You are good at what you do. You are considered a leader of your field. But maybe you’re a little unsatisfied with your current position. Maybe you saw something that might be interesting. There are plenty of reasons to work with a recruiter when you’re good at what you do.
When you’re talking to a recruiter, remember that it is a collaborative process. We want to find the right candidate as much as you want to find the right job. So here are some questions that you should be asking to learn about the role and the circumstances within the company.
Why is the job open?
While this may seem like a prying question, it can be more illuminating than a question of culture. If the person holding the job was promoted, that can be good. But if the person left after a short period of time, or there are many openings at the company, it can be a warning flag for the stability of the company and a negative mark on the culture. Regardless, it’s good information to have.
What is the salary package?
While it might seem awkward to ask this during an interview, it’s a salient part of your decision-making process. If you got through two rounds of interviewing expecting to make $100k/year and found out the position only offered $50k—something that is not a hypothetical situation — you wouldn’t be happy. So, ask the recruiter and make sure that your expectations match any potential offer.
Clarity is important, particularly when you’re looking at changing jobs. Are there usually 2-3 interviews? How about a skills or knowledge test? What kind of time will I have to set aside for that? When you’re unemployed and looking this might be irrelevant, but being able to carve out time from your existing employer can be difficult.
Are you working with the employer exclusively?
Again, this might seem like a rude question but you need to know if a reference from this recruiter is a way to lock in the job, or if they’re a gatekeeper. If it’s exclusive, then there’s a better chance your resume will get in front of the ultimate decision maker. They will also likely assist you in crafting the perfect resume.
What should I know about the company?
Google can tell you a lot, but a good recruiter can tell you more. Where the company is going, why you’d be a good fit, and nuances about the people you’ll be interacting with.
What’s the job description?
Most recruiters will put a whitewashed job description (or JD) on to a board like Seek or Monster or LinkedIn. They have a much more comprehensive brief that they’re working on, and will likely share it with you once you’ve been through a preliminary phone interview.
Have you placed anyone before in this company? Anything you can share about the direct report?
If a recruiter has ever put someone into a company, they probably have a good sense of the organisation. They should be able to share with you stories to prepare you for the environment. That can include giving you advice for dealing with difficult people who may have built a negative reputation.
Remember: recruitment consultants are trying to balance the needs of their business with our clients and candidates. If we present bad candidates or people who are simply wrong for a job this reflects poorly on us and is of no use to you. So feel free to use your time to dig into the specifics of a role and company to decide if it’s right for you. And, if it’s not, just say no.
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