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Michael Simmonds
Michael Simmonds

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Questions to ask when approached by a recruiter

They promise the world - and before the ink is dry on the contract the cracks start to become apparent. You don't fit the company culture, all your colleagues wear suits whilst working from home and your CEO is a psychopath...

How can you improve your chances of getting a job you really love?


  • A recruiter's job is to recruit and they have little technical knowledge (and will often get it wrong [sometimes it feels deliberate])
  • Companies are desperate for hires and will bend the truth to get you onboard
  • Remember you're bending the truth too. It's important to be mindful that everyone in the room is trying to present the best version of themselves... and that's OK.

Questions that work:
Spend time writing out the questions that matter to you, from your experience in your professional life. I like to think of this kind of task as an improvable process - good quality questions will illicit good quality responses. Create a process improvement loop by taking careful note of the responses you receive to each question and then refine your questions based on the response by rewording, replacing or keeping each question.

Have a practice. Just try turning on 'open to work' on LinkedIn for a couple of days - it's likely you will be inundated with requests from recruiters for all sorts of roles. Use these eager-beavers to hone your questions.

So to put my card on the table, here are the first set of questions I will be responding to recruiters with:

  1. What are the remote working arrangements at the company, and when did the company start remote working?
  2. How big is the company? What is the turnover and how many employees does it have?
  3. What is the time-frame for filling the vacancy and when would they like me to start work?
  4. Is there a standard tech stack across the company or does it differ per project?
  5. How is the company structured? As independently functioning teams or as a single structure with different departments (eg client management dept, operations dept etc)

I'll update with the responses I get, and how I use them to improve my questions.

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