Job Advice

Is an interview with a recruiter a ‘real’ interview?

Back to All Posts
November 18, 2010

It has come to my attention recently between my own recruiting and others in my office that candidates coming in to interview may be confused about whether this is a ‘real’ job interview.  I thought it might be helpful to provide some advice on that topic.  It is so important to prepare for an interview with a recruiter just like you would for an interview with a potential employer.  This is the only way a good recruiter can accurately represent you to potential employers for your Indianapolis job search.  I recently had to tell a candidate that I did not feel comfortable representing him because he took a call and scheduled a meeting right in the middle of our interview.  He responded that he did not think this was a real interview or he wouldn’t have done that.  I was a bit shocked by that comment and it has since sparked this blog.  I have been mentally preparing a list of things to do and not to do when interviewing with a recruiter that I hope you will find helpful as you continue your job search. 


1.            Show up on time

2.            Dress in attire appropriate for an interview

3.            Bring a clean, professional copy of your resume and references

4.            Come prepared to answer questions about your career achievements

5.            Be honest about why you left previous positions.  We’ve heard it all or will find it 
               out during our reference checks, so just be up front.  One misrepresentation is all
               it takes to ruin the recruiter/candidate relationship. 

6.            Treat this interview just like you would with any potential employer because we 
               might just be your next employer.

7.            Have clear and concise answers

8.            Put your best foot forward in the interview and make the most positive impression
               you can.  It might make the difference between landing your next job or not.


1.            Show up any earlier than 5 minutes for your scheduled interview.  It throws your 
               interviewer’s day/schedule off and this may frustrate them before they even meet

2.            Use your cell phone during the interview.  It should be turned off before you enter 
               the building.  

3.            Ramble when answering questions. Have practiced clear and concise answers.  
               The more you are able to communicate clearly what you have accomplished in your
               career the easier it is for us to present you to our client.

4.            Assume that just because you showed up, you got the job.  You still have 
               competition even if a recruiter is assisting you so it’s important to display what 
               sets you apart from your competition.

5.            Give general answers like, “I’m different because I’m a team player, a hard-worker
               and I have a great work ethic”.  These are subjective and general answers that
               do not really tell us anything concrete about your past experiences that 
               demonstrate these abilities. For example, “I graduated with honors while working
               full-time and attending school in the evening” or “I was selected by the CFO as 
               the only person from accounting to head up three projects over the last year and 
               a half.”  Your answer should be personal and something that ties back specifically
               to you. 

6.            Name drop during the interview.  It has no merit and most recruiters or potential 
               employers won’t care that you are on a first name basis with Peyton Manning if    
               you cannot do the job. 

I recently read an interesting article with great interview tips on Careerbuilder – you should check it out for more valuable information!