How to Interview with a Recruiter

Posted on 20. Mar, 2014 by

I recently had a candidate show up very late to a scheduled interview and she was rather unapologetic. In fact, she was the opposite of apologetic, nearly treating the situation as if I should be glad she just stopped by to put a face with the name. I also have numerous potential candidates who apply to our job postings and call about positions, request to be “submitted”, and become very argumentative when I explain why we need to meet face-to-face first.

I’ve been recruiting for a long time and this has been an ongoing theme over the years. There are some candidates who don’t see the value in meeting face-to-face and there are some candidates who don’t treat the interview as if it is a “real” interview. I’ll have conversations pre-interview that start like this – “You don’t need me to bring anything, right?” “This is just so you can see I’m not crazy, right?” “I don’t have to wear a suit, right?” In all cases, I have developed an opinion before interviewing these candidates – and it’s not good.

Oh, but the stories we collect along the way. Here are a few of my favorites:

Ø “You don’t mind if I eat my hoagie, right? I am on lunch and I only have an hour”…(insert unwrapping and the smell of onions here).

Ø (Candidate pulls out an economy size lotion from her Mary Poppins bag) “Sorry, I have the driest skin….” And she begins lathering her arms up to her shoulders.

Ø I walk into the conference room where two kids sit coloring. “Sorry, my sitter cancelled. They won’t talk.”

Ø ME: “Do you have a copy of your resume?” CANDIDATE: “I e-mailed it to you, that’s not good enough?”

I could go on – I could actually start an entire blog called, bad interviews or what not to say…I would start with the recent college grad who said it’s taken him a while to learn he’s a quick-learner! But I digress…

Here’s the reality. We are the first round interview. We are your entry point to many companies and numerous positions. You need to be professional, organized, prepared, and impressive. You need to sell us. We are in the business of relationships and impressions, both of which can last for a long time. I placed several candidates last year that I first met in 2006/2007 – we had an authentic relationship.

A Few Tips:

Ø Show up 5 – 10 minutes early. Too early is a reality, if you are here 45 minutes early, we feel awkward and feel the need to meet you – even though we have planned our schedule for a reason. Go have a coffee downstairs!

Ø Bring at least two clean copies of your resume. We may want you to meet someone else in the office and you should be prepared.

Ø Dress appropriately, this is a professional interview and should be treated as such.

Ø Don’t divulge too much personal information. We are Recruiters, not Therapists and if we know too much, it may be hard to represent you in certain situations.

Ø Research us before you get here. All of our postings are on our website and if there is something specific you plan to discuss, you should have those details.

In short, if you are a candidate whose background falls within one of our practice areas – Administrative Support, Human Resources/Talent Acquisition, or Accounting/Finance – we should meet and begin a real relationship. We are networkers and industry experts. Try to impress us, as we’ll always try to impress you. Please don’t take it lightly, when we are deciding who our top three candidates are to send our client for a very important role, the candidates who conducted themselves professionally and treated us as valuable professionals and partners always win. Always.