Insights To The Interview Process From A Recruiter
May 24, 2021
Being able to ask a recruiter questions about their process was interesting. All recruiters do the same job with slight modifications to make it work for them. Here is a mix of questions asked during the interview that might not have made it onto the video.
I: Could you introduce yourself please?
A: Aubrey, one of the recruiters from Clark Outsourcing.
I: Why’d you choose to be a recruiter?
A: I didn’t expect that I’d be in this job because when I was in college, I’ve always wanted to become a doctor. And because of the pandemic, I’m here.
I: What kind of doctor were you trying to become?
A: Orthopedic surgeon.
I: Are you still going to pursue that, now that you’ve experienced this?
A: I’m happy with what I’m doing now. So…I still don’t know.
I: What was your major when you were in school?
A: I took psychology.
I: How were you going to pivot that into becoming a surgeon?
A: It was a premed thing.
I: What do you like about being a recruiter?
A: I get to talk to people, get to meet them, I get to know a part of them, and I also get to help them look for a job that really fits their qualifications.
I: Is there anything specific to Clark Outsourcing that you like about being a recruiter?
A: The thing about CO is that you’re at work, but it doesn’t feel like work. Does that make sense? I’m not going to sugar coat anything, recruitment is really stressful, but there are days where it’s bearable, most of my days are happy days (for me) because I like what I’m doing.
I: So touching on the stressful part, what exactly makes it stressful?
A: When people don’t reply to our messages and we just have to deal with it. This is actually normal for us. I’ve gotten used to it happening.
I: So it’s not the deadlines that stress you out?
A: I don’t know if I can say this but, the clients.
I: So deadlines are only stressful when clients make them really short
A: Basically, yes.
I: So on an average day, what’s your workflow like from when you clock in till you clock out?
A: The first thing I do in the morning is check Slack, Skype, and emails. Then after that, I check my job requisitions to see if anything is new or was closed. Then after that I source for applicants, add them to our ATS, then start making calls and doing interviews. If I ran out of applicants, I go back to sourcing and do this till my day ends. Oh and if any other recruiters need help, I’ll help them with their requisitions.
I: How many job requisitions do you guys have at any given time?
A: Before the process changed, I had 7 or 8 at a time. Now that they’ve changed, we’re assigned a client and we take on all their requisitions. So at the moment I think I have 4 or 5.
I: Is that a manageable number or does it ever get out of hand?
A: 4 or 5 is manageable.
I: So when you’re doing an interview, do you follow a script or is it freestyled?
A: We weren’t given scripts before, we’d just ask qualifying questions in whatever order came up naturally in the interview.
I: Have you tried a script? If you have, which works better for you?
A: I have. In my opinion, the interviews are a lot better when I have the freedom to ask questions in any order and to ask questions as the opportunity arises instead of forcing a script on the applicant.
I: Can you give me an example of a question you ask during your interview?
A: “Why did you leave your last company?” is one all recruiters frequently ask.
I: How do people usually answer that and how many people answer that question without lying?
A: I feel like only a small percent of them are actually telling the truth and a lot of them just say for health reasons or personal growth. With the pandemic last year a lot of the answers are “because of the pandemic”, which can mean the company downscaled or closed down.
I: How are you supposed to answer that question?
A: In a positive way. Don’t talk about any bad experiences you had with the company. The safe answer is to say for career growth. But obviously there are situations where that is a lie.
I: Is it ever painfully obvious when an applicant is lying to you? Is there something they say or do, if it’s a video call, that instantly lets you know that they’re not telling the truth?
A: So I’ve been doing this for about 3 months and I can tell when an applicant is reading a script. Whether or not it’s truthful is a different story. But when they’re reading a script, they sound a lot different. In conversation their grammar is a little off but once the script comes out, they’re speaking in proper grammar and their diction changes, it’s hard to trust at that point. It’s not genuine anymore. If it’s a remote interview and they’re at home, you can see them constantly looking off into the distance and it’s a telltale sign of a script.
I: Do you have any not so common tips for candidates?
A: Don’t add us on Facebook. You can try and make friends with us or some people even try to flirt. This doesn’t work for two reasons, 1 – it’s unethical and it won’t work with me, 2 – the clients have the final say.
I: Does having higher levels of English communication skills matter for the interviews?
A: Being able to communicate at a high level, both verbal and written, is actually very important as we have international clients. At the bare minimum the applicants need to be able to comprehend English.
I: How do you test their written English? What happens if they fail an assessment?
A: To test their written English, we actually give them basic assessments. These will include an English test, an IQ test, a Reading Comprehension test, an Attention To Details test, and a short essay section. In addition, we also send a personality test. All together, everything should only take 1 – 2 hours to finish. For people who are at work when the assessments are sent, they are usually sent that night or the next day. For people who fail an assessment but come close, we usually give them a second chance to take it. If someone fails and gets a 0 on everything, we just remove them from the application section for that job.
I: Only counting people who were hired, what’s the longest it’s taken for someone to get the tests back to you? What happens to the people who never reply?
A: Three days is the longest it’s taken someone to get back to me with a test and he still got hired. For the non responsive people who I interview, I’ll just mark it in our applicant tracking system’s note section, that way, any recruiters who view that person’s profile in the future will be aware.
I: Answering a recruiter with yes or no answers is a bad way to do an interview, correct? What do you do when people give you short answers?
A: In almost all cases it is bad to give one word answers. If they give a one word answer, they should follow it up with an explanation. Even before the interview, I try to build rapport with the applicants to try and encourage them to talk more. When they give me short answers and just continue to do so, even when I ask open ended questions, I’ll just ask follow ups, if none of that works I just write whatever I can and move onto the next candidate. A tip for people applying for a job, you’re supposed to show off in a way that doesn’t make you look like you’re bragging.
I: What type of person gets hired more often, people with more skills and a bad attitude or people with less skills and a good attitude?
A: A good attitude goes a long way and it lets candidates fit into the company better. Honestly though this depends on the client, if they need someone who is highly skilled the first type of person might get hired, but if they have to choose someone who is slightly less skilled but fits in the company better, they’ll go with the better attitude. In my experience, people with better attitudes get hired more often because the skills can always be trained.
I: Do you have any tips for fresh graduates who want a job in an industry where everyone hiring wants applicants with experience?
A: Being tenacious goes a long way. The barrier to enter certain industries is being raised, especially with the pandemic. Lots of highly skilled people were let go from their positions and there is more competition. Other than being patient, keep applying, be well prepared for the interview, I’d probably tell fresh grads to take a position in a company they like and work at it for a while. For example if you wanted to become a recruiter, other than applying for recruitment positions, also look at jobs related to it like an applicant sourcer or even a data entry position in the recruitment department.
I: How much of an impact does being a referral make versus just applying the regular way?
A: In my experience referrals generally have a better shot. Most of the referrals I’ve spoken to already have all the requirements needed to get the job, which is why they’re referred in the first place.
I: When someone isn’t fit for the job how do you go about telling them?
A: Well it’s the same for all recruiters who have to reject someone, we politely tell them they aren’t fit for this position, but we also ask them if they are interested in being reprofiled for another position. This means that if a job comes up and they fit into it well, a recruiter will call them again and ask if they’re interested in the other position.