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What recruiters are judging during the first call

Every conversation with a recruiter is an interview, even that first quick chat where the recruiter pitches you the role and asks if you’re interested.

The first call is only 15-30 minutes, but there’s a lot of judgement going on.

This isn’t the full interview. From here you’ll either spend more time with this recruiter or with someone more senior on the search team.

During my first call with a candidate, this is what’s going through my head:

- Are they answering all of my questions directly without running out of time?

- Do they come across as an executive, or are they too junior?

- Do they surpass the bar of the other candidates the client already met?

- Do they ask good questions, proving they’ve done this job before?

- Is there anything that makes me hesitate putting them forward?

- Are they a strong enough fit to spend more time with, or should I spend time recruiting other candidates?

If you’re wondering how to best position yourself, there’s a book coming! In the meantime, sign up for the newsletter and you can read my tips on the blog at


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