Behavioral Interview Tips and Questions for Staffing Agencies

staffing interview

Last Updated on December 27, 2022

Staffing and recruitment agencies trying to place the best candidate in the right position need to ask specific questions. With behavioral interview questions, recruiters and staffing agency owners can readily determine if a candidate will excel in a new job.

Behavioral interviewing involves specific questions that get at the heart of a candidate’s previous work experience and how it could determine their behavior in the future. Other types of interviewing techniques give candidates opportunities to say what recruiters want to hear. This is not the case with behavioral interviewing questions.

Understanding how to ask the right questions helps staffing agencies use behavioral interviewing to their advantage.

The Importance Of Behavioral Interview Training For Recruiters

As a staffing agency, you must give potential employers the best temp staff candidates. If a temporary employee misbehaves or underperforms, it reflects on your company badly, and you may not get repeat business from that client.

A behavioral interview is one of the best ways to predict future temp worker behavior based on their previous actions. Good behavioral interview training helps recruiters identify potential bad hires and stop them from progressing in the hiring process, saving your business a lot of trouble.

Tailoring Questions to the Company’s Needs

If a company is trying to fill an entry-level position, some behavioral questions might not be helpful as entry-level candidates might not have many job-related experiences. When the questions are too difficult for candidates, staffing firm recruiters won’t be able to find the right person to fill the position.

Regardless of the position, recruiters should pay close attention to the candidate during the staffing agency interview process. All of the questions should be situational and open-ended. Yes or no questions will not help recruiters get the information they need.

To get a full understanding of the candidate, the staffing firm recruiter should not interrupt them. Letting the candidate talk shows their ability to interact with people. Recruiters will be able to see how the candidate gets to the point and how they work through situations. While the candidate talks, the recruiter should sit back and avoid helping them navigate the answer.

If the recruiter needs more information from the candidate to better understand if they’ll fit with the company, they should ask. While the candidates are sharing their answers, recruiters should also watch their body language to learn more about their personalities.

Types of Behavioral Interview Questions

While interviewing candidates with behavior questions, recruitment agencies should look for specific traits. The only way to determine a candidate’s potential in a position is to ask appropriate questions. The questions should match the company’s needs, so recruiters should ask the questions that fit and ignore the ones that don’t.

Most employers are looking for employees with similar skills. They want them to have analytical and problem-solving skills, work in a team, and communicate effectively. Behavioral interview questions should cover all of the skills the employer wants from a new recruit.

Remember that each behavioral interview question should be open-ended. The candidate should have ample time to explain the answer. Recruiters can ask follow-up questions, but they should avoid asking basic yes and no questions. During the staffing agency interview, recruiters should keep notes.

Analytic Skills

  • Talk about a time when you had to solve a problem by using your analytical skills.
  • Explain how you solved a problem at your last place of employment. What skills did you use?

Technical Skills Required for the Position

  • What special training do you have for this position?
  • Talk about the technical skills you have used in your previous jobs.
  • How has your technical training helped you succeed in your previous jobs?


  • Talk about a time when you shared an idea with your boss at your previous job.
  • Explain how your listening skills helped you complete a task at your previous job.
  • Explain how you communicate a difficult idea to a colleague or customer.
  • How do your listening skills help you succeed?


  • Share an example of a time you worked in a team. What did you do? What was the task? What was the outcome?
  • Explain a time when a team you were on did not succeed. What happened? What would you do differently next time?
  • How have you communicated with a team member that you didn’t see eye-to-eye with? What did you do to get the job done?


  • Tell me about a time when you had to motivate people at work or elsewhere.
  • Talk about a time when you had to teach someone a skill or task at work.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to lead a group. Explain what you did and how the people in the group reacted.
  • What are the characteristics of a good boss?


  • Explain a time when you had to make a decision that other people did not appreciate. How did you overcome their disapproval? What happened?
  • How do you show assertiveness in the workplace?
  • Explain how you react at work when you know you are being observed by your boss.


  • Talk about a time when you had to adapt to a new task at work. How did you handle the change?
  • Explain a moment when you were interrupted in the middle of a task. What did you do? How did you react?
  • Tell me about a time when you did not agree with a change at work. How did you handle it?

Organizational Ability

  • How did you stay organized at your last job?
  • How do you organize your emails? Calendar? Documents?
  • Explain how you keep track of deadlines.

Attention to Detail

  • Explain how you pay attention to details while at work.
  • How did you keep track of small details while at your last place of employment?
  • What do you do to keep your stress under control while at work?

Other Tips for Conducting Behavioral Interviews

Running a successful staffing agency can be tough, especially when it comes to hiring. When interviewing candidates, ask questions that let you move beyond the information on the resume. Use the resume to guide your questions, only asking questions that fit with the candidate’s work experience and educational background.

For example, if the candidate has never held a leadership position, ask questions about how they interact with leaders. When filling entry-level positions, recruiters can ask how candidates motivate themselves, especially when they have repetitive jobs that might not be especially rewarding.

Each behavioral question should have value. When asking about motivation, recruiters should look for potential problems. For example, if a candidate struggles with self-motivation, the recruiter can listen for clues, without having to ask follow up questions:

  • Does the candidate give up when presented with a tough task?
  • Do they value the need for deadlines and strive to meet them?
  • How do they respond when a boss listens to them or doesn’t listen to them?
  • Do they quit when things don’t go their way?
  • Do they work with their teams to accomplish goals?
  • How do they use creative skills to improve a situation at work?

Answers You Should Be Looking For

Candidates answer questions differently, so there is no definitive guide to acceptable staffing agency interview answers. However, there are some things to look for in your potential employee’s answers:

  • They have done their homework on your business and have an idea of what is expected of them.
  • They can list their competencies and skills alongside real-world examples.
  • They can recount their working experiences in a coherent, focused story.
  • They answer your questions in an organized manner.
  • They have clear, well-defined career goals.

Questions You Might Be Asked As A Staffing Agency Recruiter

A job interview is a two-way street, so you have to be prepared to answer the candidate’s questions and ensure they feel good about applying to your staffing agency.

Here are some common interview questions you may get as a staffing agency recruiter:

  • Why do you need this position filled?
  • What is the recruiting timeline for this position?
  • What is the ideal career path for people in this position?
  • What is the salary range for this job opportunity?
  • How do you support your employees?
  • Do you keep in contact with the client?
  • Does this position have a high turnover rate?
  • Can you explain the job in detail?
  • Can I move into a permanent position in the future?

You should answer these questions honestly and to the best of your ability. Dishonest answers during the job interview may disappoint the prospect and discourage them from continuing with the hiring process.

Key Takeaways

Behavior interview questions can help recruiters determine if the candidate fits with the company’s values and culture. Finding new employees is expensive, and can take time away from finding new staffing clients, so employers want to know how a potential hire will fit with the other employees and with clients.

For example, recruiters can use behavioral interview questions to determine if a candidate prefers working alone or in a group. If a company relies on teamwork, then the candidate might not be the right fit if they prefer working alone.

Before recruiters begin interviewing with behavioral questions, they should undergo a behavior interview themselves. Understanding how the process feels helps recruiters ask questions more effectively. While answering questions, watch the interviewer’s body language to learn how to avoid sharing emotional responses with the interviewees.

By effectively using behavioral interview questions, staffing agencies and recruiters can learn about a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses without having to ask the question. They learn about a candidate’s ability to do the work that the employer wants, and as they find more perfect fits, they grow their staffing agency and its reputation for success.

If you run a staffing agency, check out our articles on the staffing associations you should join and the best apps for staffing companies.