What NOT to ask a Recruiter, according to Vanguard

Recruiters love hiring candidates into their dream jobs and roles they strongly desire. When you speak with a recruiter, make sure to consider how the recruiter may react to your communication with them. Sell yourself. Show your enthusiasm. Recruiters are very perceptive and will take note of anything you share, so do not take the initial conversation lightly. They are great resources for the company you are targeting but they are also the “gatekeepers”; a company’s link between you and the hiring manager.

The questions you ask can say a lot about you as a candidate. Make sure your questions are thoughtful, genuine, and show that you have done a little research on the role you are targeting. Here are some suggestions on the best questions to ask—and a few to avoid.

“What does your company do?”

Never speak with a recruiter without having some idea about what their company does. There is no greater turn-off to a recruiter than for you to know nothing about their company, and no greater compliment than for you to know a few interesting facts. These days you can find interesting tidbits from a quick internet search, or you can be a real superstar and watch a few of the company’s videos. Watching the company’s employees by video is a great way to develop engaging questions for your interview. Or bring up an interesting fact you learned from recent news and ask the recruiter to share their opinion.

“Is there anything I should have asked and didn’t?”

Under no circumstances should you ever ask this one. Always, always, always prepare thoughtful questions for the end of your interview. When you have no questions, the recruiter assumes you are not interested in the opportunity or that you are unable to think strategically. Instead, ask if there is anything more you should know. Never end an interview without a question for your interviewer.

“How many vacation days would I receive?”

Try not to ask questions that can be answered by visiting the company’s career site. Make sure to conduct proper research and maybe even teach the recruiter a thing or two. Instead, read blogswatch videos, read corporate news, look at company reviews on employer review sites, and connect with alumni from your school, or other company employees on LinkedIn.

“What do you like about your job?”

This isn’t a terrible question, but unless you are interviewing for a job in Human Resources, our answer may not help you at all. As an alternative, ask what they like about the company and uncover information that will help you to make a better decision against other offers. Remember when I suggested that you connect with other employees with similar interests? Well, that is a great question for your connections.

“How did I do in the interview?”

Never ask this question. Recruiters need time to reflect on their conversation with you or take time to speak with the hiring manger. In the moment we will not be able to share feedback with you. Instead, proceed with your own process of reflection. Follow up with a thank you note which can even include any additional points you failed to mention in the conversation.

Interviews are scary for most people, but remember that your recruiter is human, too. They are trying to fill a position (or many positions) so they always want you to do well. Keep in mind that if you do not receive the role, do not take it personally. There may be limited positions or other candidates were a better fit for some reason. Your professionalism throughout the process will make you a great candidate for another position in the future!

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