What Do Recruiters Look Out For

Recruiters complain day after day on how there is a shortage of skilled manpower in the labor market. I could interview 15 different ‘qualified’ candidates for a role and be amazed at how short they fall from the mark.

The universities churn out graduate and postgraduate students every year, yet recruiters search endlessly for the right candidate; that square peg to fit the square hole. 

You have an interview that you are qualified to the teeth for. You’ve memorized all the jargon you’ve been told recruiters want to hear. You have donned the right outfit to appeal to the widest range of personalities. After the interview you could swear that you nailed it, yet you never got called for a second interview. Let me give us an idea of some subtle things recruiters assess, but would never be caught dead stating as a reason for not selecting you.


  1. Your breath: If you have an interview, please do not eat spicy food or onions. Even if you are too nervous to eat, kindly have a mint before you go in. Bad breath is a major turn off for recruiters.
  2. Your smell: If you have an interview, kindly minimize your physical exertion to ensure that you do not generate lots of sweat. If you walk into a room and windows are being opened, that is a bad sign. Body odor is a turn off.
  3. Your pronunciations: Depending on the role, your spoken English may weigh a lot in relation to your job. If you will be client facing, the recruiter is concerned if your spoken English; enunciation, intonation and grammatical construction are good enough for you to be a representative of the firm.
  4. Your mannerisms: Kindly keep your ‘sebi, sha, abi, biko, ehen, oya, ba,’ etc out of the room. If the recruiter wanted a gisting partner, it wouldn’t be you. The ploy is to get you relaxed enough to be yourself so that you can be evaluated properly. 
  5. Your private information: If you were not asked, don’t say. Your discussion on your separation from your husband, or your being the sole benefactor of your lineage might be the reason a recruiter gives you the boot. Too much information is always a bad idea.

I hope we picked a thing or two from the above.

Recruiters are human beings who are subject to bias for the strangest reasons, we should do our best to fall on the right side of that bias by trying to get all our ducks in a row during the entire process.


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