10 Questions recruiters love to ask and why we ask them!

So, you’ve either submitted your application for a specific job, or you’ve contacted us looking for work. Either way, you’ve made it to interview – Congratulations!

We’ve gone over the basics of how to ace your interview, but what questions do we ask? Of course, this can change depended on the position you’re going for, but generally, we have a reason for each question, even if it sometimes seems silly! Understanding why we ask them, may just be your ticket to success.

Here’s some of the questions that we and other recruiters like to ask you…


1. Why do you want to work here?

Now the key here isn’t the question itself, but the wording! We aren’t asking why you want a certain job or a specific role, but why you chose us specifically – why did our company stand out to you?

Be specific. We’re assuming you’ve already done your research on the company and picked our values. Whether it be our social media is welcoming and interactive, whether it’s the things we’ve done within the community or even just good word of mouth, we want to hear about it. It also shows that you have paid attention to what you’re applying for and not just a one click wonder! Be sure to highlight all the positives during the interview as it shows you’re not just looking for any job, but that you’re looking to fit in within a team and adopt their values as your own.


2. Do you have a criminal record?

Now we know this can be an awkward question to answer if this is a sensitive subject for yourself. We aren’t asking you to pass judgement or make you feel bad, we need to know for lots of reasons! Legalities aside, we need to know that you will be a right fit for the company you are going in to. As we said – it’s as much about you fitting in within your work team as it is finding you a job!

TELL THE TRUTH! We cannot stress this enough. Whether it be a long-term stretch in prison or a petty mistake you made 20+ years ago that has no effect now, these things can make a huge difference to your employment and it’s better to be upfront now!


3. Why should we hire you?

Point out your personal strengths. “I just want a job”, although honest, probably isn’t what they’re looking for! You need to look at the requirement of the positions and utilise them!

Confirm your ability to learn. Having experience isn’t always the be all and end all. Sometimes knowing that someone is willing to learn and to be coached is a huge bonus and can be very attractive to an employer – especially if you’re going into a new industry. If you’ve had a positive experience learning and picking up new skills previously, tell us!

Work culture. If you’ve done your research, you should have an idea about the work environment that you’re going into. We don’t just look for someone to fill a position, we like to know that you are going to fit well within the team and be happy in your new job!


4. What do you know about the position you’re applying for?

This is similar to the previous question. We need to know that you’re committed to the role you are applying for – make sure you have done your research. Now we appreciate this isn’t always easy when we can’t disclose the name of our client at such an early stage! We don’t do this to be annoying or secretive, we promise. This is to protect the values of each client and take away any unnecessary bias that a name may carry. It also gives up the option to place you in a different job which may suit you better! This question isn’t to find out how much you have ready about the client, it’s there to see if you do really know what you said that you do. Again, we aim to place people in the best positions possible – it’s all for your benefit! It’s good to know you’ve researched the industry as a whole – what challenges do they face, can you offer any solutions?


5. Why did you/are you leaving your most recent job?

This is standard, all employers will want to know why you’re leaving, but not everyone realises why this is asked. Basically, we need to know why that role hasn’t worked out for you. We know this can be a difficult question to answer, depending on what the reason is. Again, as with all of our questions, it serves everyone best if you are open and honest. Were you fired? Explain why? This might not be an issue in the role you have applied for, if it is, we will always do our best to support you in other roles. In that case, it’s also a good idea to explain what you learnt from that experience. Did you handle the situation well? Maybe explain how you plan on avoiding that again in the future?

We like to know what your motivations are if you’re leaving your positions willingly. Are you looking to further your career? Are you seeking a higher salary? Do you want to create a better work-life balance? All these things are helpful for us to know when offering you different roles – there would no point us offering you a role with a varying shift pattern when you need to fit it strictly around childcare or the school run.


6. What is your ideal work environment?

Again, much like the other questions, this is asked so we can tailor our opportunities to you! We want to make sure your values are going to align with the company culture.  Use this opportunity to describe the things that help you work best and what conditions you thrive under! With remote and home working becoming increasingly popular, this question will be on the rise – If you thrive working within a team, remote working may not be for you, but we could place you in a group setting, where as if you struggle in loud environments but you would benefit from working with plenty of fresh air, we then know that you may fit well working in an outdoor role.


7. Tell us about a time you are faced with a difficult situation. How did you deal with it?

So, one thing that can be a huge red flag to recruiters is someone who claims to be good at everything – let’s be realistic, no one is!

We want to know that you can come across an obstacle and be able to over come it. We use this question to test your problem-solving skills. In the world of work, you are always going to come across a difficult situation at one time or another – we just need to know if you can deal with them. Whether it be an issue you found within your working processes, or a conflict with a co-worker – It’s always good to know that you can recognise your weaknesses and improve on them, your willingness to take accountability and improve, rather than just focusing on your successes.


8. The interview task.

Ok, so this isn’t a question. But it is hugely common for us to ask you to perform a test or a task during an interview. A lot of our clients do require a certain level of knowledge to undertake their roles, understandably. This could be for health and safety reasons or just so we have a general idea as to whether you’re at and what technical skills you may have. To avoid any disappointment, always prepare for this to be a possibility.


9. Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?

This is a great way to find out a lot about someone without directly asking probing questions. This will highlight how goal oriented you are, but more so, how realistic your goals are! You may decide that you want to stay in the same company, but progress into a higher role – if the role we were originally going to place you in can’t accommodate this, we’ll look at providing you with other options, if possible.


10. The random one.

“If you were an animal, what animal would you be?” “If your work style had a colour, what colour would you pick?”

The random questions, that are every changing between recruiters and employers. We don’t ask this because we are mad, or because we base our decision on your colour choice. These are often used to make a candidate feel more comfortable around you. This questioned is to determine either how imaginative you are, but mostly to judge how well you can think on your feet. This also tells us a lot about your creativity and the type of person you are because they can’t be prepared for! We aren’t focusing so much on your answer, but more so, your ability to handle the curveball!


As we know, not all recruiters ever will ask these questions, this is just a very small selection! A lot of the time the questions may have been sent by the clients with the specific things they are interested in. At least with a little knowledge of why we ask them, may give you a little boost on how to answer them!