14 Questions To Ask a Recruiter When Considering a Job

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated September 13, 2022 | Published September 7, 2021

Updated September 13, 2022

Published September 7, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

During the hiring process, a recruiter may contact you to discuss the details of your application. When speaking to a recruiter for the first time, it's important to get as much information about the job as you can to evaluate whether it's the most suitable for you. To better understand the position, company and requirements, consider having a list of questions you can ask the recruiter when you speak with them. In this article, we discuss 14 important questions to ask a recruiter when considering an open position.

Related: Reasons to Use a Recruiter to Find a Job (With Helpful Tips)

14 questions to ask a recruiter

Consider the following example questions when speaking to a recruiter about your job application:

1. What is the job description?

Asking this question can give you a better understanding of what responsibilities you're capable of taking on, how the job duties match your experience and how the role can help you further develop your skills. The name of the role or job title only provides a general idea of what the position requires. When speaking to the recruiter, ask about the specific job duties that the employer expects of the role.

Read more: Job Description vs. Job Specification: A Definitive Guide

2. How long has the position been open?

Knowing how long the employer has been trying to fill the position can tell you more about the hiring process. For instance, if the employer recently opened the position, you may be among the first applicants the recruiter contacts. This can also mean a longer hiring process, as the recruiter may have more candidates to interview before selecting someone for the job.

In contrast, if the job has been vacant for several months or more, this can indicate that the employer is selective about credentials or skills or that there may be some challenges related to the role. No matter the circumstance, the recruiter's answer can give you more information about the position.

3. How quickly are you looking to fill the position?

This question can tell you more about the recruiting and interviewing processes and how long you might expect to wait before hearing the employer's decision. If the organization wants to hire immediately, the employer may contact you shortly after your interview to let you know their decision. However, if the hiring manager dedicates more time to the interviewing and selection processes, you may need to wait longer before following up after your interview.

Related: 17 Smart Questions To Ask a Manager

4. How did this position become available?

The recruiter can provide valuable insight into the nature of the position. For instance, this question lets you know why the previous employee left the job or if the role is a new development for the company. If the prior employee left the job due to a promotion, this could also tell you that the company supports advancement and development opportunities for its employees. You may also gain insight into how the organization structures its advancement tiers so you have a better idea of how long you might have to wait before moving up.

5. Why haven't you selected a candidate yet?

Knowing why other applicants didn't meet the employer's criteria can help you understand what requirements you need to meet for consideration. The recruiter can also give you more information about what the hiring manager is looking for, such as specific experiences or a particular skill. For example, if you learn that the hiring manager is looking for specific expertise in a particular software program that other candidates didn't have, you can develop or highlight your proficiency with the program to better position yourself for the job.

6. What's turnover like at this company?

Employee turnover can come from a variety of factors, including upward mobility. This question can give you more information about the turnover rate for this position and organization. If the turnover is high, this can indicate some challenges with the position or the company as a whole. However, a lower turnover can demonstrate that employees tend to stay longer at the company. Knowing more about this information can help you better determine if the position is right for you.

Related: How To Calculate Employee Rate of Turnover (With Examples)

7. What are the most important skills for the job?

Asking this question can tell you more about the qualifications, experience and skills the employer values most. Understanding what the hiring manager is looking for can help you highlight the most relevant traits in your resume and cover letter. Additionally, the recruiter can help you better evaluate your current skill set to determine whether your qualifications match the job requirements or if it would be more beneficial to wait for a more suitable position to open up.

Related: Transferable Job Skills You Need for Any Industry

8. What's the company culture like?

Understanding what the work environment is like can tell you more about the company's culture and values. Knowing whether the company culture matches your personality can help you better evaluate job suitability. For instance, companies with a more team-based structure and inclusive management styles often encourage staff participation across different areas. In a more formal structure, your role may be more focused on one area. Think about your ideal work environment, managerial support structure and overall values to understand how the role supports your career objectives.

Related: How To Learn More About a Company's Culture

9. Are you the only recruiter working for this company?

If the company you're applying to works with multiple recruiters, this can tell you that there may be more applicants hiring managers are considering, making the hiring process last longer. In this case, consider asking the recruiter about their process with other applicants to better understand what to expect when waiting for the hiring manager's follow-up. If the company only works with one recruiter, you may have a better chance at an invitation to interview because the recruiter may be considering only a few candidates.

10. What is your relationship with the hiring manager?

This question is important for understanding how the hiring manager makes decisions and how closely they work with the recruiter. Knowing this can give you more insight into how much the recruiter knows about the role, hiring process, and selection criteria. In most cases, recruiters work directly with the hiring manager and communicate with them often. This can mean learning more details about the job and even about more opportunities with the organization.

Related: What Is a Recruiter vs. Hiring Manager? (With Differences)

11. What can you tell me about the hiring manager?

Once you know more about the recruiter's relationship with the hiring manager, this question can help you get a better idea of what their interview style is like, how much experience they have in the hiring process and what kind of background they have. Consider asking about the hiring manager's personality, length of time with the company, and how they prefer to structure their interviews. Knowing these details gives you more insight into structuring your cover letter and preparing for an interview.

Related: A Guide to Answering Challenging Interview Questions

12. What types of interview questions should I expect?

The recruiter can also give you information about the style of interview hiring managers prefer and examples of the types of questions you should expect. These details can be helpful as you get ready to meet with interviewers. Sometimes, recruiters set up practice interviews with applicants to help them better prepare. If the recruiter offers to practice with you, consider using the opportunity to improve your interview skills and formulate your responses so you're ready to meet with the hiring manager.

Related: 19 Common Interview Questions and Answers

13. Would you recommend any changes to my resume or cover letter?

Consider asking this question to understand which aspects of your resume and cover letter you can improve. Recruiters often review many applications and carefully evaluate candidates' resumes and cover letters before requesting a meeting. Asking for feedback can help you tailor your resume for the job and develop your resume writing skills for future applications. Additionally, the recruiter may give you specific strategies for formatting your resume in a way that gains an employer's attention.

Related: How To Write Effective Resume Sections (With Samples)

14. Do you have a salary range in mind for the position?

Your salary requirements can be an important factor in your career decisions. This question can give you insight into the employer's willingness to negotiate if the income level is below your expectations. Other questions that can give you more information about the salary include questions about pay structure, pay frequency, and employee benefits. Additionally, consider inquiring about overtime pay if the option to work extra hours is part of the job details. Knowing what to expect for your income can help you better determine the job's suitability for your career goals.

Explore more articles