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3 Things Not to Say to a Recruiter

Blog, Candidate Advice, Hiring Advice


As an Executive recruiter in the Electrical Industry, I speak with both clients and candidates every day. My job is to understand what the client needs in a successful candidate and also what a candidate needs to be successful in their job.  In talking with candidates, I have come across those who are a bit guarded in what they share and then others who share more than I need to know. With that being said, below are the top 3 things that you should never say to a recruiter.


“My last job was the worst!”

When talking with a recruiter about your previous position it’s best to keep the conversation professional. When you badmouth another company, a recruiter may fear that you would badmouth the company they are trying to get you in, if it weren’t to work out. This a huge red flag for recruiters. So instead of badmouthing your last job, when asked, simply let the recruiter know that it wasn’t a good fit. This is the best way to show the recruiter that whatever the situation was, you refuse to sink to the level of bashing anyone.


“My background check is totally clean!” (But it’s not)

Chances are, the recruiter you’re working with has a strong relationship with the company he/she will be presenting you to. When a recruiter asks if you are able to pass a background check, this is your chance to explain any infractions. Remember, if there is something on your background report, this doesn’t mean the company won’t hire you. When a recruiter is aware of the infraction, she can go to the hiring manager and present your case. Maybe it was something during your college years and now your almost 50. Whatever you do, don’t lie and tell the recruiter that there is nothing on your background check. Recruiters are there to help you, why chance losing the trust and help from someone that’s going to eventually find out.


“I’d prefer not to share my current salary”

We tend to hear this quite a bit and I think there is some confusion as to why people feel they shouldn’t share. As a recruiter I need to know what you make and what you’re looking to make. I need this information in order to advocate on your behalf. In speaking with the client I am also trying to get you the right package according to your preferences and ensure that their offer will be in the “ballpark” of your expectations, before spending more time in the approval process. Being transparent, even when explaining your salary is the best for both parties involved.


While these 3 things aren’t the end of our “what not to say” list, they do sum up some pretty important conversations that you will have with your recruiter. Just remember to be professional and honest in any conversation. The recruiter will appreciate you more for this.


Prudence Thompson

Prudence Thompson is a contingent and retained recruiter entirely dedicated to the Electrical Distribution industry. To learn more about how she can help your company attract talent, check out her biography, LinkedIn profile or email her at


By |September 1st, 2016|Blog, Candidate Advice, Hiring Advice|0 Comments