Woman interviews for job at staffing agency

4 surprising things staffing agencies notice when interviewing candidates

Congratulations! You have an interview with the recruiter at a staffing agency. You already know the basics: Arrive on time, dress neatly, and rehearse your “strengths and weaknesses” speech. But what else should you consider?

At South Shore Staffing, we’ve conducted hundreds of interviews over our 16 years in business. So we’ve turned to our Senior Staffing Specialist, Natalie Chandler, to share four surprising things you should think about before you walk into an interview with a recruiter.


1. Your arrival

“Don’t be late” is probably already drilled into your head (and if you are running late, please call the office to let us know!), but did you know that arriving too early can also start your interview off on the wrong foot?

Even if you don’t mind waiting, arriving more than ten minutes early to your interview can put unnecessary pressure on your interviewer to hurry up and get to you, especially if they already have a busy day of interviews scheduled. In a smaller office, you may feel literally in the way if the receptionist is busy trying to get work done.

And it should go without saying that if you arrive with a friend or relative, they should wait in the car–or in the coffee shop down the street–for you to return and not join you inside the office.


2. Your Presentation

When a staffing agency brings you in for an interview, it is our way of getting to know you; a “pre screening” before we send you out as a representative of our company to meet with, and potentially work for, our clients. And while the attire for this pre screening does not necessitate a full suit, you should still present yourself as a professional. Don’t show up in jeans and a tee shirt and promise your recruiter you’ll dress up for the “real interview”!

Iron wrinkled clothes. No sneakers. Avoid anything too flashy or distracting. If wearing a jacket, remove and place it on the chair next to you. Briefcases, laptop bags, or purses go on the floor or with your jacket on the chair.

And definitely avoid heavy colognes or perfumes. Let your talent be the most memorable thing about the interview, not what you are wearing.


3. Your Preparedness

Sometimes it’s what you don’t have or don’t say that we notice most of all. For instance, did you remember to bring extra copies of your resume? Please don’t make us share our copy with you! And bring your own pen and a pad of paper for taking notes. You may not need them, but it shows active listening skills and interest in the opportunity.

If this is a virtual interview, please make sure you send an up-to-date copy of your resume to us before our video call and have a notepad and pen at your side.

One thing we definitely don’t want to see (or hear) during your interview is your phone. Keep it out of sight and on silent mode for the duration of the interview. You would be surprised by how many people forget to quiet their phones before an interview!

When the interview gets rolling, do you seem unwilling to talk about certain things on your resume? If you were only at your last job for a few months, be honest about why it didn’t work out; don’t leave it up to our imaginations or force us to pull details out of you. And don’t try to ignore gaps in your experience: So many professionals take time off to raise kids, help with aging parents, or even to take a break for other reasons.

And please do not come to an interview without knowing anything about the staffing agency itself. Spending time on a company’s website prior to any interview demonstrates preparedness, displays interest, and provides an opportunity for you to impress the interviewer with your knowledge of the company.


4. Your Follow Up

You have had a great meeting; nothing can go wrong now, right? Well. . . make sure you do not forget to send a quick thank-you note to the recruiter. Not only is it a professional and polite gesture, it demonstrates how you’ll act after you have an interview with one of our clients.

If you were asked to update your resume or provide any additional information, please do not make the recruiter chase you down for this. Following directions, following up, and following through are some of the key qualities our clients look for in a candidate, so demonstrate your skills to us, and we will be able to go to bat for you!

After your interview, sit tight for a bit to give the recruiter time to find the right position for you, unless they have brought you in for something specific. Hiring is all about timing and finding the right match. Feel free to touch base every month or so by calling the office or emailing your recruiter directly, but don’t hound them. Just make sure they have your current phone number and correct email address on file so that when the right job opportunity arrives, they can reach you quickly and easily.

Remember, we are building a professional relationship together that we hope will be very successful and will last a long time! Keep in mind these four things to make the best first impression with your recruiter and ensure that you are their first call for the next opportunity.


Interested in scheduling an interview with South Shore Staffing? Submit your resume here or contact us directly at 781-575-0500.