10 Tips on Visiting a Recruiter

Kyle Stone | GovCentral Contributing Writer

Recruiters are well-trained, committed professionals who can answer a lot of your questions about what it’s like in the federal government. Recruiters are also very up-front: they face demanding schedules and cannot possibly tell you everything you would like to hear. Therefore, your job is to become a detective – ask plenty of questions! This will ensure that you are given the most complete picture of your possible future as a government worker.

Meeting a recruiter should be an informative, stress-free experience. Review these 10 secrets and make sure you’re prepared for your interview.

1. Wear a Suit

Always wear a suit or coat and tie. Wearing business attire shows that you hold yourself to the highest standards, and that is what a recruiter is looking for in a candidate. Many prospective recruits make the mistake of showing up in their every day street clothes. This does not go unnoticed and there is a high probability that your resume or application will end up on the bottom of the pile. If, for some reason, it is absolutely not possible for you to wear a suit then make sure you tell the recruiter before hand so they know.

2. Speak Professionally

Just as you need dress professionally, you need to speak professionally. Don’t act around the recruiter how you would act around your friends or family. Don’t use slang or other profane language and stay away from making jokes. Even the most innocent jokes be offensive to some people.

3. Ask Questions

Be prepared with a list of questions you have for the recruiter. This is your chance to get clarifications to questions you might have about an agency you are interested in, common job tasks, or about general career advancement. Make sure your questions are relevant and aren’t already answered through general literature.

4. Don’t Be a Know-It-All

Don’t try to impress the recruiter with your knowledge (or perceived knowledge) of the government. You’re there to get information from the recruiter, not to give it. Even if the recruiter is telling you something you already know, listen intently and be thankful for the information.

5. Listen and Be Courteous

When you meet with a recruiter there will be opportunities for you to get your questions answered. Don’t interrupt or cause disruptions if the recruiter is speaking to someone else or isn’t answering your question as quick as you would like. Be courteous and wait for the appropriate time to interject or clarify your question.

6. Don’t Talk Just to Talk

Don’t speak unless you are answering a question, asking a question, or engaging in appropriate dialogue. Don’t talk just to talk.

7. Be Early

Do not be late, especially if you have a one-on-one meeting with the recruiter. Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early. If you are meeting a recruiter at a job fair, remember that recruiters will usually not forget the first few people they talk to, even if they end up talking with dozens more throughout the day.

8. Expect Tough Questions

Why do you want a government job? Do you have anything questionable in your past? When was the last time you used drugs? Those are just a few of the questions that you will be asked during your application process. Be prepared to answer them quickly and honestly even as early as your first meeting with the recruiter. Always remember that if you lie, they will find out and your career will be over before it even starts.

9. Be Prepared to State Your Goals

You should list out your career goals before you even make a meeting with the recruiter. Be true to yourself and be honest, but don’t be stupid. If you’re talking to a recruiter about one specific career paths, don’t go into a lot of detail about your long-term career aspiration to work in a position which you are under-qualified for.

10. Remember that You Are Talking to a Government Official

The authorities and responsibilities bestowed on government officials can be very serious. You must always be professional and courteous to everyone you encounter. Your attitude and demeanor must convey the embodiment of these principles to the recruiter.

Questions to Ask the Recruiter

Even though you’ve done a lot of research into the agency you are applying to and law enforcement in general, you probably still have a lot of questions. Here are some things to consider or to ask the recruiter if you don’t already have an answer:

1. What is the timeline for career progress and promotions?
2. What distinguishes this agency from other agencies?
3. Is travel a necessary part of working for this department?
4. What is the pay like?
5. What are the next steps?

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