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Interview confessions of a former recruiter: 5 things to avoid

Jeanie Ahn
Senior Producer/Reporter

Time and time again, former recruiter Connie Thanasoulis-Cerrachio has seen job candidates get far along in the job application process just to fail during the interview round. Now as a career coach and co-founder of SixFigureStart, Thanasoulis-Cerrachio, who worked at Merrill Lynch, educates people on the mistakes to avoid in the job search and interview process. Here are some of her best pieces of advice.

#1 Don’t be overconfident and wing it

“Recruiters have a sixth sense of when candidates are winging it,” says Thanasoulis-Cerrachio. If you’ve made it far enough in the job process to land an interview, make every effort to prepare for it. Far too often, she’s seen candidates who should’ve snagged the job, but fail to do so because they were underprepared and overconfident.

#2 Don’t take the phone interview lightly

A lot of recruiters will start the job interview process by screening candidates over the phone. Phone interviews are basically like open-book tests, says Thanasoulis-Cerrachio. “It’s an opportunity to have all your notes in front of you, you just have to prepare and get those examples ready to go.” And making a good impression over the phone will get you in front of them for the next round face-to-face.

#3 Don’t forget to focus on quantifiable results

When sharing an example of your strengths and successes, lead with quantifiable results. Often candidates will begin by sharing one success story and jump to another before completing their first thought. “Instead, if you’ve increased revenue by 50%, lead with that statement and then go into the story because now you have my attention,” says Thanasoulis-Cerrachio.

#4 Don’t just prepare responses to the tough questions

Before walking into an interview, most people will have answers prepared for the tough questions about their biggest strengths and weaknesses. But when employers ask, “Can you walk me through your resume?” you’ll be surprised at how many people stumble, she says. The best way to answer this basic question is to be concise and to the point, as well as enthusiastic and positive about your accomplishments.

#5 Don’t be shy about how much you want the job

“As a recruiter, I always want to hire the people that really want the job. If I’m going to extend an offer, I want to know that you’re going to accept,” says Thanasoulis-Cerrachio. After expressing your interest, end the interview by letting your interviewer know how you can bring significant value to this role.

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