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Partner with the Recruiter to Rock Your Interview


Every day I see something or the other on social media about recruiters and the job search experience. Whether it’s a nasty thing a recruiter did like duping a candidate or a recruiter who’s fed up with entitled, glib candidates, the stories are endless and constantly brewing on social media.

The job search process is precarious: As a seeker your ego is present and depending on the reasons for your search, emotions and stress can be at an all time high. Even if you’re just kicking tires so to speak, you still want to show up as your best self on an interview and rock it. This is where the recruiter comes in.

Sure, you might have had a bad experience with a recruiter in the past but that doesn’t mean you can’t turn it around today.

Partnering effectively with a recruiter is a critical skill in today’s job search market. Here’s where to start.


Start Off with this One Assumption

Consider for a moment that the recruiter wants you to succeed. In your mind, make this the rule. Recognize that yes, it’s not all puppy dogs and rainbows and there are of course exceptions to this rule, but for the most part it will do you a lot of good to assume that the recruiter wants you to be successful. As with everything, if you believe that people are cheering for you, you’ll probably perform better.

In the most basic terms, it is the recruiter’s job purpose to fill vacancies with great people. Therefore you and the recruiter have a mutually beneficial goal: To be successful. What’s at stake for a recruiter might differ depending on the nature of their role, such as agency vs. in-house. The latter might have a different commitment, but all things being equal the recruiter wants to find the best person for the job and you can help them do that.


Act Like an Equal

Too many job seekers make this big mistake: They give too much power to the hiring body and go through a recruitment process with a sort of blind trust; not asking enough questions or ignoring red flags. This is so common, I see it often and I, too, have fallen into this trap.

While the company holds the final decision on who they hire, this does not requilish you from asking good questions, expecting a top-grade candidate experience, and from being wooed, too. It’s about having your eyes wide open and believing that an interview is a two-way interview. As much as a company interviews you, you’re interviewing the company.


Ask this Question & Help the Recruiter

The objective for a recruiter is to get clear on how you stack up against the job requirements and to get a feel for what kind of person you are and whether you could be successful in the job and environment they’re offering.

One of the tried and true ways you can help the recruiter with this is to use a scooping question, best held until the time when it’s your turn to ask question. A scooping question is a way to uncover any objections the recruiter might have to your application without being confrontational. It could be something like how do you think I did? Or my favourite, is there anything about me that you’re unsure of? Or better yet, can I elaborate on any area of my resume further for you?

By using this technique, you’re claiming that equal stake and ensuring that both of you have what you need to make a good decision. You’re also inviting the recruiter to break from the script and get real with you for a moment because there might just be something that they can’t quite place about you. Be the one to help them figure it out.


Get the Recruiter to Help You 

When you’re moving onto next steps it means the recruiter will be bringing more people into the decision making process. This will be the hiring manager and hopefully a hiring committee consisting of internal stakeholders to whom you might work with in the event that you’re the successful candidate. This is the best time to get the recruiter to help you because they have the “in” on the internal stakeholders.

The recruiter can help you prep for your meeting(s) by setting expectations: Who will you meet with? What will the meeting format be? Why are you meeting this person? What are they like?

Do not blindly accept an interview with a hiring committee without getting the 4-1-1 and your 5 W’s answered. The better you know what to expect from an interview, the better you can prepare.


If we approach the job search process with our head up and eyes open and learn to optimize every interaction we have, we will get closer to our goal of finding great jobs, maybe even dream jobs. Focus your attention to being an equal stakes partner with recruiters and you will find yourself an excellent interviewer.



About Gabrielle Garon

Gabrielle Garon is a People & Culture Leader who’s fired up about the world of work. With a career that started out in one of the largest telecommunication companies in Canada and in having spent the last five years in high tech, she has a well-rounded perspective on all things career. Gabrielle advises on what she knows and since she took a less traditional approach to building out her career, you can bet she is all for self-initiated, tactical career planning that involves hard work, hustle, and a bit of luck.


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