17 Interview Questions To Ask When Hiring a Recruiter [2024]

This may be our most meta interview questions list ever: interview questions to ask as a hiring manager or recruiter when hiring for a recruiter position. 🤯

All self-referential jokes aside, your company’s recruiter is the crucial bridge between job-seekers and your business. So, when it's time to hire a recruiter for your team, it's not just another HR task — it's a strategic decision that can shape the future of your organization.

To make sure you're selecting the right person for the job, we've put together a comprehensive list of interview questions specifically designed for teams looking to fill a recruiter position.

Read on for recruiter interview questions to add to your interview process to help you find the ideal recruiter for your team! 🔍

General recruitment interview questions

Before diving into the specifics of recruiting, it's essential to understand the candidate's motivation, values and background. When you conduct your next job interview, these general recruitment interview questions will help you uncover their passion for the profession and their dedication to staying at the forefront of industry trends.

1. What inspired you to pursue a career in recruitment?

This question delves into the candidate's motivation and passion for the field. It helps you understand if they have a genuine interest in recruitment and if their values align with your organization's mission.

2. What are you hoping to gain from your next role that you’ve lacked previously?

Ask this recruiter interview question to delve into the candidate's career aspirations and what they seek to achieve in their next role. It can help you understand their motivations for applying for this position and whether it aligns with what your business can offer them.

📣 Get the hiring process going with these recruitment email templates

3. Can you describe your approach to building and maintaining a strong talent pipeline?

A strong talent pipeline is crucial for recruiters growing teams at startups and enterprise organizations. Ask this interview question to evaluate the candidate's ability to proactively identify and engage with potential job-seekers. Their response should showcase their strategic thinking and long-term planning skills.

4. How do you stay updated with the latest trends and strategies in recruitment?

Assessing your candidate's commitment to their own professional development and staying current is essential. It shows their dedication to being effective in their recruitment practices and strategies and staying on top of their game in the ever-changing recruitment landscape (cough, cough — AI in hiring).

5. What drew you to apply for this job?

At the start of your interview process, it’s useful to get a sense of a candidate's specific motivations for applying to your organization and role. It helps you understand what aspects of the job or company attracted them, providing insights into their alignment with your organization's values and mission. It also gives you the opportunity to understand if they have the potential to be happy in this role.

📣 Brush up on the difference between a hiring manager and a recruiter

6. What was it about the environment at a previous company that helped you flourish or on the other hand, flounder?

Delve into the candidate's past work experiences with this recruiter interview question. It highlights what contributed to their success in their previous role and any challenges they faced. It’ll help you to gauge whether your company's environment aligns with their preferences and needs for professional growth. You’ll also uncover
how well they can adapt to workplace dynamics, which we know is different at every company!

Hard skills interview questions to ask a recruiter

Recruiters love their hiring software — and they need a lot of them to organize the hiring process and make the experience an enjoyable one for candidates. From proficiency in applicant tracking systems to sourcing strategies, these job interview questions aim to figure out a candidate's technical prowess with tools and strategies in the hiring landscape.

7. What applicant tracking systems (ATS) and recruitment software have you worked with in the past?

This is a pretty basic question but an important one. You may want to ask a question like this on the phone screen interview if you’re keen to get a better idea of how well the candidate knows the tools mentioned on their CV.

Aiming to understand the candidate's familiarity with ATS for small businesses and recruitment tools is essential for efficiency in modern hiring processes.

8. Can you explain your sourcing strategies for passive candidates?

In a tricky job market, passive candidate sourcing is a valuable skill in talent acquisition since it lets recruiters tap into a broader pool of potential candidates. Their response offers insights into their networking abilities and knowledge of techniques for reaching out to candidates who may not be actively on the job hunt.

Listen out for how they build relationships with potential hires who haven’t yet applied to your open role.

9. How do you ensure your recruitment practices align with diversity and inclusion goals?

Diversity and inclusion in the workplace are hugely important aspects of hiring today. This question evaluates the candidate's commitment to fostering DEI&B in the hiring process. See how they approach reaching underrepresented talent, minimizing bias in recruitment and ensuring a fair and inclusive candidate experience.

10. How have you put structured hiring into practice?

In case you missed the memo, structured hiring is a big thing in recruitment. It’s a systematic approach to hiring that helps ensure fairness, consistency and effectiveness in candidate evaluation.

Ask this recruiter interview question to understand the candidate's practical experience setting up a structured hiring process. Their response will help you evaluate their commitment to fair and unbiased recruitment practices, which can lead to more informed hiring decisions and better candidate experiences.

11. What metrics do you believe are essential to track in recruitment, and how do they impact decision-making?

Understanding the candidate's grasp of recruitment analytics and their ability to use data-driven insights for better, more strategic decision-making is crucial. Your ideal candidate should be able to optimize the hiring process based on data they’ve uncovered.

Listen out for common hiring metrics like time-to-fill, cost-per-hire and quality-of-hire, and learn how they use these insights to improve recruitment strategies and make data-driven decisions.

Situational interview questions for a recruiter

Hiring isn't just about theory or employee handbooks — it's about putting lessons into practice to hire and onboard the right team members for a business. That’s why asking situational interview questions that explore a candidate's problem-solving skills, adaptability and decision-making skills is so useful when hiring a recruiter for your team.

12. Imagine you have two equally qualified candidates for a role, but one is a value fit while the other has a slightly stronger skill set. How would you make the final hiring decision or help the hiring manager to make the decision?

This is a dilemma a lot of professional recruiters and their hiring teams may find themselves faced with when hiring a new team member. While it’s a difficult question to answer, the candidate's response can shine a light on their ability to weigh a candidate’s values versus their skillset.

We always caution against hiring for hard skills alone, but instead look at the candidate as a whole and their match for the role.

13. A new role at your company has opened up with a tight deadline to fill it. Walk us through your action plan to source and present qualified candidates within the timeframe.

This question assesses the candidate's organizational and time management skills, as well as their ability to handle high-pressure situations. By asking the candidate to outline their action plan, they get the opportunity to highlight their resourcefulness when the recruitment clock is ticking. ⌛

14. How would you handle a situation where a candidate you wanted to hire declines a job offer after a thorough recruitment process?

This question evaluates the candidate's professionalism and ability to handle candidate rejections diplomatically. (Recruiters get rejected too 😉). The ideal candidate will reveal their commitment to providing a positive candidate experience, even when things don't go as planned.

You can rework this question for situations where job-seekers may eliminate themselves from the process earlier on than the job offer stage.

15. Tell us about a particularly challenging recruitment project you've handled. How did you overcome obstacles and make the right hire in the end?

Get a window into your recruiter candidate's resilience and adaptability. This question encourages them to share a real-life experience, showcasing how they practically manage complex recruitment scenarios.

By recounting their challenges and how they successfully navigated them, you’ll learn if they’re someone who learns from past experiences and applies those lessons to future challenges — a valuable trait in any industry, especially recruiting.

📣 Need even more questions? Use these interview question templates to round out your interview process

Teamwork and collaboration recruiter interview questions

Recruiters often act as bridges between job-seekers and hiring teams. Their ability to collaborate seamlessly with colleagues, hiring managers and HR professionals can make a big impact on the success of a hiring process. Use these interview questions to delve into a candidate's collaborative mindset.

16. Being a recruiter often calls for close collaboration with hiring managers and HR teams. Can you share an example of a successful collaboration experience and the impact it had on a hiring process?

Assessing the candidate's teamwork and collaboration skills is vital in recruitment. This question helps you understand their ability to work effectively with cross-functional teams.

While you may be hiring for a single recruiter for your team, they frequently work alongside hiring managers and HR professionals. So, strong collaboration and teamwork skills are a must. Their response to this question provides insights into their communication skills, relationship-building capabilities and how they manage to make a great hire.

17. Describe a time when you had to mediate a disagreement between a hiring manager and a candidate. How did you resolve the conflict, and what was the outcome?

No one said recruitment was an easy gig. Conflict resolution is a critical skill for recruiters — they often work as intermediaries between hiring managers and candidates.

You’ll want to evaluate the candidate's ability to manage and diffuse tense situations diplomatically. Listen to how they problem-solve, communicate and maintain positive relationships with hiring managers and job-seekers alike.

You’ll also get a sense of how passionate they are about creating a positive candidate experience for all applicants, even in challenging (and awkward) circumstances.

Wrapping up the recruiter interview

In your mission to find a stellar recruiter for your team, asking the right interview questions can make all the difference. These well-crafted questions touch upon not only the essential skills and knowledge required for the role but also the candidate's adaptability, problem-solving abilities and commitment to diversity and inclusion.

As you navigate the recruitment process, remember that the right recruiter can play a pivotal role in shaping the future of your organization and the people who join it.

By seeking candidates who not only possess the technical know-how but also embody the values that align with your company's mission, you're one step closer to building a dynamic and diverse team. 🚀

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Alessia Musso
Alessia is a Content Writer at Homerun based in London. She’s been writing B2B content for small and medium-sized businesses for the last seven years and is passionate about helping people feel more confident in their jobs. When she’s not researching all the ways growing teams can improve their hiring, she’s probably thinking about pasta, books, craft beer, and the importance of the Oxford comma.

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