7 questions to ask a recruiter

When you’re looking for a new job or your next contract, you want it to be an easy, stress-free experience. In today’s technologically advanced world, there are many ways you can search and apply for jobs including social media and online job boards and these can be very effective methods for quickly securing your next role. Sometimes, however, you might want a more personal service and that’s where recruitment agencies can help. You can pick up the phone, email or meet up with a named person who you can actually have a conversation with about what you’re looking for. But, if they all say they can find you the perfect job, how do you decide on which agency to approach?

Here are seven questions you can ask a recruiter to see if they’re the right agency for you:

1. Are you members of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC)?

The REC is the professional body for recruitment, which helps to set high standards within the industry. Any agency which truly believes in delivering a high quality, personal service to both its clients and candidates will be a member of the REC.

2. Do you have a recruitment qualification?

As the leading recruitment body in the UK, the REC offers a range of world-class qualifications in recruitment to help train recruiters at all stages of their career. The qualifications are not easy to attain so if a recruiter has successfully completed the training, you can be confident that they are able to offer a best practice service. A quick way to see if a recruiter has achieved the REC accreditations is to see if they have the following letters after their name on their email or LinkedIn profile: CertRP (Certificate in Recruitment Practice) or DipRP (Diploma in Recruitment Practice). From achieving certain qualifications levels, recruiters can become a member or fellow of the Institute of Recruitment Professionals and may therefore use MIRP or FIRP after their name.

3. How much experience do you have?

Like many industries, in recruitment, years of experience doesn’t always equate to high levels of professionalism or expertise but it is useful to know the experience level of both an individual recruiter and the company they work for. Everyone has to start somewhere so don’t rule out help from a junior recruiter if they seem to be enthusiastic and willing to find the right opportunity for you. A good sign is if they check they have understood your requirements by asking you questions.

4. (For contractors) Do you have your own payroll department?

Payroll will either be in-house or outsourced - both are viable options and there is no reason why you shouldn’t reliably receive your pay at the correct intervals. However, a bonus of a recruitment agency with an in-house accounts team is that there are less steps in the process so if you do have any questions or queries about your pay then they can be more easily and quickly resolved.

5. (For contractors) How often do you pay?

Frequency of pay varies a lot between agencies but one thing to be wary of is if a recruiter answers ‘pay when paid’. This is a clause which means that you will only be paid once the recruitment agency has received the money from the end client.  

6. Are you a sole or preferred supplier to X company?

If you have your heart set on working for a particular company, due to the exciting nature of projects you know they are working on, it’s useful to know what kind of relationships your recruiter has with that company. Asking this question will ensure that you can identify which agency can truly offer you the opportunity you’re seeking.

7. Can you tell me what career progression opportunities I have?

Recruitment agencies can either be generalists or specialists. Both can help you find a job but a specialist recruiter, who focuses on recruitment within a particular industry, sector or even skillset, is more likely to be able to give you advice about your career, which is relevant to your personal situation.

If you have any more questions you would like to ask a recruiter, please let us know by leaving us a comment or contacting us.

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