When speaking with a recruiter for the first time, a lot of candidates go into it having no idea what to expect. This, of course, is completely understandable. It may be beneficial to think of it as the first step of the interview process with a new, and exciting opportunity (often the initial screen leads to interviewing with their client).
Just as when interviewing directly with the hiring company, the first impression the candidate gives to the recruiter is of utmost importance.
Below are a some of the common mistakes candidates make during their conversations with recruiters. While not “end of the world” level, avoiding these can only lead to more productive candidate-recruiter relationships.
Talking About Leaving a Job on Bad Terms
Honesty is important, but so is perspective. While you may have left a position due to mismanagement, hostile work environment, or any number of reasons beyond your control, just as you wouldn’t badmouth a former employer in an interview with your prospective manager, don’t do it with your recruiter, either.
Instead, explain the circumstances for leaving, but frame it with positives you took away from the position, and specifically how those things may benefit your work for the recruiter’s client.
Immediately Asking About Compensation
When a candidate immediately asks about the salary range before any other information comes up, it can come off as pushy or presumptuous.
Compensation will almost certainly come up in your conversation, so there is no need to push the issue immediately. If for some reason it doesn’t, then it’s important to bring it up before you hop off the phone so you know what to expect going forward.
Consistently Rescheduling an Initial Phone Call with Your Recruiter
It’s not usually a good sign when a candidate reschedules their phone call more than 2 or 3 times in a row. This makes it hard to be sure they will show up / be available if they get to the interview stage with the client.
Recruiters want to know they’re doing right by you, as well as by their client. While schedules understandably get crazy sometimes, being able to keep appointments with the recruiter suggests you’ll do so with their client as well.
Delivering a Non-negotiable Set of Conditions Right Before Accepting
Occasionally, candidates reach the end of the interviews knowing all the specifics of the position (salary, benefits, responsibilities etc.). However, upon receiving an offer, they throw in their own list of surprise conditions to accept the position; this is considered very unprofessional.
It is apt to discuss something like this with your recruiter, before saying anything to your possible future employer.
Being Rude, Condescending, Short, or Simply Unpleasant
This one may be obvious, but it absolutely hurts anyone’s chances of being submitted to a client if they treat the recruiter like an inferior. First impressions are important, and when meeting someone, being respectful, polite and easy to talk to will go a long, long way, in job search as in life.