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Never Make These Comments to Recruiters

Every interaction you have with a potential employer—and that begins with recruiters—should show professionalism and thoughtfulness. To put your best foot forward, avoid these phrases.


  1. “I’ll take any job at your company.” This sounds desperate and doesn’t focus on what you can bring to an organization. It also shows you haven’t thought through your career goals.
  2. “That salary sounds fine.” Even starting salaries are negotiable, and the best way to negotiate is to research before accepting a number.
  3. “My former company was awful.” Grousing about a former employer or colleague damages your reputation, not theirs. Instead, talk about how you coped with challenging circumstances.
  4. “My former boss was threatened by me so she won’t give me a good recommendation.” Recruiters will likely want the best recommendations you can offer. If your current boss is not one of those, simply tell the recruiter that the list you provide represents the most comprehensive mix of supervisors to talk about your skills and accomplishments.
  5. “Can we reschedule?” Canceling an interview, especially on the day it’s scheduled, is like saying you don’t care about the job.
  6. “Has my résumé fallen into a black hole?” Being condescending or whiney about not hearing about a job application will cause more harm than good. Instead, try to find someone who can personally refer you, so that a recruiter might take the time to examine your application.