There’s a huge difference between talking to someone who’s taken a day or two to prepare themselves versus talking to someone who’s trying to wing it over. And recruiters can hear the difference.

1. Did This Person Do at Least a Little Homework?

It’s probably no surprise to you that at this point, researching the company before the interview is one of the first things you should do. And sure, later on in the process, you should have a firm understanding on the company’s history and what they’re trying to accomplish. But when it comes to the initial conversation, the company’s just trying to ensure that the candidate had at least started doing their homework.
2. Is This Person Willing to Discuss Salary?

Ah, the tricky question about money. I know how hard it is to discuss salary because you don’t want to lowball yourself, but you also don’t want to take yourself out of the running by asking for too much. It’s a hard question, but the truth is that most recruiters know that.

Trust me: While you might be disappointed to learn your dream job can’t pay you what you deserve, it’s much better to find out early in the process—so meet the recruiter in the middle and be open about what you’re hoping to earn.
3. Does the Candidate Show a Sincere Interest in Our Company?

Again with the common interview advice, right? Well, not exactly. Most people know that recruiters want to hear about why you’re interested in the job. But what many people in my network tend to ignore is the fact that most recruiters have heard just about everything—and a canned answer about how you know the organization is going to change the world isn’t going to move the needle in your favor.

Instead of making this answer about you, make it about your genuine interest in the job. If you have specific reasons for being excited about the role, share them! You’ll stand out for your honest, candid answers.

Knowing that recruiters aren’t expecting world-changing answers should help you relax, be yourself, and answer the questions as well as possible. Just being confident in yourself and in your reasons why you’d like this job is more than enough at this stage.