1. What industries do you specialize in and what segments within the broader industry? Some organizations may claim to be a consumer products recruiter, but when you ask for details, you’ll find their expertise to be in areas very different from your company. “Consumer products” is a broad category, so drill down here.
2. Following up from the first question, who were the last three or four client companies you recruited for? If your company specializes in the beverage sector, for example, a recruiter that has brought in candidates for a consumer toy company probably doesn’t have the desired contacts and industry expertise.
3. What were the last five job positions you placed in my industry? You’re looking here for information on whether the consumer products recruiter has found qualified candidates for positions similar to the one you seek to fill.
4. Why are you better suited to find my ideal candidate than my HR department and hiring manager? Companies are sometimes understandably reluctant to bring in a recruiter, assuming that their internal people can do the same job; find out why the recruitment firm believes it can do a better job for you.
5. What is your social media strategy? Social networks are everywhere and today’s recruitment firms should be actively tapped into these resources to find talent and to increase their presence and brand awareness quotient among job-seekers and clients.
6. What is your process for bringing candidates to us? The recruiting firm should have a defined process that’s been proven to deliver hidden talent to their clients – make sure you understand what that process is.
7. How do you find “passive” candidates for our consideration? These are individuals who are currently working, and aren’t actively seeking a job on LinkedIn, though they may be taking a look at jobs listed there. These folks may have the skills you want, so you need a recruiter who can help bring them to you.
8. Give me a recent example of your most challenging recruitment project in my industry and explain why you were successful in finding the right person for your client. A query such as this forces the potential consumer products recruiter to be specific about his/her ability to bring qualified candidates to the table; no generalizations allowed here.
9. How do you develop your contact database? Every recruiter will tell you about their amazing database. But you know the saying: junk in, junk out. A database is only as good as the effort that goes into creating, refining and refreshing it, so explore this with candidate recruiters. Sourcing should be an ongoing and dynamic process.
10. How do you qualify potential candidates? A good consumer products industry recruiter spends quality time explaining your company and position, making sure candidates are a good fit with your company culture, and ensuring there are no unusual gaps or red flags that could cause problems after the person is hired.
The best recruiters don’t exaggerate their skills or make claims they can’t back up. They don’t take the quick and easy route when finding top talent.
Sanford Rose Associates® is an executive search firm with a network of 65+ offices and over 100 search consultants in the Americas, Europe and Asia. We are committed to "finding people who make a difference®" within organizations by finding individuals who perform, exceed expectations, and assist the organization achieve its strategic goals. Learn about our Consumer Health Products Practice.
What questions would you have for a consumer products recruiter?