Career Strategies Dec 08 2010

Five Questions Recruiters Will Ask You -- And What You Should Say

By john shinal

Tech executives and high-level managers who have never been called by a recruiter may be unprepared when such a call comes.

Before calling back, it's a good idea to have answers to questions that headhunters typically ask, said Jeff Heath, president of New York-based Landstone Group, which specializes in placing executives with large consumer technology companies.

Heath shared the following list of questions that job seekers should be able to answer -- and what to say when asked.

Why did you call me back?

Calling the recruiter back in the first place implies that you're thinking about new opportunities; this question helps the recruiter understand why.

"Is it money, advancement, a bad environment? Is the person overworked -- or not stepping up?" said Heath.

(And, no, trying to be clever by saying 'because you called me' won't impress anyone.)

What is your best contribution/accomplishment to your job in the last 12 months?

This is your chance to showcase your greatest strength. Don't be shy. "Sell yourself hard," Heath said. "Be confident."

What are your three top attributes that separate you from a peer?

Many people answer this question with something vague, Heath said. That shows "a lack of understanding of your own strengths." And if you can't name them, who will?

What type of job do you see yourself in next...and why?

You should be realistic and clear, Heath said. "This shows your ability to understand how you can apply and command the skills you -- or the recruiter -- are marketing."

What would you do if presented your current job today -- would you accept it again?

In your answer, you should talk about what you've learned and how you've grown professionally, said Heath.

Write to John Shinal

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