Applying for jobs via a recruitment agency: some tips & tricks!

If you are applying for a job via a recruitment agency, you may be aware of the extra stress that this can entail. You obviously want to be well prepared, because that first impression is crucial.

But what should you expect from the interview? What information do you share? What not to? And which questions should you ask the interviewer? Thanks to the following guidelines, the first step to the next chapter in your career will be easier!

The Recruiter’s questions

A general run-through of your CV is often one of the first points in a job interview. You will have the chance to introduce yourself and explain details of your studies and work experiences, but the recruiter will naturally want to know more about you than the subject of your final test and the companies you have worked for.

It is the recruiter’s responsibility to ensure the right match between your profile and their client. It is, therefore, important for the recruiter to clearly understand details of the projects you have worked on and what your specific responsibilities were. If there are any gaps in your work experience, the recruiter will also want to investigate further. Not to judge you, but to give a clear explanation when presenting your candidacy to the client.

Once your (technical) skills and competencies have been covered, the recruiter will also want to know whether there is a match between your personality and the company culture of their client. You can expect questions that examine your strengths and weaknesses, how you deal with certain situations, whether you prefer to work autonomously or in a team, why a company should choose you and whether you can give references to support your application.

Recruiters are not only interested in what you can do, but also in your expectations, motivation and future ambitions. Here, you are likely to be asked why you want to leave your current employer and how your future employer can make the difference? Which sectors or industries interest you the most? Do you prefer working at a large company or at an SME? What would be your ideal work day? In which direction do you wish to grow and where do you see yourself within 5 years?

Additionally, the recruiter will also want to discuss certain practical issues with you, such as any other pending applications that you may have, contract type, possible start date, and your salary expectations.

Are you obliged to respond to all of these questions? No! Every recruiter must deal empathically with your candidacy and they must understand that certain topics may be sensitive. Nevertheless, a good recruiter is not just a person who forwards your CV, but should be viewed as a partner and advisor in helping to find you the ideal job. A good recruiter can help you ask the right questions of yourself, will help you to take the right career steps and will even help to negotiate the terms of your next contract. If you want to extract the most benefit from your recruiter, it is advisable to maintain transparent communication with them and answer their questions as openly as possible.

What questions shouldn’t a recruiter ask?

There are of course subjects that the recruiter has no business with. Religion, political preference, sexual orientation, marital status, desire for children, and your financial capacity are examples of matters that are part of your private life and should not have an impact on your candidacy. Discrimination on this basis is, therefore, prohibited! If the recruiter still asks a peculiar or misplaced question, do not hesitate to find out why the question has been asked and politely decline to answer it if you are still not comfortable with their explanation.

What questions should I ask?

It is important to recognise that a conversation between you and the recruiter should create added-value for both parties. It is not only you who should explain why you are best suited to the vacancy. The recruiter should also be able to explain to you why the company is the right match for you and your future career.

When you leave the interview, you should to be fully aware of the activities of the company and exactly what your job responsibilities will involve. Be sure to ask questions about the company history, its culture, the range of tasks and the learning and career opportunities you might expect there.

You also have the right to know whether your wage expectations can be matched and you can ask the recruiter if they have an overview of the company's offer. Do not forget to find out what the application process is (2 or 3 interviews? assessments?) and how you can best prepare yourself.

Finally, if you want to know how you have performed during your interview with the recruiter, do not hesitate to ask them for feedback - they may be able to give you some extra tips that will make you stand out as the perfect candidate!

If you have any questions about how to prepare yourself for an interview, please contact us at One of our consultants will on-hand to help.