MB Connection

7 Questions to Ask Recruiters

March 2022

Whether you are searching for a new position or not, chances are you’ve been approached by at least one recruiter for a position they think you would be a wonderful fit for. Even if you aren’t personally interested, someone in your network could be, so it is always a good idea to have a conversation to learn more about the opportunity. Here are some questions you should ask the recruiter in order to get a clearer picture.

  1. Why is the position open and how long has it been open?  It is important to know if this is a newly created role or if you would be replacing someone who has been in the role for a long time.  Perhaps there have been several people in the role during a short amount of time, which could be a red flag.
  2. What inspired you to reach out to me? While the recruiter will likely indicate if you have been nominated for the position, it is helpful to know if you are being approached as a prospective candidate or as a source so you can consider and respond accordingly.  This can give you great insight as to what skills this position requires.
  3. What are they looking for in the ideal candidate?  Position descriptions will outline the skills and experience desired for the position and describe a candidate who seemingly can walk on water. However, it is helpful to hear more from the recruiter about the needs of the organization and where the priorities are.  If you are unsure if this position is a fit for you, this could help gauge if your skills are a match for the job.  Additionally, you can use this to your advantage in future interviews as it gives you the roadmap to answering the question interviewers love to ask: “What is your greatest strength?”
  4. How would you describe the leadership style of the person this position reports to?  This is a great way to indirectly ask what your future potential boss is like. Working for a good manager makes all the difference and you want to ensure there is a match with what you are looking for. Plus, you want to make sure that you and your boss will have a strong partnership to advance the mission of the nonprofit.
  5. What is the culture of the organization and the team?  Perhaps you thrive in a collaborative environment with regular meetings or maybe prefer to work autonomously.  Is this a remote or hybrid position? Does the organization have staff members with long tenures, or does it have a high turnover rate?  This will give you some insight into the culture and you can decide if it seems like a good fit for you.
  6. Is the organization financially stable?  It is no secret that many nonprofits struggle to maintain financial security as the sources of their income vary. A recruiter might have an honest assessment of the current financial picture as well as any other challenges the organization may be facing.  It is also important to ask about the salary range. Ideally, this should be included in the position description, however, not all organizations are transparent at this early stage.  Be sure to inquire about this crucial detail so that you know in advance if it is within your expectations and nobody’s time is being wasted. 
  7. What are the next steps and timeline of the search? Understanding the timeline of the search process and when they want someone to start will enable you to ensure your materials arrive on time to be considered. It will also allow you to alert the recruiter to timing issues you may face regarding other positions you are considering.  Additionally, knowing the timing of the search will help you decide if this is a process you want to commit to.

Lastly, and most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask!  Hopefully, your questions will be answered with full transparency, and you will also be inspired to do your own research into the position and the organization.  Recruiters are engaged to help organizations through a search process to find the best possible candidates for a position and it is their job to provide potential candidates with information that will ensure a successful hire, so feel free to ask away.