This is the post that you’ve all been waiting for: an Interview with a recruitment consultant…

We turn the tables and let loose the information; you get to read about the questions that you really wanted to know the answers to! Some red hot interview tips from an experienced recruiter that you can put to use.

For the sake of identity (reprisals or potential dates) we have kept the identity protected of our insider recruitment consultant. We’ll call him Tom in this interview.

Interview with a Recruitment Consultant

Financejobs: Hi Tom, how do you feel about being on this side of the fence now?

TOM: to tell you the truth, I’m actually a little nervous I think I have forgotten how a candidate would feel sometimes when they come to an interview. We interview everyday so i suppose we can take things for granted sometimes.

Financejobs: So what type of recruitment are you involved in Tom?

TOM: I work only in finance and accounts markets, providing recruitment and head-hunter services to mainly the banking sector.

Financejobs: What is the current job market like Tom?

TOM: I’d say that exceptional candidates are thin on the ground; however with the current economic uncertainty it has made senior staff think before they leave, so the amount of high calibre candidates has dropped. It’s always a see-saw because when this happens it means our clients become more determined to find the best employee for their role. In candidate driven markets I have seen recently some employers deliver exceptional packages that have been negotiated because the candidate shortfall is so high.

Financejobs: why do recruitment consultants always ask what are your strengths and weaknesses?

Tom: I suppose we want to see if you can actually think. Your answer will tell me how quickly you can put together a reasonable answer. There is actually no right or wrong answer but I want to see if you can think on your feet.

Interview with a Recruitment Consultant

Financejobs: What is the right answer to “where do you want to be in 5 years”

Tom: I want to find out how dedicated the person is, however this is a double edged sword for me because with this type of question I’ll also be looking at the candidates body language more than their answer.

Financejobs: Tell me what impresses you about “good” candidates.

Tom: normally a good candidate can demonstrate within a few minutes at interview with me that they can build trust and rapport. If they cannot do this then already they have diminished there chances; after all my clients trust me to give them good candidates I don’t want to send them a candidate that I don’t trust.

Financejobs: So you are really saying that even if a candidate comes across well on paper that they need to treat the process like their main interview.

Tom: yes, absolutely. I’ve had some applicants really think that they are too good to be interviewed by a consultant, however in some instances we hold the sole agency supply for a number of companies and the only way to get into this employment is through our recruitment agency. This is why we are very particular and do a thorough job.

Financejobs: Why do some people get interviews and others don’t?

Tom: you really want me to answer that?

Financejobs: yes

Interview with a Recruitment Consultant

Tom: A number of candidates do not perform well when they are interviewed and from interviewing it normally brings out key questions about the type of person they are and their motives. How they dress, how they speak, and why they are looking for a new role will often make or break their application. Just because you are nervous at interview does not mean I won’t progress your application.

Financejobs: Would you not progress a candidate on the basis of how they look?

Tom: Normally no. But I certainly would put weight on it. When I come down to shortlisting I look at all the candidate details. I need to look at a broad picture about how they will fit into the existing team, will they be able to work with the line manager, and is their previous career history going to benefit them or be a hindrance.

Financejobs: Well thanks Tom, it was a pleasure to interview to you.

Tom: did I get the job?

Finacejobs: we’ll let you know soon.