Your conversation with a recruiter—no matter how quick it may seem—can be arguably more valuable than an actual job interview.
Why? They act as a connection between the employer and the job seeker, so it’s your chance to give a great first impression.
It’s also an opportunity to ask any questions you might have about the role you’re applying for, prepare for the one-on-one interview, and seek additional information to ensure it is the right position for you.
Here are great questions to ask recruiters before an interview, as advised by experts.
Megan Blanco, MBA, CTS, PRC
Talent Acquisition Manager, Loyal Source Government Services
“What kind of candidate is this company looking for?”
This question is great to ask a recruiter ahead of the interview because it lays out expectations before the interview has even begun. This will prepare you for what the company is looking for in a candidate and how you can position yourself in the best light. You can always start out with a broader question like this one and then move into specifics based on the information the recruiter provides.
“What qualifications and qualities are essential to this role?”
While most job descriptions are generally in line with what hiring managers are looking for in a candidate, recruiters can often give you additional information on which qualifications (or lack thereof) are deal-breakers for this position. If anything, this is an opportunity for you to understand the priorities for this role and use that to guide your response strategy during your interview.
“What soft skills is the hiring manager looking for in this role?”
Many employers stress that they can train employees on tactical skills, but there are some natural qualities they view as essential. Remember that recruiters are on your side and want to see a successful candidate-company match as much as you do.
Use their insight here to determine if your soft skills (e.g., ability to work under pressure or handle tough interactions) fit the situations you may encounter on the job, and again, use it to guide your interview.
“Who will be interviewing me, and what is the format?”
Knowing with whom you will be interviewing and what type of interview it is can also be an extremely valuable tool for preparation. Use this information to research the interviewers and find commonalities, such as where they went to school or where they used to work, which can come in handy when trying to establish a personal connection that may help you stand out among a group.
This also gives you an opportunity to find out if you need to prepare to meet with multiple people at once vs. a one-on-one interview.