What Not To Say To A Recruiter

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Job recruiters are an excellent resource for job seekers. They are trained to access applicants’ skill sets and personalities based on the interview process. This allows them to match the right person with the right job. In order to get the most out if your experience with a recruiter avoid these “what not to say” faux pas during your interview.

I’m Only Interested If I Get The Maximum Possible Salary

Making money is one thing to consider when applying for a job, but focusing too much on the salary and not enough on your other career ambitions, you could make a recruiter believe that you do not actually care about the work that you will be doing. It is a recruiter’s job to find good candidates, and good candidates care about their jobs, not just money. Not to mention, you could offend your recruiter by implying that they are not working in your best interest in terms of salary.

My Needs Are Very Specific

Having a focused career is important, but not being open to opportunities can be a red flag to recruiters. Be realistic. Decide what goes in the “must have” column and what goes in the “it would be nice column”. Sometimes the best opportunities present themselves to those who keep their options open.

I’ll Take Any Job

You may think that this is exactly what a recruiter wants to hear. However, by indicating that you would take any job, what you may be saying is that you are desperate, that you lack focus and/or applicable skills. Instead consider your job skills and what jobs they can be applied to. This will focus your career and give you the best chance for success because you will only be applying to jobs that match your abilities.

I Don’t Want To Talk About It

If you have something questionable on your resume, it is best to be upfront about it. If there is something that you do not want the recruiter to know, choose your words carefully and be diplomatic. Saying that you don’t want to talk about it suggests that you are hiding something. For example, if you have an employment gap on your resume, list some positive things that you were doing during that time instead of trying to avoid the question. As the saying goes… “turn a negative into a positive”.

In situations in which it is difficult to see the positive side, such as a criminal record or being fired, just tell the truth. A good recruiter will know which clients are willing to give you a chance.

My Last Company Was Terrible

It is never a good idea to bash the company that you just worked for. This could lead recruiters to believe that you will bad mouth the employers that they send you to. If you hated your last company, say something like, “It wasn’t the right fit”. It is a way to tell the truth without being rude or unprofessional.

It’s On My Resume

If a recruiter asks you about something that is clearly on your resume, they are usually doing it for a reason, not because they did not read it. They may want more information. But more likely, they are evaluating your communication skills and personality to determine how best to place you.

It’s Just A Short-Term Arrangement

Even short-term jobs should be taken seriously. When you say it is “just short-term”, it implies that you don’t really care about the job and that you just want money. Instead, let the recruiter know that you are looking for temporary work and if necessary specify a range of dates when you are available. For example, if you are in between jobs or just need to make a bit of extra cash, you need to be careful about how you address this. Be honest with your recruiter about how long you anticipate being able to stay at a job and don’t lead them to believe that you are looking for permanent work. After all, that’s what temp jobs are for.

It’s Not Like This Is A Real Interview

Often times applicants show up to an interview with a recruiter in casual clothes, without a resume or otherwise unprepared because they do not consider it to be a real job interview. The truth is, if you do not impress the recruiter, you won’t make it to the “real” interview. You should also keep in mind that the recruiter may send you to the “real” interview directly from the recruiter interview. So put your best foot forward for recruiter interviews like you would for a traditional job interview.

I Doubt I’ll Take The Job

Occasionally, applicants go through the entire interview process even though they do not intend to take the job. There are many reasons why they may decide to do this. It could be because they feel obligated or they want to stay on the recruiter’s radar. Whatever the reason is, don’t mention to the recruiter that you don’t think you’ll take the job. Go on the interview with an open mind. It might be better than you thought. Then after you have all of the information, have a conversation with your recruiter.

I’m Only Doing This To Get A Counter Offer From My Boss

Some people use staffing agencies to apply pressure to their current boss. They think that if they can get an offer from another company, their boss will match it. If that is the plan, do not tell the recruiter. He or she will not take you as seriously. Just like in the example above, go on the interviews and keep your options open. You may find a job that you like more than your current one.

In short, a good recruiter will be your advocate. So, when working with recruiters it is best to keep your options open. Select your words carefully while still being honest. This will ultimately increase your chance of finding a position that you’ll love.

Angelica PM2 CroppedAngelica Dudenhoefer is the Marketing Coordinator at Drake & Company, a staffing firm based in Madison, Wisconsin. Drake & Company specializes in temporary, temp-to-hire, and direct hire administrative, clerical and legal placements. Since 1978, Drake has reached beyond skills and qualifications to match candidate personalities with a company’s culture. You can connect with Angelica by  or on LinkedIn and you can find Drake & Company on FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+,Instagram and Pinterest.