Dear Recruiter,

I am a gainfully employed sales representative and for the first time in a long time, I’m going to start selectively searching for a new opportunity. I’ve started to look on my own, but I have not had much traction and I was told to work with a specialized recruiter. To be honest, I’m not sure what to expect or what type of questions I should be asking. Help!

Dear Job Seeker,

Thank you for reaching out and you’re not alone. I’ve been in this business for almost a decade and I realize that even the highest level of individuals can find themselves at a loss when it comes to knowing how it all works and of course what to ask when you get there.

Contingency-based recruiters have one job and that is to find top talent to satisfy their client’s needs. Recruiters may not have all the answers and have a plethora of opportunities to share, but keep in mind, it’s a very fast-paced environment and things change daily. That means that if they do not have the right fit for you then, they could tomorrow.

First step is to find one, either through your own efforts or perhaps a referral. If you are in sales, then I recommend that you contact sales recruitment firms that specialize in your space. Once you have found some firms, you want to qualify to ensure that you know what you are getting yourself into, so ask a few qualifying questions:


    • What is your specialty and where do you focus your recruitment efforts?
    • Is there a fee associated with your service?
    • Do you have a process? If so, how does it work?
    • What type of firms do you work with?


Want to get a bit personal with that specific recruiter?


    • How many years have you been in the staffing business?
    • How many placements have you made?


You like what you hear and you decide to set up an appointment.

Be prepared! If you think walking into a firm with no resume, padfolio, or suit is ok, it’s NOT! You want to make a positive first impression! Treat this like you would an interview with a potential employer. Remember, you are asking for help from someone who has clients that are looking to hire. Dress to impress, be early, have copies of your resume and be ready to answer some specific questions such as salary information, benefits, the reasons you left each role, etc. A Recruiter’s role is to extract experience that their client(s) are looking for, so be ready to answer. Telling a recruiter that you don’t know or don’t remember is a major red flag. How are they supposed to sell you when they have zero info to sell you on? So be prepared to answer:


    • Quota’s
    • % to quota.
    • Average Deal
    • Average Sales Cycle
    • Past 3 years W2


If you are serious about your job search then your recruiter will recognize it and will be serious in helping you. It’s a partnership and honesty is required. Now that you have been drilled with questions about your background, it’s time for you to also educate yourself on how it works. Here are some good questions to ask a recruiter during an interview:


    • How are you planning on marketing my background?
    • How do I get in front of your clients?
    • How often do you see opportunities that fit my type of background?
    • How often will you update me on potential opportunities?
    • Is my candidacy confidential?
    • What is the time frame of your clients?
    • What are the next steps?


You have to be ready and you have to trust your recruiter. It’s a partnership and recruiters are not looking to undermine your background, they are looking to improve it and make it stand out, so be open.

Good luck!


Published On: December 5th, 2012Categories: Blog News, Interview Advice, Job Search and Career

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