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The college student’s guide to recruiter do’s and don’ts

Updated: Jun 11, 2022

Top mistakes when talking to a recruiter

  • Being unprepared. Research the company before you speak to a recruiter. Tell them about what you found and why you are interested in the company they represent.

  • Telling the recruiter what you think they want to hear. Megan says, “You’ll be happier in a role and company that are genuinely aligned with your goals. Be authentic, be you.”

  • Reading from a scripted answer. “Recruiters can tell! Write down the key points of your story, but tell it like you would to a friend.”

  • Not communicating clearly. Cut down on jargon when speaking with a recruiter. If you’re a quick talker, try to slow down to give the recruiter a chance to fully understand you and take notes. And be concise: keep your answers to 2-3 minutes in length, tops.

  • Selling yourself short. Megan says, “We don’t expect perfection – we want to see humility and a growth mindset. Don’t be afraid to disclose the things you’re working on or have worked on to get to where you are.”

How to impress the recruiter

  • Read the job description carefully. Think about the ways you embody the skills and competencies the company is looking for in a candidate. Then, build that into your responses.

  • Prepare the right stories. Think about stories and situations you’re proud of: ways you’ve been challenged, how you’ve grown, what you learned from these experiences. Weave these stories into the questions you are asked.

  • Be sure you understand the question before answering. Ask clarifying questions if you’re not sure what the recruiter is trying to ask! This can be especially helpful for vague or broad questions.

  • Ask the recruiter questions. “You are interviewing us, too!” says Megan. You can ask about company culture, goals and challenges the company is facing, or about the interview process. The recruiter is also the best person to talk to about compensation expectations up front.

Don’t forget to follow up

Write a thank you note! Megan’s advice? “Try to incorporate something you learned in the interview. If you feel like you left anything missing in any of your responses, clarify it in your follow up. And lean in to let them know you’re really excited about the opportunity—it goes a long way!”

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