If you’re a first time job seeker or have been out of the job market a while, you may not know the best way to work with a recruiter. A recruiter can be beneficial to finding a job in a tough economy or industry; however, it can also lead to nothing if you don’t know the right questions to ask recruiters. If you’re contacted by a recruiter, here are some topics you should discuss:

The company
As a job seeker it’s important to not lose sight of the big picture. A specific job may sound appealing but the company’s reputation may be less so. If a recruiter contacts you about an opening, ask about the company’s size, locations and culture. Inquire as to whether the recruiter thinks you’ll fit into the business with your background and expertise.

The specific position
It may seem obvious to discuss the open position but there are a few questions candidates often don’t know to ask. Inquire as to how long the position has been open and why. You can also ask the recruiter if he or she has placed a candidate in this position before. This information can help you gauge the company’s employee retention in this position.

Ask which specific qualifications the employer is interested in. The job description the recruiter gives you will likely have a long list of what the employer wants. However, there are usually a few deal-breaker requirements. Find out what those are before you decide if you’re interested in the position.

It’s also appropriate to ask about compensation. Your interest in the job can change depending on the salary, bonus structure and benefits. Make sure to inquire if there are other perks, such as a gym, child care and public transportation discounts.

The recruiter
If a recruiter is calling you, it’s a good sign he or she thinks you’re a strong candidate for a position they have or are likely to have. Get to know the recruiter. Ask about his or her background and placement rate. Also inquire whether the recruiter only wants to place someone in this specific position or whether he or she is interested in building a relationship with you. If you find you like the recruiter and feel comfortable working with him or her, develop this relationship. The position may not work out, but the recruiter may be able to help you find a job somewhere else.

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