Part 4: Recruiters Respond to Insults and Classic Q&As

Have you ever insulted or offended a recruiter? In Part 4 of our Off-the-Wall-Interview-Stories, we asked our recruiters to describe situations when they were insulted by job candidates. The next time you are in an interview, remember these four important words: Think. Before. You. Speak.

In addition, our recruiters talk about interview questions that they prefer to ask job candidates. We still laugh at the responses received and hope you will too! Passion and honesty are two key qualities that recruiters look for in potential job candidates so don’t be afraid to share your dreams…

Has a job candidate ever insulted you and if so, how did you respond?

  • Yes, I have been insulted by job candidates in my past 10 years of recruiting. On a phone interview, I politely thank the candidate for his or her time and end the call. I then make note of it in our application tracking system, so my associates will know not to contact that person if they are disrespectful and rude. We do NOT want to work with those candidates!
  • I was phone screening a candidate and started with the resume review. He said that I clearly had not reviewed his resume prior to the call and refused to talk about his experience. I told him that I had in fact reviewed his resume and that I didn’t think I was going to be a good resource for him. I thanked him for his time and politely ended the call.
  • I wish I could say no. Whenever I have been insulted by a candidate, I can guarantee that they never got a job through me. I always stay calm and collected and my response is usually: “I am sorry that you feel that way and wish you the best of luck in future endeavors.”
  • Yes, that is fairly common for me. I politely explain that our business relationship isn’t the best match and end the conversation.
  • I have had several candidates hang up on me or tell me that they don’t want me to ever call them again. Thankfully this is the only form of insult I have experienced.

What is your favorite interview question to ask a suitable job candidate? What was the best response that you have received?

  • “What interests you most in the opportunity I have available?” Responses have varied quite a bit but some of the best responses mention how the opportunity matches 100% of their career goals, how it’s the kind of organization they’d like to work for, how the job is in an ideal location, how compensation is a match, etc.
  • I ask them to tell me what it is about the opportunity that gets them excited. It helps me gauge their motivation and interest and it also gives me a peek into what is important to them.
  • I ask candidates what their short-term (5 years from now) and long-term (10 years from now) personal and professional aspirations are. It gives me a little insight into what kind of person I am dealing with from a personality perspective. One gentleman told me that he would like to be promoted at least once, if not a couple of times, in 5 years. As for his long-term goals, he would like to become a team leader. He purposely didn’t say management level because he still wanted to be hands on. On a personal level, he said in 5 years he would like to be a home owner and in 10 years, he would have a beautiful wife with one or two kids. That told me he was both family and goal oriented.
  • A person told me that he would like to get to a financial standpoint in his life where he could retire from the IT world. Within the next 5 to 10 years, he would like to buy a bar on the beach and be a “beach person,” enjoying the beach life. I laughed and told him, “don’t we all?!”
  • I ask, “Why should I hire you?” One candidate told a hiring manager: “Because you get to work with me!” I thought that was a clever answer.
  • I like to ask why they are looking for a new position. It helps me learn about a candidate and what drives him/her.
  • My favorite question to ask is, “If you could have your dream job, what does it look like?” The best responses are the ones where you can actually hear their passion.
  • “What would you like to accomplish in 30, 60, 90 days on the job?”

For further information on job interview tips and how to avoid classic mistakes, be sure to also visit these pages below to knock the socks off of your next interviewer.

Seven Unexpected Job Interview Mistakes
Common Mistakes Applicants Make When Writing Resumes for IT Companies
Tips for a Successful Skype Interview
Face to Face Interview: On Site Interview Tips
Five Tips for Effective Job Interview Body Language