long ago, when the interview was all about the client or person doing the hiring. It was an employer’s market and so they had the upper hand when hiring and it was up to the candidate to prove that they could do the job. These days, the tables have turned, it’s a candidate’s market and the interview can be more of an exercise in the candidate interviewing the client or employer.

This is your opportunity to impress with insightful questions and to find out whether this is a place where you want to work.

What are some great questions to ask the client or hiring manager when interviewing for a recruiting job? Here are 12 of them.

12 questions to ask the hiring manager when interviewing for a recruiting job

Who would you say is your biggest competitor and what sets you apart from them?

Or maybe you think you already know who their biggest competitor is, in which case, share your thoughts and ask if they agree.

How do you measure success with your recruiters?

If you don’t know the answer to this it will be very difficult to succeed in the organization.

What would I be expected to accomplish in the first 3, 6, and 12 months on the job?

Obvious question that will help you understand whether you can meet, and preferably exceed, expectations.

What is the most challenging part about this job from your perspective?

Gathering information about challenges can help you prepare for the role. It might also provide some insight into the company culture and specifics of the sector for which you’ll be recruiting.

What do you do to attract the best talent in the market and ensure you have a robust talent acquisition strategy? 

Shows you’re genuinely interested in goals and how you can contribute to them.  

What can you tell me about the team and company culture?

The answer to this isn’t just in what they say but how they say it. Do they appear to be repeating what they’ve been told to say – “We’re like a family!” “We work hard and play hard…” etc. – or do they actually seem to like their workplace and the people in it?

What do you like about working here?

Hopefully they have a lot of good things to say. You’re hoping for a genuine and believable answer!

What sort of training, onboarding, and ongoing support is offered?

Knowing how you’ll be supported and whether you’ll be provided with the tools and support you need is key to deciding if you can, and want to, do the job.

How do you set people up for success when they are working remotely or in a hybrid setting?

How much communication will you have with your team? Will you wind up working in a silo and having to scramble to get a manager’s attention or response to a question? Will you have access to what you need?

What is the company’s fill rate? Do you think that can be improved and how?

Again, this will show that you’re interested in setting goals and helping the company succeed. The answer will also tell you how good this firm is at what they do and how on top of their numbers they are.

What’s the client acquisition strategy?

Is there a set strategy to keep clients coming in or are they flying by the seat of their pants? If no strategy, they may struggle to find roles to fill and have heavy turnover.

What's your attrition/turnover rate?

You need to know if people are leaving regularly because that is always a red flag. If there is a high turnover rate this might not be a great place to work.

Why do people leave your employment?

Do they know why they lose employees and what are they doing about it? Cagey responses to these questions are warning signs. If they’re not addressing a turnover problem it will continue to be a problem.

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