It’s not you, it’s your recruiter: 5 questions to ask your recruiter

It’s not you, it’s your recruiter: 5 questions to ask your recruiter

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CV being rejected? Think you’re right for the role? Just want to get in front of the hiring manager and then you know you’ll be able to sell yourself? It might not be you; it might be your recruiter…

In this blog, I’m going to cover 5 things to discuss with your recruiter before letting them put your CV forward. Points such as those below could be the difference between getting interviewed or being rejected, so if this really is the job of your dreams make sure that you cover these 5 questions to ask your recruiter next time you speak.


5 questions to ask your recruiter.


The CV: Is your recruiter hell-bent on having your CV?

Maybe your recruiter has insisted he or she cannot proceed in the process without your CV. This may indicate your recruiter is only dealing with the hiring company via email, and this will likely mean a weak relationship between them. Remember, the best way to introduce a candidate to a hiring company is via the good old telephone and to tell the company why this candidate (you) is right for the role.The client should generally be able to commit to a phone interview or face to face interview there and then, with the CV to follow. This will happen when the hiring company trust the recruiter’s judgement enough to not even have to see a CV, which brings me on to point 2…


The hiring company: has your recruiter met the hiring company?


It could be a coffee at the local golf club, a pint in London or a drop-in to the office; they are all opportunities for your recruiter to build a solid relationship with the hiring company. How many times have they met? If not, then why?

The chances are that if your recruiter has not even been able to close a meeting with the hiring company, the relationship between them and ensuing lack of trust significantly limits your chances of getting an interview there too.


The Hiring Manager: Is the recruiter dealing with the hiring manager, or HR / internal recruitment?

Not to knock the people over at HR – they have a difficult job to do – but they more often than not deal with a very strict application process and may even reject CVs that a hiring manager wouldn’t. The hiring manager does the job daily and will be working directly with you, so they are the best placed to explain the opportunity and identify who would be the right fit for the role.


If your recruiter has direct access to, and even better, a good relationship with the hiring manager it is a lot more likely that your CV will be given the time of day and won’t be rejected on the off-chance that you fail to tick every single box on a corporate candidate requirement sheet.


The Role : This is an especially important one; ask your recruiter how much they know about the role, and I mean how much do they really know about the role.

If their response is anywhere close to “oh, well the company told me they had this role and sent me a job spec” then the likelihood is not much. How many times have you read a job spec and come away thinking about the ground-breaking in-depth revelations you have gained from it, not to mention what kind of personal characteristics you should have to be considered for the role. “You must do this… you must have this” … Boring and useless.

Your recruiter should be able to tell you what steps they’ve taken to really be able to home in on finding the right candidate for the role, and how you fit with that. A great example of this would include having asked competency-related questions to discover exactly how the successful candidate will be measured in their first 6 months to be deemed a successful hire. A question such as this also makes a great question to ask the company come interview time, read more about that here.


The History: How many times has your recruiter placed someone with the hiring company? Is it the first time they are working with them?


If your recruiter has placed 10 people in this company before, chances are that the hiring manager at the company trusts the recruiter’s judgement and is open to meeting the candidates that said recruiter puts in front of them.

Another question to ask is how long has your recruiter been working on this role? If it’s been 10 months and this role is still unfilled this will again give you a good indication. There may be a communication or relationship breakdown, or maybe the recruiter isn’t able to speak to the right people and is having to deal with complicated application processes that almost bring hiring to a standstill.

The most important element when working with a recruiter is communication. You should never feel like there are questions you can’t ask your recruiter and your recruiter should never be cagey in their answers. The best recruiters will keep you constantly updated throughout the process of working with you and ensure that the outcome is what is best for you. That said, it is a two-way process, and mutually beneficial for both parties to be open, honest, and responsive, so it is advisable that you always reply to emails and calls quickly, even when you are not sure or happy. A good recruiter can be hard to come by so make an effort to build your relationship as it’s likely there will be an opportunity again to work together in the future.


Good luck!

Want to discuss this topic further?  Another 5 questions to ask your recruiter, or would simply like to discuss your career? Get in touch with us at