Recruiters are trained to look for the best of the best. So it’s not difficult for a talented recruiter to spot a candidate who isn’t prepared, or simply unfit for the position in question. In an interview with a recruiter, you’ve got a very short window of time to truly impress them. There are plenty of great ways to make yourself attractive to headhunters and recruiters, but to keep yourself from falling off of a recruiter’s “short list” for top talent, avoid making any of these mistakes. Commit these to memory – 4 things recruiters never want to hear!
“Do you have any other jobs available? Whatever it is, I’ll try it.”
When a recruiter arranges an appointment for a specific position, they’re focused on filling that opening with the best possible candidate. So while it may not be your fault if the job isn’t a perfect match for you, don’t insult a recruiter by asking if she has any other available jobs.
To a recruiter, dedication to your field is a tremendous asset. By appearing desperate, you undermine your own sense of expertise. No skilled recruiter wants a “Jack of all trades, master of none.” Instead, if you recognize that the potential job isn’t exactly what you had hoped, find a tactful way to tell the recruiter, and politely request that he keep you in mind if a job comes across his desk that more closely matches your set of skills. Anything is better than appearing aimless, offering to fill “anything available.”
Maintain your sense of professionalism, and demonstrate your passion for your desired career. Remember, this is a job interview, not a buffet.
“I already answered that on my resume.”
Sure, your CV may be primed and polished. It could be the most creative resume a recruiter has ever seen. But even if it’s beautiful, it’s still not enough for a recruiter to glance over your accomplishments before handing you a job. So if a recruiter poses a question concerning your work history, or a past employer, resist the urge to point to your resume.
If a recruiter hadn’t looked at your CV, you wouldn’t be sitting in an interview, but when they raise a specific question about your past work experience, it’s because they want to see your ability to effectively communicate. Can you succinctly summarize your career highlights without reading right off the page? Which tasks, specifically, did you learn in your last position that might help you to succeed in a new job? Poise under pressure, and a true grasp on your own marketability are valuable assets, and instead of redirecting your recruiter to a fact sheet, take the chance to display your eloquence and ability to think quick under pressure.
These kinds of soft skills are invaluable.
“My boss is a nightmare! Let me tell you why…”
It’s a question you can expect during almost every job interview: “Why did you leave your last job?” But badmouthing a former supervisor will never get you anywhere. As tempting as it may be, there are plenty of reasons to avoid this obvious pitfall. It makes you look petty for complaining. It shows that you lack discretion, which could be a liability in an age where employer branding is of paramount importance. And of course, a recruiter for a potential new employer will worry that you’ll complain about them too.
The ability to put a positive spin on any bad situation is of tremendous worth. So position the unfavorable aspects of your current or previous job, as learning experiences and “challenges,” rather than “an absolute mess.” For example, instead of insulting your past supervisor’s inability to complete deadlines, acknowledge that your own “dedication to project completion wasn’t shared among some of your colleagues,” and that you are “looking for a work environment which values attention to detail, and timeliness.”
Recruiters have asked this question enough to read between the lines, and they should appreciate the fact that you forgo the opportunity to defame a company where you may not have been satisfied.
“I hate doing that sort of stuff.”
Sure, a recruiter may ask you what types of tasks you enjoy at the workplace, and the obvious follow-up question may concern which jobs you don’t like as much. But rather than leaping into a long list of “Won’ts and Don’ts,” remember that it’s hugely useful to put yourself in a good light at all times. Don’t take the bait, and don’t tell a recruiter that you “simply can’t do numbers,” or that you’re “totally bored by meetings.”
Explain that while you consider yourself a creative person, you welcomed the challenge of learning new skills, like how to calculate next quarter’s forecast on Excel. Acknowledge that some tasks were not your passion, but appear open-minded and flexible, and you’ll impress your recruiter, without question.
Recruiters are looking for candidates who can truly impress them – so don’t complain, don’t speak poorly about former employers, and show them that you really are the perfect fit for this job. A strong relationship with a recruiter could lead to a very promising career step, so treasure these opportunities!