How to Hire a Recruiter

A recruiter sits in their office.

Staffing firms play a large role in matching quality candidates with companies looking for talent. Many staffing firm owner-operators and recruiters are extraordinary relationship managers and have extensive networks they can draw from to find the right fit for clients, but learning how to hire a recruiter takes a fair amount of effort.

Asking the right interview questions is critical to hiring successful recruiters who can pay for themselves and contribute to your staffing firm’s long-term success. The following questions can enable you to identify stand-out performers and hire someone who’s worth the investment.

1. How Do You Rank Competitively Among Other Recruiters at Your Current Staffing Firm?

The sales field is all about competition. Ideally, you’ll hire someone who has a proven track record and even industry accolades. Beginning with a question that addresses top-line revenue and the candidate’s ability to attract both new client companies and hard-to-find candidates can help you hire a recruiter who compliments your existing business operations

2. What are the Two Most Common Objections You Face, and How Do You Typically Overcome Them?

There are often no more than two or three major objections that any recruiter faces when marketing to prospective client companies. It’s important to hear how candidates rebut specific objections. The candidate’s answers to these questions will provide you with insights into the individual’s sophistication and creativity.

3. How Would You Distinguish Between Your Sales Volume and Your Profitability Per Deal?

Recruiters who drive volume placements because they give the business away at 10%—compared to a 33% full-fee contingency—aren’t necessarily going to complement your business model and company values. A logical follow-up to this question is to ask about fall-off ratios, where candidates don’t make it through the guarantee period and fees must be returned to the client.

4. What Can You Tell Me About My Sales and Management Style Based on the Questions I’m Asking?

People-reading skills can’t be taught. A recruiter’s success in bonding with candidates and clients will depend largely on their ability to build immediate rapport. Watch for candidates who rise to the occasion by volunteering astute observations and engaging comments.

5. How Much Does Production Vary from Desk to Desk in Your Office?

Identifying huge discrepancies in per-desk billing averages may point to a serious issue known as the “rebel producer” syndrome, which can destroy camaraderie and teamwork in your staffing firm if you ultimately decide to bring this candidate aboard.

At first glance, it may feel like you’ve found the goose that laid the golden egg if the candidate in front of you produces $180,000 in billings in a branch that garners $325,000 a year. But in fact, that may or may not be a good thing when you’re looking to hire a recruiter for your firm.

For example, if there are three other recruiters and there’s a lot of employee turnover in those other three positions, then be wary. The candidate may be cannibalizing other recruiters’ clients or candidates. However, if those three counterparts are all trainees in a newly-opened branch, then the billing disparity may make sense. The reference-checking phase can help you sort that out.

Taken together, these interview questions will give you a clearer snapshot of the candidate’s manner of doing business—their drive, energy level, and people-reading skills, as well as their employee sourcing, client development, and marketing abilities.

Hire a Recruiter Today

Ready to put these interview questions to work? Reach qualified recruiters quickly with a free job posting on Monster.