Questions to Be Prepared to Answer With the Agency Recruiter |

The phone rings or a message arrives from a recruiter. What should be ready to answer before the conversation starts?

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I'm Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter. I'm the head coach for, a site with curated information that you can watch, listen to, or read, that's going to help you find work more quickly. I used to work in search and did it for more than 40 years, I talked to tons of people, most of whom were not really prepared to speak with me. And, thus,, I thought I would do a video today to talk about what you need to be prepared to answer when the typical recruiter calls, especially in a situation where you're actively looking for work. And then, there's one question I want you to ask them that I think is really important for you to hear the answer to.

So the first one is, "Why are you looking for something new?" Or, if you're not actively looking and they're reaching out to you, "Why are you open to something else? What's going on that prompted you to be interested in making a change or being open to my talking with you?"

Next one is, "What are you really looking for? What kind of role makes sense for you?" You know, what . . . If you're aggressively looking, what's the job that you want? If you're passively looking or passively considering other opportunities, you know, what sort of options are you hoping to? What sort of responsibilities do you want to have? And, in doing that, be prepared to talk about your professional strengths and weaknesses.

"What sort of firm do you want to work for," is another question you need to be prepared to talk about. And, you know, you can talk about the pie in the sky opportunities, but most of the time, they're going to tune that out. They're looking for a more realistic assessment of the size and scale of the organization, the industry that they're in, the nature of the culture, and some of the minutiae about comp and benefits and stuff along those lines. And that's going to include what the "must haves" are for you, and what the pluses will be in terms of evaluating the organization. These are basic kind of things you should have in your mental hip pocket.

I know it's a weird description, but it should be in your hip pocket and something that you can access quickly if you're reached out to, whether it's by phone where they're trying to recruit you, or they're responding to a resume.

Now, here's the one question I want you to ask that, particularly if you're not actively looking, and this is, to me one of the best things that you can always ask because they're trying to mesmerize. "We've got a client. It's got a great opportunity. They'll have you do . . . " all this kind of nonsense designed to create the illusion that they have a real strong relations with this firm.

Now, in that regard, I'm speaking about contingency. With retained, they may have that relationship. But clearly the retained firm, it is being paid by someone to hire them; the contingency firm isn't that close. So, when you're talking with this firm, and they're trying to mesmerize you about this great opportunity with their fabulous client, I want you to ask this question, "why should I be interested in this role?" That's a very, very simple question, isn't it?

And they may go through this "huh" response, or they may start to baffle you or try to baffle you with some nonsense, or they may give you a straightforward answer. Now, here's what you've learned with whatever version of the answer it is.

Number one is how serious a professional this recruiter is. Do they really know their client well enough to give you an answer to "why should I be interested in this job? What's in it for me," is really what you're asking.

Other than the fact that they're going to pay me and I'm gonna have to work for them, "What's the upside for me? What am I going to learn?" How am I going to grow?" Stuff along those lines? I think you, either as a job hunter, or a potential recruit, needs to know in order to decide whether or not to invest your time in this opportunity, or with this person. After all, from the standpoint of the relationship with the person, it doesn't mean if you get a stupid answer, that you shouldn't continue on but it's something to file away in the back of your mind about whether or not you can trust them to give you anything more than hype.

I'm Jeff Altman. I hope you found this helpful. If you're watching on YouTube, click the like button and subscribe to my channel by clicking the icon in the lower right hand corner. You'll get notices whenever I do a new video for YouTube. And I think that'll help you. Also wants to . . . by the way the icon is . . . let's see if I can do that . . . over there . . . And if you're watching elsewhere like on or at my website, subscribe! There is just lots of great options.

Follow me on I come out with new content daily in order to help you land your opportunities. Also, visit my website, Thousands of posts there that you can watch, listen to or read, that'll help you find work more quickly.

And I must have honestly say, even with as much information as I give away, it is not customized or personalized for you. That's where one on one coaching comes in. If you're interested in coaching, you can either schedule time for a free discovery call at my website, which is, again, or by connecting with me on LinkedIn at Once we're connected, message that you're interested in coaching. Will set up time for a free discovery call.

Have a great day and take care


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1700 episodes and “The No BS Coaching Advice Podcast” and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was named a Top 10 podcast for job search. is also a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.

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