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6 interview tips for the would-be recruiter

27 Feb 2018

Michelle Magner

Recruiters can be harsh critics, after all, our reputation with our clients depends on getting them the right candidate. But when it comes to interviewing people to work as recruiters alongside us, we can be the toughest of judges!

We’ve come up with some tips to make your interview for a recruiter role as painless as possible!

Dress / appearance

I am always surprised when people fall at the first hurdle.  When attending an interview, regardless of the company’s culture, corporate / conservative attire is the first port of call. If you’re asking yourself “is this appropriate?” before an interview, chances are it is not. The biggest mistake by guys is not wearing a suit jacket and for women, it’s the skirt being too short. The interview is not about expressing your individuality. It is about convincing the interviewer that you are the right fit for the company and the role and demonstrating your professionalism. At Brightwater we have a policy of meeting our clients each time they register a job with us. You have to be suited and booted as at a moment’s notice as you may be meeting the CEO, COO, CTO etc. of a company. We also have a policy of meeting all our candidates prior to shortlisting them for jobs. It may sound silly but looking the part will engender trust in our ability to do our job.  Not looking the part is not only disrespectful but it also indicates low EI (emotional intelligence); E.I. is paramount in recruitment.

Being prepared

Before the interview do some preparation – any preparation! You do not need to recite the company’s history or list their employees. Even if you only remember one thing, it’s worth it. Take a look at the national press to see if there are any recent stories.  Just show how that you have gone to the trouble of researching the company will highlight your interest and a positive attitude from the get-go.

Body language

Recruiters are confident and engaged. So sit forward – it shows you’re interested. Don’t slouch. Put your hands on the table if you wish and make eye contact. The interviewer is looking for a future recruitment consultant, someone they are confident to put before a client, someone to represent the company. The biggest mistake people make is sitting back. This makes the interviewee look uninterested or worse yet arrogant. If you want to sit back, recruitment is not the career for you.



Be polite and positive. The interviewer is not your enemy, they are not trying to trick you. They are merely trying to work out whether or not recruitment is for you. Recruiters, by nature, are people pleasers. Being polite and positive to candidates and clients comes second nature to them. When the ship is going down and panic is all round, recruiters have to maintain a positive demeanour. No one wants to work with a negative person who drags colleagues down. Remember the interviewer is not just looking for someone capable of doing the job but for a colleague who will add to the company’s culture.


This takes neither IQ nor preparation and it costs nothing. Recruitment is fast paced and high energy so be enthusiastic and passionate. It really is a career where you never sit still. Whether you’re presenting to a client, advising a candidate, negotiating with HR or with collaborating colleagues you need to be switched on. We all respond to energy, enthusiasm and passion. At interview sometimes people get so focused on being professional and serious that they forget to let their personalities shine through.

Talking and listening

Working as a recruiter in a recruitment consultancy means that you must listen to your clients and candidates. Yes, there is an element of sales to any recruitment role but because of the people element, there are more skills needed than simply sales. Our consultants listen, respond appropriately and know when not to talk. Empathy and the ability to communicate are vital in recruitment. The interviewer needs to see that you are capable of this. Listen to the questions and respond accordingly. Know when to stop talking. Recruiters are direct and focused – waffling is an absolute no. If you find yourself rambling on, take a deep breath and stop.

Recruitment is like working on a roller coaster, there will be highs and lows but the journey is incredibly exciting and challenging. If you’re interested in a career in recruitment with Brightwater or if you’re already in recruitment and want to make that change, please contact me, Michelle Magner in Brightwater on (01) 6621000 or [email protected]