Career connect: What your recruiter really wants you to know

  • Posted on September 25, 2018
  • Estimated reading time 4 minutes
interview tips from a recruiter

It’s that time of year again: campus recruiting season. Given that I spend most of my work hours with college candidates who are not always familiar with recruiting processes in “the real world”, I want to set the record straight when it comes to who’s on the other side of the “recruiter” title and what some of our expectations are.

First, I’m accessible and, I think, pretty friendly. I’m not perched up in some high rise with you on speaker phone waiting for you to say something totally embarrassing or laughing when you mispronounce our company name (Avanade…sounds like “avenue” and “promenade” put together). Honestly, I’m more than likely at home, in my office, with my snoring chocolate lab, Gus, sleeping at my feet.

Second, I’m on your side. The first conversation is filled with nerves on your end but hope and optimism on mine. I want you to blow me away with your experience and skills so that I can report to our hiring team that “I have THE perfect candidate for you”. I feel badly for a candidate when they don’t do well in an interview with me or anyone on the hiring team. I don’t want that for you and I don’t want that for me. So, to avoid this situation going forward, below is a quick list of interview prep recommendations from yours truly:

  1. Make it known you want this job
    Be excited and enthusiastic during our conversations. As a recruiter, I want you to want this job. My hiring team expects someone right out of school to be curious and enthusiastic about doing something that they love. Don’t be afraid to incorporate that excitement in your interviews.

  2. Do your research
    I’m not talking about reading verbatim the first three lines from the company’s website. I mean, do your stinking research! Most companies have a crazy amount of information on their website, but also check out to see if they have a YouTube channel, Instagram or LinkedIn page. I want you to tell me something I don’t know about my company. Tell me the most interesting fact you learned while doing your research.

  3. First impressions matter
    If it’s a phone interview, answer the phone announcing your name, “Hi, this is Emily.” This ensures when I call at our scheduled time, I know I have the right number, I have the right person and I know how to pronounce your name. Also, while you’re at it, update your voicemail to state your name as well (see above).

    If it’s an in-person, be on time, throw out a firm handshake and make eye contact with every person you meet. Every year, I see these easily avoidable mistakes being made over and over. And every year, I have a hiring manager that passes on a candidate based on these oversights. Please don’t be that candidate!

  4. Know your story and what you specifically bring to the table
    Be specific when talking about your experiences, individual contributions and your interests. Prior to the interview, go ahead and identify and write down details surrounding school/personal projects, work experiences and opportunities that you can speak to specifically that relate to the job you are interviewing for. Don’t make the recruiter play the guessing game or the “let’s pull info out of you” game. You come across as uninterested and indifferent.

  5. Be honest
    If you don’t know an answer, say that you don’t but then explain how you would go about finding the answer. I promise, we can sniff out when you are fibbing your way through a response. Also, be honest when discussing what you want, specifically in terms of role and responsibilities. Recruiters and hiring managers can’t read minds and can only use the information you provide to help identify the best opportunity. Help us help you!

  6. Trust your recruiter
    Your recruiter is your advocate and voice throughout the interview process. We can’t do all these things if you don’t trust us and keep us informed on what you’re thinking. If you have a final interview or offer in hand from another company, let us know. If you are having doubts about the travel expectations, let us know. We are there to answer your questions, help guide you through each step and represent you with the business.

Now, let’s be honest, the above items aren’t going to guarantee you nail every interview you have, but at least you have a few suggestions to work with. I also want to reiterate that while you may believe that recruiters bathe in the tears of their rejected candidates every night, we actually are on your side and are advocating for you. There’s no better feeling than offering someone a job and getting to hear their excitement and joy when delivering the good news. For me, it’s the most rewarding part of having the “recruiter” title.

For more information on internship and graduate opportunities at Avanade, check out our careers site.

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