Each company dreams of hiring the smartest graduates, young people who will grow in the company, the future leaders of teams and departments. But it is far from easy to get their attention, considering that most other companies try to achieve exactly the same thing. Everyone competes for the best, trying to get them onboard.

Simple job ads on major job boards, and sending out messages on LinkedIn, won’t yield any decent results. Companies need to be creative in their talent acquisition strategies. And that’s exactly why your new job exists. You will be responsible for devising unique ways of attracting and eventually hiring talented youngsters, for a trainee program, internship, or for a regular employment.

And then you will execute these strategies, with the help of other colleagues from management and HR department. Let’s have a look at the questions you may face while interviewing for this interesting job.


Why do you want to work as a Talent Acquisition Manager?

You can learn a lot, and earn a lot in this role. As you can imagine though, you should talk more about things you want to bring onboard, your skills and abilities that will help you attain your goals in this job.

Say them that you have a fantastic understanding for the young people, their dreams and wishes, fears and demons. You know how to translate these to unique job ads and presentations that will motivate them to apply for a trainee program or internship with the company.

What’s more, you have experience with the entire recruitment cycle, and know how to execute the steps in the most efficient way. You are strong with social media, and understand where the young people spend their time (online), and how one can approach them successfully on these places, and eventually get their attention.

And most importantly, you have a true passion for recruitment and for working with people. You understand the impact you can have in this role, and hope to make something big happen as a talent acquisition manager.


In your opinion, how can our company stand out in the eyes of talented graduates?

You need to do some research to find a good answer to this question. And do not look for something obvious… Because the competition is enormous, and offering a trainee program for undergrad students, or flexible working hours, is not something ten other companies in the city do not offer to the job applicants.

But maybe the company stands out in some way–the products they work on, the value they place on innovation, the scope of duties they allow new employees to take care of, the salary offer, anything. Try to imagine yourself in a shoes of a smart University student, who’s slowly starting to look for their first real job. Is there anything in particular that attracts you to the company?

But it can also happen that they aren’t special in any way. It’s just another tech company, or automotive, or whatever. Not one of the famous brands, not a company that can afford to pay highest salaries to their employees. In such a case, I suggest you to say that it is exactly your role to make them stand out.

The way you will present the job offers, some unique campaigns you will run on the social media, or an individual approach you want to apply in your work with each single talent. Perhaps the company isn’t special in any way, but you can make it special in the eyes of the prospective job applicants.

What are your favorite sourcing techniques?

Try to talk mostly about techniques that work well in talent recruitment. I suggest you to emphasize techniques which bring you closer to your target audience. Job fairs, presentations at schools and colleges, one on one communication on social media, etc.

Another alternative is saying that you consider each recruitment project individually. You do not have a favorite sourcing technique, but always choose the most fitting one (or a couple of them) for the given recruitment project. Your choice depends on the ideal candidate profile, where one can find such candidates, and what the most fitting way of approaching them is.


In your opinion, what makes for an attractive employment brand?

First and foremost, employees must enjoy their time in the workplace (at least to some extend), and see a meaningful purpose in what they do. Money should never be the only reason why they get up and head to work.

Managers and creatives should be intellectually challenged, and feel that they are growing as professionals while staying with the company. Recognition from colleagues and superiors is also essential.

But the most important thing in today’s employment market is to stand out with the brand. And that’s exactly what you will try to do. You will try to create an attractive and unique employment brand, with your publishing and advertising activity on social media, job boards, company website, etc, and with your presence on job fairs and other events.

Remember that perception of a company does not necessarily reflect the reality of employment in it. And why it is important to stay authentic–unless you want to see most new hires quit after few months in work, you can definitely try to emphasize the good things while building the employment brand.


Imagine that you post a vacancy for a Management Trainee position on a major job board. You receive 100 applications. What will you look for while screening the applications?

Say that first and foremost you will look for individual approach. I mean, if it is obvious that a candidate just copy-pasted the same text from other applications, and certainly sent the very same thing to dozens other companies, if not hundreds, you will screen them out.

On the contrary, when you see that someone really paid attention to the offer, and adjusted their application accordingly, and perhaps learned something about the company, they will progress to the next stage of screening.

Then you will look for creativity on the resumes, and something that stands out from the pack. Certainly, most applicants will have no previous working experience (that’s why they apply for a trainee program), and they will have the same education.

But maybe someone volunteered for the Red Cross, or led a student company. Or perhaps they had their own startup (which failed) while still studying. Or the documents they submitted have some personality, and aren’t just standard resume templates with standards formatting and everything.

Looking for these subtle differences, you will try to identify the future leaders, people who can make a huge difference in the company.

And if you still aren’t sure, you will pick 30 best applications and do a short phone interview with each candidate. Five minutes is enough to assess their motivation, communication skills, and other important factors that determine who you will eventually shortlist for the interviews.


Other questions you may face while interviewing for a talent acquisition manager job

  • Tell us about an example of a successful social media recruitment campaign (one you ran, or just observed from a position of a job candidate).
  • You have probably done some research about our company, and what we do here. In your opinion, what can we improve when it comes to building our employment brand, and attracting new job applicants?
  • Do you have an experience with an applicant tracking system?
  • Imagine that we swap roles, and you lead this interview. What questions will you ask someone who tries to get a job of a talent acquisition manager? Is there anything you will look for in their answers?
  • What is a succession plan for a position, and what role do these plans play in the recruitment strategy of the company?
  • Have you ever cooperated with recruitment companies, or individual headhunters? What advantages and disadvantages does such a cooperation have?
  • How do you think I rate as an interviewer?
  • What is the most difficult situation you’ve ever faced at work?
  • Tell us about a time when you struggled to communicate something to someone. What did you do to eventually get your message over?
  • Tell us about a time when you demonstrated leadership in work, or in your personal life.
  • If we hire you for this job, what goals will you set for yourself for the first year in the role?


Conclusion, next steps

Interview for a job of a Talent Acquisition Manager belongs to difficult job interviews. It is a fancy job title, and you will typically compete with many other applicants.

What’s more, you will have to deal with plethora of tricky situational and behavioral questions, and demonstrate both your problem solving skills, creativity, and right attitude to various situations you may encounter in your new job.

If you aren’t sure how to answer these questions, have a look at our Interview Success Package. Multiple brilliant answers to all tricky behavioral interview questions will make your life much easier in this difficult interview. Thank you for checking it out, and I wish you good luck!


* Alternatively you can download the full list of questions in a one page long PDF, print it, and practice your interview answers anytime later:

talent acquisition manager interview questions, PDF

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Matthew Chulaw
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