If you're a graduate looking to get into recruitment and need to get a feel for the kind of questions employers might ask at interview, then make sure you research these graduate recruitment interview questions below. These questions and answers are taken from real graduate interviews, and compiled to give you an idea of what to expect and how to prepare your answers.

Example Recruitment Interview Questions:

What is the most challenging aspect of working in recruitment?

This is a subjective thing and most recruiters will give you a different answer. Common answers will range from frustrating candidates to pernickety recruiters, or even too many candidates for too few jobs. Make sure that you describe why you would enjoy the challenging aspect of the job that you highlight, and any ways you can think of overcoming the challenges you may face.

What experiences you have had during your academic career that will benefit you for a career in recruitment?

This is a typical question which you will be asked when applying for a role that does not fit in directly with your academic career. The best way to approach a question like this is to highlight skills that you have gained that the employer will be interested in. Good ones for this role would be good communication skills, analytical skills, writing skills and presentation skills, all of which are transferable from many degree subjects.

Have you had any experience in sales?

Not all roles in the recruitment sector will involve selling directly but most roles will require selling skills and indeed involve some form of selling. Many candidates will not have any experience in selling. If this is your then is will be a good idea to give an example when you have been in front of clients and have needed to use effective communication, have been particularly persuasive or have secured a deal or job due to good communication skills .

People often categorise recruitment with sales. What do you think about this?

At some companies, recruitment consultants and sales consultants are grouped together. There is a great deal of overlap in terms of the people that are desired. Both sales and recruitment offer a target-based and fast-paced working environment, and involve: client interaction, cold calling, fast progression and huge financial reward. Despite these similarities, they are two distinct industries, and an interviewer will expect you to understand and articulate this.

You should understand that as a recruitment consultant, you will sell your services to clients. This will involve a lot of cold calling, and a lot of rejection. You’ll be selling opportunities and roles to candidates and even selling candidates back to clients.

Recruitment is more personable and more consultancy embedded than sales. It is 'individual'-driven rather than product-driven. Ensure you understand the key differences, and can explain why you have chosen recruitment over sales.

Give me an example of how you tried to persuade someone in a situation, but failed.

In your answer to this question, mention the situation, but be sure to demonstrate that you are thick-skinned, and that this failure did not set you back. In recruitment, you will face a great deal of rejection, in both business development efforts, and when trying to persuade a candidate to pursue a career that would fit their career motivations and skills. For example, even when a candidate is perfect for a recruitment role on paper, their misconceptions about the industry, made so by corner-cutting and rogue recruiters, often mean they don’t want even hear you out. It is this reason you should focus on the recovery, rather than the failure itself.

What is your recruitment strategy?

Make sure that you draw upon hitting KPIs and targets, making lots of calls, and being thorough in your research, telephone-screening, and admin. Being successful in recruitment all boils down to attitude and work ethic; the company will want to know that you take the role seriously, and don’t just cut corners to make money. If you can find out how this company operates, then you can give an answer that references their practices.

Sell me this animal.

Ask plenty of open questions to establish what animal attributes the interviewer likes – sell to them based on their answers. If the interviewer says “I love fluffy animals,” for example, then really try to emphasise how ‘fluffy’ the animal is.

What is the biggest challenge facing recruiters today in the global market?

Your research into the recruitment industry should have provided you with a few answers for this question. Make sure that you mention the competitive and fast-paced nature of recruitment, which makes responding to new techniques and beating competition even more difficult.  Also, for contingency recruiters, if they can't get placements for their clients, they don't get a fee.

Why do you want to be a recruitment consultant?

Money needs to be a motivator for you, so ensure that you say so, and have evidence to back up this claim. As a recruitment consultant, commission, or prizes for high performance, will be the main ways that you are incentivised – if you aren’t motivated by money, then recruitment is not the career for you.

How would you construct your day as a recruiter?

In recruitment, it is essential to keep on top of things; an organisation needs to know that you can keep yourself organised. Many recruiters block out specific times of the day for certain tasks, such as tackling their inbox, resourcing a role, writing a job specification, business development, or admin catch-up. Refer to previous ways of organising yourself (university, college, work experience), and explain how and why you would operate as a recruiter.