I Recruit, Therefore I Am

The Worst Interview Response

I do a lot of interviews.

Anywhere from twenty five to fifty a week. That’s at least five a day.


Of those maybe five will be great. The vast majority will be average to good and a small number will be forgettable. But rarely are interviews ever outright bad. Maybe you catch someone in a tall tale. Maybe you catch someone with more excuses than experience. And in some cases, communication barriers may make the interview incomprehensible.

But rarely ever bad.


There is one brand of interview, however, that can easily be classified as bad. And that is when the candidate gives The Worst Interview Response.


Of course, every Recruiter will have a different variation of what they will consider The Worst Interview Response. For me, it is always the same:

“Have you actually read my resume?”

Nothing brings an interview to a screeching halt quicker than the sound of that response.


Most of my interviews take the same format.

They begin with a confirmation that the candidate is still doing what their resume states they are doing. Once that is settled, the floor belongs to the candidate. Tell me a bit about what you are currently responsible for, will be my opening statement to prompt the candidate into dialogue.

Most candidates will hop right in and happily tell you what it is they are responsible for in their current position. Some will go into great detail. Some require a little more coaxing. Some will give more information than is ever really needed.

But every once in a while, someone will say it:

“Have you actually read my resume?”


Let’s make something clear.┬áResumes DO NOT get candidates jobs.

Resumes get candidates interviews.

Interviews get candidates jobs.

Interviews are tests to ensure you can speak to the accomplishments you have listed in your resume.

If a Recruiter has made the effort to get you on the phone, it is because they have given the resume enough thought and consideration to determine that you are indeed someone they wish to interview. Maybe that meant glancing over the document. Maybe that meant reading every line. But no interview with a Recruiter, no matter the circumstances, will come in the absence of a resume review.

A Woman looking over a resume with a pen in her hand

This response is the worst because it rings with an air of smugness and automatically implies that the candidate not only thinks very highly of themselves, but consider the person they are speaking with to have not done their job properly. Not a very good way to set the tone with the person who will be responsible for deciding if your resume is getting forwarded to a Hiring Manager or not.

And should you ever feel compelled to utter this response to a Hiring Manager, well…



I have seen candidates who’s experience was perfect for the job, lose everything by giving this response to a Hiring Manager. It Happens.

So be professional. Be courteous and when speaking with a Recruiter, don’t worry about whether you believe they have done their job or not. Worry instead about telling them how good you are at doing yours.

That is what we are looking for. That is what will get you in front of a Hiring Manager. That is what will get you the job.

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Michael Lippert

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