11 smart questions to ask a recruiter & questions to avoid


Rachita Jain


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An interview with a recruiter is not only about the interviewer asking you questions. Instead, you also get an opportunity to ask questions at the end of an interview with a recruiter. Once an interviewer is done with his list of interview questions and answers, s/he will usually ask you, "do you want to ask anything, or do you have any questions for me?" As a candidate interested in that job, you should avail this opportunity and ask questions to the interviewer.
However, ensure the question you ask is related to the company or the job profile you are applying for. Unnecessary questions will kill your chances of getting that job. If you don't know what to ask the recruiter, don't worry. Please browse through our list of some intelligent questions to ask a recruiter.

Why you should ask questions to a recruiter

1. This shows that you are interested

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When you are curious about something, then you have questions about it. For instance, children are always curious to learn about new things, so they keep asking questions. The number of questions they ask shows their curiosity and interest. Hence, if you ask questions to a recruiter after his screen round questions, it shows that you are enthusiastic about the job and highly interested in it.

2. Shows you have researched the organization

Even to ask good questions, you need a certain level of knowledge and information about the company and job you are applying for. And when you ask questions after doing this research, it depicts the richness and caliber you have for research. It shows that you have an eye for details and are interested in things that go beyond the world wide web. Hence if you don't know what to ask the recruiter, then do some research. After that, put on the questions whose answers are not provided in the information on their website.

3. Shows you are intelligent and wise

Asking questions after your interview ends means you are aware of what you are getting into. It signifies that you don't shy away from asking questions. Only a negligent candidate who doesn't care about anything does not ask questions. Intelligent beings are eager to know about things, especially when they get information directly from the source. Extracting the right kind of information from the right resource is a thing only a wise being can do.

4. Indicates your decision to take the job

Asking questions to a recruiter shows your level of interest and how serious you are about that job. It hints to the recruiter that you are not taking this opportunity lightly. Instead, you are keen and would love to work with them.

5. It shows that you are smart

Asking questions to an interviewer is like adding a cherry on the cake. It improves the quality of your interview with a recruiter and shows your smartness level. When you ask questions, you break the redundancy and the monotony, which undoubtedly is the smartest thing you can do.

What to ask a recruiter

Smart questions to ask a recruiter

1. Ask about the role

Recruiters can provide more information about the job than you have learned from the job interview, job posting, and their website or from anywhere else. Encourage them to tell you everything about the job profile.
Once you have established the grounds, dig deeper to enquire about the position. It will also help you get clarity on whether you want to pursue it or not.
The human resources leader and founder of Hito Labs, Matt Cholerton, recommends asking questions like:
  • Who will I work with in this job profile?
  • How do your employees rate the company culture?
  • What projects will I work on?

2. What criterion do you use for measuring the candidate's success in the role?

Shock the interviewer with this question. Just like interviewers ask you about your most significant weaknesses, ask them about their criteria for measuring a candidate's success in a particular job. No interviewer expects such a woke question. This question depicts your level of confidence. Moreover, it will help you understand the kind of commitments the manager expects of you.

3. What are the challenges I will face in this role

When you are confused about what to ask the recruiter, then ask about the challenges you will face in this job. This kind of question shows that you are confident about the job and planning for your role. It shows that you know every job has its roadblocks but are ready to tackle them. It signals that you are proactive and prepared for all sorts of challenges.
With this question, you will get an idea of the kind of problems you might encounter in this job. Then you can decide whether or not you want to pursue it.

4. Why did the last person in this job leave it?

One of the most thoughtful questions to ask a recruiter is, 'Why did the last person in this job leave it? Just like the interviewer asks you why you left your previous job, the same way you can ask why your predecessor left this job. The answer you get from asking this question will give you the gist of the culture that company follows. After that, you can decide whether you want to work with them or go ahead with other options.

5. Why did you want to work for this company

Usually, interviewers ask you this question, but voila! It can go the other way around too. Everyone likes talking about themselves and their experiences. With this question from the list of questions to ask a recruiter, you can score a 10. On the one hand, you will get a more personalized approach while being entirely professional; on the other hand, you will get to know about the company and its values from the source itself.

6. What does a typical day in this firm look like

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The way people work is different in different companies. Some companies prefer a strict work atmosphere, whereas others like to have fun while working. Some companies promote team-building activities like sports, music, games, etc., whereas others don't. Some companies invest in their employee well-being, whereas others don't. Thus, enquiring about what the day in the firm looks like can help you understand their company culture better.

7. Do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications?

This is one of those questions to ask a recruiter that shows you are not afraid of critical feedback; instead, you welcome it.
Many recruiters note down the red flags, be it something in an interview with a recruiter or on your resume.
This question will provide space for the recruiter to ask the questions or things he was holding back from earlier. This open conversation will bring in diligence and will depict you as a being of solid ground.

8. How will the onboarding and training process go?

This is among the most brilliant questions to ask a recruiter. Being curious about the onboarding and training process is natural. It shows you are confident about this position and you are enthusiastic about working with the company. You will also get a brief idea about what this process looks like and whether you are up for it or not.

9. What are the department's long-term goals?

Every company has some long-term goals that it sets to achieve. Now when you ask about them, you appear like someone ready to be a part of this journey. A company's long-term goals give you information on whether it will help you grow in the field you like or not. If its long-term goals don't meet your growth expectations, then you can sign off on them before it is too late. It will help you save time which you can later utilize wisely.

10. Is there any dress code?

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If you don't know what to ask the recruiter, then ask about the dress code. Whether you want to wear a dress or not is a personal choice in many firms today. However, there are many companies that follow strict dress codes. If you are someone who dislikes them, then you have the opportunity to walk away. But if you are okay with them, then, by all means, you can go ahead and consider this position if you get the job.

11. How does this company promote diversity and inclusion?

As per the recruitment trends in 2022, every company is trying to build a more diverse and inclusive workforce. Diversity and inclusivity in a firm reflect its values. Questions regarding diversity and inclusion are those questions to ask a recruiter that depict how woke you are as an individual.

Things to avoid asking

1. The salary prospects

It would be best if you never enquired about the salary prospects of the job you are applying for. Let the interviewer make the first move here. After they ask you about your expectations, you can go forth with your answer. But unless asked, do not bring this up. It might give the employer the impression that all you are thinking about is salary, not job prospects.

2. Time off

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Asking about the time off even before joining is a deal breaker. It leaves an impact that you are a lazy person who is not interested in his work. And we are sure you wouldn't want the interviewer to think about you this way. Therefore, time off is not a thing to be discussed before the beginning of your journey.

3. Promotions

Instead of asking about promotions, you may ask about the criterion the company uses to evaluate its employees. Promotion is not a thing you ask for; it is a thing you get when you deserve it. Focus on your work, and promotions will follow the lead.

4. Benefits

Welfare schemes and other benefits are things that might attract you, but these shouldn't be the only reasons for applying to a particular firm. When you ask about the benefit schemes, it shows that you are more concerned about them rather than your work mechanics. Every company provides you with a certain amount of benefits. Hence, rather than asking about them, ask about the things that matter.
We understand that the benefits provided by any organization like competitive salaries, ESOPs, and paid time off can be a deal-maker or breaker. However, instead of directly asking about it, in your answer to ‘what is an ideal working environment?’ you can easily state the benefits you are looking for in a job. This signals the recruiter about your preferences without being upfront about it. Such questions should definitely not be a part of the discussion in the first call.

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