Why Did You Choose Me?
Finding out why a particular recruiter chose to contact you is an important question because often times it can expose an unscrupulous IT recruiter. They may not understand the technology differences or may be spamming you.
Asking why that recruiter contacted you gives you greater insight into why he or she thinks you’re a great fit for the company, and asking how they found you helps you understand the amount of effort they put into finding the best person for the job — not just a person for the job.
Where Did you Find Me?
The answer to this question will provide insight on what’s working in your job search. Did they find you through LinkedIn? Then maybe you should consider adding to or updating your current profile. Was it a referral?
Recruiters reach out to potential candidates a number of ways, but experts agree that if you’re in IT and looking for a job, having a robust social media presence is a must. LinkedIn is the obvious one.
How Many People Have You Placed With This Company?
This question is designed to give insight into the recruiter/organization relationship. Most people use recruiters because they think their relationship with a given company will get them an interview. Finding out the answers to this question will give you a pretty good indicator.
It’s important to understand the relationship between the recruiter and the hiring organization.
Is This a Contingency or a Retained Search?
If you are dealing with a third-party search firm then you need to know whether they are contingency-based or retained search. In contingency searches, recruiters are paid if they place the candidate — and whoever gets you into a company first can try to claim a fee if you land there. So if you are already networking into a company, recruiters are not likely to want to help, as the company can claim they knew you already and therefore they do not owe a fee.
In contingency search if you don’t get the position, but make a solid connection with the hiring manager and get called back later for a different position, the search firm can claim that the company owes them a fee for making the introductions.
A retained search means that the company has paid the firm to conduct the entire search. Whether you network in through Twitter, apply on their website or were referred by an employee, you will be interviewed by the search firm.
Why Is the Company Hiring?
Knowing why the company is putting someone on the payroll can help you better craft your resume and help define your interview preparation. Is this a new or existing position? What happened to the former person in the role? The answers to these questions will help you better formulate a strategy that will get you hired.
Is This Process Confidential?
A good recruiter will reach out to both passive and active candidates. As a result, many times you may be already working at your day job when the recruiter calls. A misplaced email or phone call and you could leave you with a lot of explaining to do.
Request Regular Follow-ups
When you are waiting for news from a recruiter who is submitting your resume and he/she is a no-show, it can get frustrating. No one likes the cold shoulder, so request weekly updates from the recruiter while your resume is being reviewed, even in the case where there is no news to deliver.
What Is the Hiring Timeline?
The experts we spoke with agreed that asking about the timeline is an appropriate and relevant question. A good recruiter will keep you in the loop and let you know if it changes.
Set Clear Boundaries
As you get deeper into the process of working with an IT recruiter, you need to set boundaries to ensure that your resume isn’t being used to spam potential hiring managers or that hiring managers aren’t receiving duplicate copies of your resume. There are less reputable recruiters out there who will push out resumes to companies that they have no relationship with to try and get a response.
You need to be firm that your resume is your property, that you will consider making changes that they suggest (after all, this is what we do every day, so we do know what hiring managers tend to look for in a resume) but that they not make any unauthorized changes or send your resume anywhere except where you have agreed to have it sent.
Other Potential Questions
In addition to the topics above, here is a list of additional questions to ask before you agree to let an IT recruiter present you to a potential employer:
- Tell me about the companies and roles you’ve suggested to me — what makes them compelling opportunities?
- How did you come into contact with this company?
- What can you tell me about the team and manager I would be working with?
- What are the most important deliverables within the first six months?
- What can I expect in the interview process?