- On March 29, 2020
I read with interest this Glassdoor article on what not to say to a recruiter. We are the gatekeepers to jobs, so you need to make a good impression on us, especially in a tough economy with a lot of competition. Are the following five things truly what I don’t want to hear? The article is correct! Don’t say any of these:
- “I’ll take anything at this company!” Desperation is never a good look. Always tailor your presentation to the job. If I ask what you do, discuss your relevant experience. I need to know whether you can do the job well or not, not everything about you. If you don’t understand that, I worry that you lack good business judgment and strong communication skills since those two things are the most important soft skills employers always want from their lawyers.
- “My previous company was horrible.” Never ever say anything bad about your previous company. You can stay professional and upbeat while still conveying a great deal of information, for example, citing team turnover, acquisition by another company, change in leadership, stock price drop, headquarter move, etc. Then follow up with what you like about the company at hand.
- “My former boss was threatened by me.” Same advice as #2 above. If you express negative opinions about your boss, the recruiter is put in the uncomfortable position of trying to figure out what actually happened. Stick to the facts and come across as professional! If you can’t list your former manager as a reference, just give another impressive manager from your past and – only if you are asked – explain you are not in touch with your former manager.
- “Can we reschedule my interview?” Do not do this. Do not be late. If you are truly interested in the job, you need to prioritize making this interview happen.
- “It’s been X weeks. Is my application in a black hole?” I always update my candidate if I have news. I generally don’t mind if they check in, but if they persist, it can get annoying. Check in if you have news for me like you are getting another offer or you have a new number/limited availability coming up.