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

Avoid these 4 mistakes and impress your recruiter, instead.

Recruiters are usually the first person you talk to at a company. To move forward in the interview process, you have to make a great first impression. We spoke to Megan Malcolm, an Early Career Recruiter at Handshake, who is an expert at matching candidates to the right role. Here is her advice for mistakes to avoid, and ways to impress your recruiter, instead.

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.

“If your interviewer can’t follow what you’re saying, it doesn’t matter how good the example is. Figure out how to tell your story in a way that makes sense to anyone: practice with friends, especially someone outside of your field of study. They will help you identify jargon that not everyone will understand.”

Megan Malcolm, an Early Career Recruiter at Handshake

SELLING YOURSELF SHORT 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 learnt from these experiences. Weave these stories into the questions you are asked.

“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.”

Megan Malcolm

BE SURE YOU UNDERSTAND CLEARLY 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.

“Almost every job requires you to work with others be ready to talk about how you collaborate, and make sure to include it in your stories “

Megan Malcolm

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.

DONT FORGET TO FOLLOW UP :Write a thank you note . No matter how the interview was always keep a check on the details and results , a follow up and a mail is the right way to go about it .

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 !”

Megan Malcolm