If you’ve never worked directly with a recruiter or staffing agency before, it’s important to note that the interview process works a bit differently than it would with a potential employer.
In a traditional job interview, many candidates feel the need to provide concise answers, or “follow the playbook,” as it were. They give canned responses like “My greatest weakness is I care too much,” or “I’m a hard worker,” because they don’t want to miss out on the job.
While professionalism is always important, working with a staffing agency or recruiter changes the game a bit. The common staffing agency interview questions you’ll be asked are being asked so the recruiter can truly get to know you as a person, and so they can find you a job that you will love. This type of environment opens the doors for honesty, and helps you land the ideal career at the ideal company.
If you’re wondering what working with a staffing agency looks like, read on to learn more about the types of interview questions you’ll (probably) be asked, and how you can/should answer those!
5 Common Staffing Agency Questions and How to Answer Them
1) Tell me about yourself.
This is by far the most common interview question asked — not just by recruiters — and for good reason. When it comes down to it, your background, skills, and personality all heavily factor into whether or not you would be a good fit for an organization, so honesty is key.
While you don’t need to provide a comprehensive life story to your recruiter, you should give him or her a good idea of the type of person you are, what you are looking for in a career, what qualities are important to you in a company, and even what you enjoy doing in your free time.
The more clear of a picture the staffing agency has of you the better. After all, they are trying to find you a great job!
2) What are your core skills?
Recruiters want to know what you are good at — no surprise here, right?
As you prepare for your interview, make a list of specific skills you possess. For example, are you a talented writer or content developer? Are you gifted in writing code? Do you have experience in running heavy machinery?
Whatever your core skills are, be confident in them. The recruiter will use this information to ensure you find a job where those skills are valued and used on a regular basis.
3) Walk me through your resume.
Every candidate has a unique resume and work history. Some may have years of experience spanning different companies, industries, and even roles, while others may be new to the job market.
When you meet with the staffing agency, clearly summarize your work experience — why you liked certain jobs or companies is important information for a recruiter to know, as is why you left an organization.
Again, the more information a recruiter has about you and your history, the better.
Note: How your resume looks counts, so here are 10 tips for resume formatting.
4) What are the most important factors in a job for you right now?
This question requires some thought, and is vital to job placement success. Again, it may help to make a list.
Start with all of the possible factors you need to consider: salary, responsibilities, opportunity for advancement, location, small team VS large team, etc. Then, rank those in order of importance. This information can help guide the recruiter to the ideal company for you to work at.
If you prefer working at small companies, let the recruiter know. This helps them eliminate large corporations from their list of potential employers and narrows the search to smaller organizations.
The same thing goes for salary and location; if you have an absolute salary floor you need to meet, or if there is a strict distance you’d be willing or able to travel for work, these need to be shared. Plus, it isn’t as awkward to speak with a recruiter about salary as it is to speak with an employer.
5) Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten?
If you are only looking for a temporary position, that’s great. If you’re hoping to find a career with a company for the long-term, that’s great, too.
By having an idea of your long-term goals, the recruiter and staffing agency will be able to further narrow down the types of companies and roles ideal for you.