How to Crush Your Technical Recruiter Interview, Part 1

interview tips Apr 21, 2022
Crushing it

There are a number of questions that you may get asked during a Technical Recruiter interview. Some of these questions may be rather challenging. In today’s article, we will cover some of the typical questions you might be asked and key themes that will likely be covered during your interview.

Item #1—Recruiting

This is a recruiting role, so this theme is a great place to start. Most recruiting questions will be about difficult hires or recruiting strategies. Some behavioral questions might be along the following lines:

  • Tell me about a time you had to fill a role with a short deadline?
  • Tell me about a role that you were able to fill that no one else could?
  • Tell me about a time you had to work with a difficult hiring manager?

The good news is you are already going to have these examples from your past, and they should showcase your recruiting skills. Just remember to really focus on the specific recruiting activities you did and less about the story. These examples are typically going to be robust. It’s okay to end your answers with follow-up questions.

On the open-ended side, it can get more challenging:

  • What are some unique strategies you might utilize to fill positions?
  • A critical position has been open for a year. How do you fill it?
  • You are tasked with staffing a 50-person engineering office in a location we do not currently exist. How would you do it? 

For these types of open-ended questions, remember to use the C.F.A.S. (Clarify. Framework. Assumptions. Solution.) method. And do not forget to utilize data.

Item #2—Sourcing

Any great Technical Recruiter is also going to have to source, even with a robust sourcing team. Some common questions might include:

  • How would you go about creating and utilizing a Boolean string?
  • Tell me about the most creative candidate you ever sourced?
  • I want you to imagine you can’t access LinkedIn. How would you source candidates?
  • How do you go about building a strong relationship with a sourcing team? 

These questions are designed to demonstrate your overall sourcing skillset. Remember you are interviewing for a recruiting role. On the flip side, you also have to show how you collaborate and build relationships with the sourcing team. You want to share how you go about it and the importance of inclusivity when working with a sourcing team.

Item #3—Hiring Manager

I want you to think about both sides of the coin. Recall times when it has gone really well in your career, and times when maybe it didn’t go so smoothly with a hiring manager. Think about the overall process, strategies and proactive steps you implemented. Some questions that might come up include:

  • How do you make sure the hiring manager has the right requirements?
  • Tell me about your most successful hiring manager relationship?
  • If a hiring manager is not responsive, what do you do?

Item #4—Commonly Asked

Here, we want to focus on the conflict and failure questions. Recruiters are very likely to get these types of questions:

  • Tell me about a time you had a conflict with a hiring manager?
  • Tell me about a time you failed to hit your numbers?

These are stories where you must focus on the positive. You have to get to that failure or challenging opportunity really quickly. Then, you will detail the actions you took to make things better. You will also want to cover your learnings and applied learnings at the end of your answer. Show what you learned from the experience and how you applied them to future recruiting efforts.

Item #5—Inclusivity

Inclusivity is probably one of the most critical items that will come up in a Technical Recruiter interview. It’s because Recruiters have a direct impact on inclusivity. It is impactful on multiple levels, including dealing with the hiring managers, and building inclusive job descriptions and  interview panels. Here are some questions you might get:

  • How do you build an inclusive candidate pipeline?
  • Tell me about a time you worked with a Hiring Manager to make inclusivity a priority?
  • What are the steps you take to ensure the job description and interview panels are inclusive?

Item #6—Organization

We know this is a key missing skill set for a lot of Recruiters. On the behavioral side, your questions might be:

  • Tell me about a time your organizational skills helped the process thrive?
  • Provide an example of a time when your organizational skills created a great candidate experience?

The second question is a big one for Recruiters. Think about how you have utilized your calendar and organization systems to improve your recruiting and candidate follow-up processes. Additional questions might include:

  •   How do you organize candidate data?
  •   How do you block out time for sourcing and follow-ups?
  •   How do you time-block email?
  •   What is your system for getting back to candidates in a timely manner?

Item #7—Prioritization

This goes hand-in-hand with organization, but it’s worth highlighting as its own key category. It is such a critical item. The interviewer wants to see how you have been creative and how you prioritize key recruiting issues. Here’s a very common behavioral question:

  •   Tell me about a time you had two hiring priorities and how you prioritize those two critical hiring needs?

On the open-ended side, you may want to ask several clarifying questions of your own:

  •   Have I ever worked on these jobs before?
  •   Is it the same or different Hiring Managers?
  •   Have these positions been open for a month, a quarter, or longer?
  •   Are the roles in the same or different locations? 

The goal is to understand the scenario as much as possible by gathering this important data. Then, you can provide a more thoughtful answer to show how you would prioritize your activities.

We will be covering the rest of the items in Part 2 of this article next week. To view my full video on this topic with even more insight and examples, watch below:

For more information about interview coaching and resources, visit my YouTube channel, follow my blog or sign up on Practice Interviews.


Jeff H. Sipe

Jeff has interviewed over 1000 people in his career and previously spent five years working at Google headquarters in Silicon Valley. You likely found Jeff through YouTube and you will find the same level of dedication in his one on one practice interview sessions.

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