A Recruiter’s Guide to Job Interviews

By Reycent Danielle Valdez | Posted on February 1, 2022

Why shouldn’t we hire you?

In my years in the corporate industry, this is by far the hardest question I have ever faced during an interview. This question caught me off-guard, since it seemed to require me to speak up about my weaknesses. But why does job interview questions be this complicated?

Whether you resigned from your previous job, just graduated or changing your careers, the interviews all send us to a nerve-wracking state. This is probably the most integral part of your job application and employers usually stage interviews in different levels, from basic 10-minute phone screens up to the 30-minute final interview. Some even insert additional interviews mid-process. Either way, interviews are still very important–because this is your chance to prove that you are more than just a resume.

As a Recruiter by profession, I have experienced a variety of candidates during interviews. Some gave me one-word answers while some spoke and shared too much that we hit the overtime. Although most candidates are polite and respectful, there are also those who displayed total rudeness. 

Coming from the other side of the line, let me share with you some do’s and don’ts, as well as tips and tricks, on how to ace your job interview.


  1. Be comfortable. Phone screens are pretty-much a relaxed stage of the process. So be you.
  2. Do some research about the company. This expresses your interest to work for us.
  3. Dress well. Although this stage is mostly phone calls, come in proper attire if you’re attending it virtually or on site.
  4. Keep your lines open and never be late. Phone screenings are mostly scheduled. But some will just call you out of the blue. If scheduled and you can’t make it, send us an email!
  5. Tell me about yourself. This might be the most common opening question in all phone screenings. Here is a method by top global careers site, Indeed, on how to ace this question:
    1. Start by discussing your current situation
    2. Work backwards by hitting key points along your professional journey
    3. Connect your background, interests and qualifications back to the job
  6. Know how much you can go for. Salary expectations are asked to check if we can meet your financial expectations for the position, not to check how low we can give you. Be sure that you know what your range could be and always wait for the recruiter to ask you this.
  7. Never lie during phone screens. Honesty is included in literally every company value implemented by employers. Also, employers will find out soon if you lied.
  8. Read the job description. Try to align what you can offer to the skills we are looking for. It will help us to pitch your profile to the next level.
  9. Do not underestimate the phone screen. We may be asking basic questions here, but this is also our chance to check how well you communicate. 
  10. Ask questions. Okay, I get it. We are supposed to ask the questions here. But let us know if you need some clarification about anything relevant.
During interviews, always give your best shot! In photo: The author conducting an interview to an applicant.

Let us say that your application has been moved to the next level and is scheduled for the real-deal interview. These interviews could be a hiring manager interview or immediately your final interview. This is different from phone screening because this is where the employer digs deeper and how your mind works on the job. Here are some tips you can follow to not waste this chance.


  1. You can never go wrong with STAR. The STAR Method stands for Situation (describe the situation), Task (explain the task and the goal), Action (provide details of what you did) and Result (the result of your action). Follow this method in answering situational questions.
  2. Prepare your previous experience. We will ask you to share some key and/or notable achievements, projects and tasks that are relevant to the role you are applying for. Be ready.
  3. Get ready to sell yourself. Always make sure that you know the answer to the question: “why are you the best candidate for this position?”. Remember, it’s your responsibility to provide your selling points.
  4. Never underestimate the first 5 minutes. I have read an article before about Hiring Managers deciding whether they should hire you or not within the first five minutes of the interview. This is the time that you express enthusiasm and interest for the role. 
  5. Avoid the negativities. The interviewer might ask you things like “what is it that you did not like on your previous job?”. Do not answer this question. Instead, turn the negativity upside down go for something like “Although it was tough, I still did enjoy (insert positive notes here). Also, never share negative things about your previous employer (if you have any).
  6. Watch out for the behaviour-based questions. Always anticipate the behaviour that the interviewer is looking for. These questions can be tricky, but you are all good if you know what is right or wrong.
  7. Be mindful of your body language. Work on your posture, keep your head held high and establish eye contact. Remember to exude confidence and assertiveness.
  8. Authenticity always wins. Being genuine makes you relatable and can make the interview as light as possible.
  9. Remember STAR? Now KISS. The KISS Method stands for Keep It Short and Simple. You can do this by providing a concise and focused statement followed by a short example to not come off as aloof.
  10. Again, ask questions. An interview is not a question-answer type of communication. It’s a two-way thing. Asking questions can give the impression that you are really interested.
Recruiters will align your profile to the qualifications set by the hiring managers. In photo: the author discussing with a colleague.

Job interviews are essential to the hiring process of literally all employers globally. This is the time they ask questions to see not only if you are a good fit for the role but also to their company. Although each interview is unique, these basic tips would help you to ace that chance. But the most basic rule of all is making sure that you know who you are and what you can do, as this will give you the confidence that you will need to sweep the employer off their feet.

I think everyone applying for this role has their own fair share of reasons why you shouldn’t hire them. But for me, a good reason would be my imperfections as a human being. I will commit mistakes. But this made me more open and flexible to feedbacks, new knowledge and further improvement. And If you are looking for someone who does not have any room left for those things, then I don’t think you should hire me.”

This was my answer to the question above.

Note: Both photos are from the Korn Ferry Manila Facebook page.

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