What to expect in recruitment Interviews

So you’ve got yourself an interview, well done! But what do you do next? Interviews can be daunting so in order to perform to the best of your ability on the day, you need to do a bit of preparation beforehand. That includes thinking carefully about how you may answer the interview questions.

Aspire Rec2Rec have put together a list of typical question which you may be asked in a recruitment interview, as well as some useful questions you may want to ask them. Read through the questions, and think about the best way you could answer them. It’s better to come across a question you don’t know how to answer now than in the interview, as you have time to go away and think about it or do some extra research on the company, so take advantage of this. You should be prepared to answer questions on every aspect of your education, career to date and future aspirations.

Typical questions you may be asked:

  • What are your professional and educational qualifications to date?
  • Why do you want to work in recruitment?
  • What skills do you have that will make you a good recruitment consultant?
  • What experience do you have that is relevant to a recruitment role?
  • What motivates you?
  • What are your unique selling points?
  • What do you know about our company?
  • Why do you want to work for us?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years time?
  • What achievements are you most proud of?
  • What have you done in your career that demonstrates initiative?
  • What are your strengths/weaknesses?
  • How would your manager/previous employer describe you?
  • What aspects of your job do you find easiest/hardest?
  • Where would you rank yourself in your current team?
  • What qualities can you bring to a business?
  • How would you prepare to win new business?
  • What do you know about the recruitment marketplace?
  • What is your understanding of the role of a recruitment consultant?
  • When have you worked to targets?
  • How have you faired against those targets?
  • When have you demonstrated resilience?
  • When have you demonstrated persuasive skills?
  • When have you shown a competitive nature?
  • When have you had to deal with a difficult situation?
  • How did you overcome that situation?
  • What else have you done with regards to securing a position within recruitment?

You’ve made it to the end of your interview, and the employer has asked if you have any questions for them. Don’t reply with “No, I think you’ve covered everything”. This is your opportunity to find out if the company will give you the opportunity for the growth and development that you want. Interviewers want to hear thoughtful questions about the work, the culture, and the organization – questions that show that you’re really trying to figure out if this is the right fit for you.

Questions you may wish to ask:


  • Why is the position available?
  • What is the company turnover?
  • What plans for future growth does the company have?
  • Who are your competitors in the market?
  • Are you candidate or client led i.e. do they have more jobs or more candidates?
  • What is the company culture?
  • How is the company structured?
  • Which is the most successful consultant/team and why?
  • How many candidates do you interview per week and how? i.e. face to face/by telephone
  • What is the ratio of candidates interviewed to placed?


  • What training will I receive?
  • What are the long-term opportunities for progression?
  • What % of my role will be candidate generation and business development?
  • When are trainees generally promoted to consultants?
  • What commission can I earn as a trainee and then as a consultant?
  • What expectations will you have of me in the first three months/six months?
  • How soon will I be interviewing, going on client visits and making placements?
  • How will my performance be measured?


  • What size is the team in which I would be working?
  • How are the teams structured?
  • Which is the most successful team and why?
  • How competitive are the teams?

Once you’ve asked the employer your questions, always be sure to close the interview at the end! There are several ways in which you can do this:

  • Thank them for taking the time to see you, and if they haven’t already covered it then you can ask:
  • What is the next step from here?
  • When should I expect to hear from you?

But don’t forget, interviews aren’t just about answering the questions well. Here are a few others things you need to consider:


  • Make sure you are well presented – shoes polished, tie tied neatly, top button done up, don’t wear anything revealing
  • Plenty of research prior to the interview
  • Prepare questions you would like to ask at the end of the interview
  • Arrive on time or a few minutes early
  • Shake hands firmly but not too vigorously
  • Sit upright, be alert and attentive
  • Look the interviewer in the eye when you talk and smile as appropriate
  • Answer questions appropriately. Listen and keep it concise
  • Wherever possible, avoid answering questions with a simple yes or no. Expand your answers sufficiently to reveal anything which will enhance your suitability for the job but don’t waffle
  • Know your CV and any gaps that may be questioned and reasons for leaving jobs
  • Be honest about other interviews you have had
  • Back up competency based questions with examples
  • Appear to be interested in the opportunity even if you are not. Never shut out an opportunity, it is always better to have more than one choice
  • Show loads of energy and enthusiasm. Remember enthusiasm sells.
  • Thank the interviewer for their time and always remember to close!


  • Lie about your experience
  • Talk negatively about past employers
  • Bore the interviewer with anecdotal stories that have no relevance
  • Be facetious
  • Say any more than is necessary if the interviewer raises political, religious or economical issues
  • Slouch and appear too relaxed
  • Swear
  • Chew chewing gum
  • Smoke immediately before the interview – the smell can be off-putting
  • Fiddle with anything
  • Look into space/floor and seem uninterested