7 Things to Never Say to a Recruiter When Looking for a Job

four serious looking professionals standing in a row each giving a thumbs down to the camera

When you’re looking for a new job, it’s important to have a clear understanding of a recruiter’s role in your job search.

Recruiters are there to help you find a new job, but they also need your help to do so. 

In order to get the most out of their service, take the time to understand how to get the most out of this working relationship.

Things to never say to a recruiter

1. How much is your commission?

Asking a recruiter this question not only shows that you don’t understand how they work, but it also makes them less likely to want to help you.

Asking about their commission upfront tells them that you’re more interested in their cut than you are in finding the right job.

Instead, ask them about their process and how they work with candidates to find the right fit. This shows that you’re interested in finding a job that’s a good match for your skills and experience.

2. I’m just casually looking.

When you tell a recruiter that you’re just casually looking, it tells them that you’re not really serious about finding a new job.

If you’re not ready to make a move, that’s fine. But let the recruiter know that you’re open to hearing about new opportunities and you’ll be ready to interview when the right one comes along.

Telling a recruiter that you’re just casually looking is a waste of their time and yours.

Only reach out to a recruiter when you’re ready to start actively looking for a new job. Otherwise, you’ll just be spinning your wheels.

3. I’ll take anything.

While it’s important to be open-minded when you’re job searching, you also need to know what you want.

Telling a recruiter that you’ll take anything may give the perception that you’re not in control of your career.

Instead, be clear about the type of job you’re looking for and ask the recruiter if they have any openings that match your skills and experience.

This shows that you’re serious about finding a new job and you’re willing to put in the work to find the right fit.

4. My previous job was terrible.

Point blank — if you badmouth your previous employer, it makes you look unprofessional and difficult to work with.

Instead, say that you’re looking for an opportunity where you can use your skills and experience to make a bigger impact.

This shows that you’re looking for a new challenge and you’re eager to contribute to your next employer.

Badmouthing your previous employer will only make you look disagreeable — no matter how true it may be.

5. I work to live, not live to work.

While a healthy work-life balance is important and finding an employer who respects that is paramount, you don’t want to give the impression that you’re just in it for the paycheck.

This shows a recruiter that you’re not looking to be a part of something fulfilling and bigger than yourself.

Instead, share what you’re passionate about and how you hope to use your skills and experience to make a difference in your next role.

This shows that you’re looking for more than just a job — you’re looking for an opportunity to grow and make an impact.

6. My old manager and I didn’t get along.

Much like badmouthing a previous employer, talking poorly about a past manager makes you look unprofessional and difficult to work with.

Instead, say that you’re looking for an opportunity to work with a team where you can all be aligned on your goals and values.

This shows that you’re looking for a more positive and productive working environment.

Talking badly about a past manager will only reflect poorly on you — no matter how tempting it may be.

7. It’s on my resume.

When a recruiter asks you about your experience or skills, they’re not looking for a regurgitation of your resume.

Instead, take the opportunity to share a brief story or example that illustrates your point.

This shows that you’re able to communicate effectively and you have a firm understanding of your experiences and how they’ve helped you grow.

How can recruiters help you find a job?

1. Recruiters navigate the job search process for you

Recruiters can provide you with insider knowledge about the company and the hiring manager, as well as give you feedback on your resume and help you prepare for interviews.

2. Recruiters introduce you to rare job opportunities

Additionally, they can introduce you to job openings that may not be advertised publicly which can come in handy if you’re interested in a company but don’t see any open positions that match your skill set.

3. Recruiters help you assess if a company is the right fit

Working with a recruiter can help you determine if a company is truly the right fit for you.

They can provide insights into the company culture, work-life balance, and what it’s like to work there.

4. Recruiters provide support and guidance

A recruiter can be a great resource for support and guidance throughout the job search process.

They can provide you with moral support when you’re feeling discouraged and offer advice on how to navigate tricky situations.

Tips on working with a recruiter to find a job

Do your job research before you meet with a recruiter

Before you start working with a recruiter, it’s important to do your research and know what you’re looking for in a new job.

This way, you can be sure that the recruiter is a good fit for you and that they understand your goals.

Keep your relationship professional with your recruiter

While they are there to help you, at the end of the day they are not your friend and are there to do a job. 

It’s important to maintain a professional relationship with them and remember that they are there to represent the company as much as they’re there to represent you.

Don’t overshare personal details with your recruiter

Find a way to strike a balance between being vulnerable and open about your goals and aspirations personally and professionally while also keeping your conversations relevant to the job. 

You don’t want to share too many personal details about your life and give the impression that you’re not taking the process seriously.

Be clear with your recruiter about your availability and schedule

When you’re meeting with a recruiter, be clear about your availability and make sure that you’re both on the same page about what the next steps are.

This way, there are no misunderstandings and you can both move forward confidently.

If you don’t have anything nice to say…

Don’t say anything at all.

It may go without saying but we cannot stress it enough — don’t trash your old or current employer, coworkers, job, or company. 

Don’t offer gifts to your recruiter

While you may want to show your appreciation to your recruiter for all their hard work, they often have strict rules about accepting gifts from clients.

Just remember that they are there to work hard for you either way and are committed to finding you your dream job without the prospect of a gift.

Be honest and open with your recruiter

This should be obvious but DON’T LIE.

Your recruiter is there to be a resource to you and will work hard to find you a position that will fit your unique skill set and experience level. 

Lying about your experience or skill level will only hurt you in the long run as most lies are discovered fairly quickly, giving you a bad reputation among recruiters and employers.

Getting the most out of your recruiter

Recruiters are there to help you find a job, but they can’t do all the work for you. In order to get the most out of their service, it’s important that you understand how to best work with them.

By following these tips, you can ensure that you’re setting yourself up for success and making the most of your time with a recruiter.

Looking for your next gig? Let us help. 

Every year, Mondo helps over 2,000 candidates find jobs they love.

More articles about job searching and industry trends:

Related Posts

Never Miss an Insight

Subscribe to Our Blog

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

A Unique Approach to
Staffing that Works

Redefining the way clients find talent and candidates find work. 

We are technologists with the nuanced expertise to do tech, digital marketing, & creative staffing differently. We ignite our passion through our focus on our people and process. Which is the foundation of our collaborative approach that drives meaningful impact in the shortest amount of time.

Staffing tomorrow’s talent today.