Ask a Recruiter: I know that I have to dress up for an interview with an employer. But what about when I meet a recruiter, can I be more relaxed?


Great question. Many people approach their meeting with a recruiter as a casual get-together. In fact, it’s better to think of it as a dress rehearsal.

Your recruiter is the stand-in for the employer. When they meet with you, they have to consider: How would this candidate come off in front a hiring authority?

At The Bagg Group, we’ve been working with GTA employers for so long that we know what they expect, and what works for them and what doesn’t.

You may be surprised to learn that there are a few casual behaviors and habits that a lot of us do without thinking which are frowned upon by hiring authorities. As always, it’s the little things in life that can lift you up or bring you down.

Here’s a list from our experts for What Not To Do when meeting with an employer or a recruiter, whether you’re meeting to talk about temporary work, contract work or full-time employment:

Don’t wear sunglasses on your head. Sunglasses dangling from shirts or on top of the head suggest a flippant attitude.

Don’t bring your own coffee into the meeting. Many people don’t think twice about picking up a latte to take into a meeting. But staffing experts urge you to think again. The protocol is that unless you’ve called ahead and asked the recruiter if they’d like a coffee, save the java for after the meeting.

Don’t remove your shoes. Believe it or not, recruiters and hiring authorities at top employers in the GTA have many stories of people casually slipping out of their shoes during meetings. And these are not stories with happy endings. Often people wear uncomfortable dress-up shoes to attend a job interview, but no matter how much the shoe pinches, try to grin and bear it.

Don’t shower in perfume. Too much of a good thing can give someone who is sensitive to fragrance a serious headache. You don’t want the interviewer to pick up any odors, of any kind. If your after-shave or perfume overwhelms them, they’ll be thinking more about getting away from you than hiring you.

Don’t smell of cigarettes. If the interviewer is a non-smoker, you face the same problem as above. If you smoke heavily, you may not notice the smell of tobacco on your clothes, but in a closed office, an interviewer, who is not a smoker, may find the smell overpowering. Try to wear smoke-free clothes to any interview.

Avoid the soft-chair slump. A good interviewer makes you feel comfortable. But you can’t afford to get too comfortable in your chair, according to the experts on body-language. Here’s why:

  • If you slouch, it may appear that you’re not taking the interview seriously. And you risk coming off as a slacker. 
  • If you put your hands behind your head while talking, you project arrogance.
  • If you sit with your legs placed wide, you are perceived as acting over-familiar.
  • If you lean too far forward, you may off as aggressive.
  • If you lean far back, you come off as overly casual.

The experts say there’s only one way to sit in an interview—with a straight and upright body. This way, how you sit doesn’t distract the interviewer from what you’re saying.

You want to be yourself in any interview and keep the focus on what you have to say. You are the star of the interview. So you don’t want the little things, like too much perfume or a sore foot, to upstage you.

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