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Are these inappropriate questions for recruiters to ask?

An article argued that some can cross the line and promise you the world in exchange for details that is not needed

While there are plenty of good recruiters out there who will go above and beyond the call of duty to help you find work. Liz Ryan recently wrote an article on what she deems inappropriate questions. Here are her suggestions for questions to avoid answering when contacted by recruiters.

Past or current salary

A recruiter should ask what your salary expectation or range is; however, there is no tangible reason for them to ask what you currently earn or have earned in the past, Ms Ryan says. Job specifications have pay scales for a reason and your skills and experience should be what determines your suitability for the role, not your ability to tick the right financial box.

Lowest accepted salary

On the subject of salary, you should not have to disclose the lowest salary you would be willing to work for. Ms Ryan says this sounds like intrusive information because it is, advising against supplying an answer.

Other interviews lined up?

This is not even remotely relevant, says Ms Ryan, especially since the recruiter won’t be telling you how many candidates they are putting forward for a role. Bad recruiters may try to push you to see whether you have received any offers yet; Ms Ryan suggests not telling them.

How old you are

Is this a relevant question? Ms Ryan thinks not, stating that this has nothing to do with the job and it is really none of the recruiter’s business in which year you were born or in which year you graduated. This information is readily available on your CV anyway; therefore, it should already be known.

How long you have been looking for work

Ms Ryan explains that there may be a common assumption that someone who has been looking for work for a prolonged period is becoming more desperate to secure a role and is therefore more likely to accept an offer that would otherwise be turned down. Her advice is to avoid this trap – know your worth and don’t disclose how long you have been in the market for a job.

Ms Ryan stresses that recruiters are contacting you for a reason – they are interested in your skills. Is she right in identifying these questions as inappropriate? While there are some potentially valid points, there is also something to be said for the thoroughness of recruitment professionals when searching for the ideal candidate. Are there questions that you would deem off-limits?

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  1. Where’s this article from the archives of the 1980’s? Most questions asked are relevant, of course it is a good Recruiters business to ask if there are any other interviews in the pipeline it helps manage expectations, if the candidate in question is out at (i.e) 6 other interviews there is a good chance they will be off the market fairly soon. In terms of minimum salary this is a question that in the right circumstances should be asked, if another opportunity came along that is right for them but not paying enough, we wouldn’t waste our time in presenting it to them.
    Current salary details are relevant – its market information. Is it above/below market average, is it what’s driving the candidate to move? I sometimes find statements such as ‘Mrs Ryan’s’ come on the back of an unsuccessful candidate application.

    • Tracy I completely agree, especially your point about asking if their interviewing elsewhere. Lets say for instance the candidate is at 3 other interviews, then i need to make sure the client is aware and make sure the urgency is created to interview sooner rather than later.

      I need as much information as possible no matter how small, so i know the best opportunities to put forward to you and also where to put them forward for.

      These type of articles also stem from failed agency recruiters, that are now internal, HR ETC.

  2. Totally agree with the comments, this is an utterly ridiculous article. Even the question about ‘How old are you’ is a moot point – forget whether relevant or not, it is illegal due to the Equality Act (Age Discrimination) and has been for a long time now (UK)! Who wrote this????!!! Also Christian, I am an ex agency recruiter, now a Resourcing Manager in house – not all of us are ‘failed’ and many like me know this article is nonsense!!!

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