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A recruiter liking you is great — but it’s not the whole story

A recruiter liking you is great — but it’s not the whole story

For many, the job hunting process can feel nebulous and mysterious, and it leaves people with so many questions. How does the process actually work? What can I do to improve my chances? Does the ATS really automatically throw out applications if they don’t have enough keywords?

As a recruiter at Fund That Flip (now known as Upright), I’m always focused on making the recruiting process more human-centered, pulling back the curtain to help candidates get a real sense of what’s going on — and how to use that to their advantage. 

The best recruiters don’t want to trick you, or make you fail — we want to help you! 

So today, I’m going to be demystifying one aspect of the process that feels like the first hurdle to getting your foot in at an org: the recruiter liking – or not liking – you.

Sure, it’s great if the recruiter likes you. But it’s not the only thing that matters.



Recruiters aren’t generally the final decision maker. 

Think about all the people you talk to when interviewing at a company. You talk to a recruiter for a phone screen. If you move on to the next round, maybe you talk to the hiring manager and some of your would-be peers. There are a lot of people involved, which means the recruiter’s opinion isn’t the only one. 

We act as advisors, making recommendations about who should move on to the next step and who we should remove from the process, but there’s so much more to that recommendation than the first impression you made in that call. 


Image courtesy of Fund That Flip


At the end of the day, you have to meet specific criteria

Recruiters are given specific criteria for candidates to clear, and we usually know what the hiring manager is looking for. No matter how likable you are, you may not have those things. 

Let’s say the hiring manager is looking for someone really concise and to the point so they can communicate effectively with customers and internal stakeholders. If you spend a lot of time getting to the answer to each question during your call with the recruiter, they might really like you, AND that might be an indicator that you aren’t very concise. 

I like people. I would even say I like most people. I bet many recruiters would say the same. AND liking someone doesn’t make them a fit for the role I’m hiring.


There’s a lot to cover on a 30-minute call

When you’re talking on the phone with a recruiter, you usually only have 30 minutes to show us you meet the criteria AND that you’ve got a personality that will connect with the team. It’s a lot to fit into 30 minutes, so you have to balance showing off your skills and your personality. 

Additionally, if you say that you “enjoyed the conversation,” that may be true, but it doesn’t tell the story of the impact you’ll have in the role. At the end of the day, the team wants to find a candidate who will make a difference, so it’s important to really highlight that. 

Image courtesy of Fund That Flip


But you still do want to be liked by the recruiter…

Being liked by the recruiter may not be the whole story, but it is a part of it. 

If the recruiter finds that you’re not a fit for this particular role, it doesn’t mean you’re not a fit for ANY role. Securing the advocacy of the recruiter may keep you top of mind for future opportunities. 

Just remember, you made it to the phone screen because on paper you met the minimum qualifications, and we wanted to get to know you more. We WANT you to be the right fit. Everything you say and how you say it is a chance to prove to us that you are.

About the Author

sara bakkenSara Bakken has a passion for connecting talented individuals with their dream jobs, Sara is an expert at identifying top talent and building high-performing teams.

Prior to her pivot into recruiting, Sara spent several years as a music teacher, where she honed her skills in communication, organization, and leadership. Her experience as an educator gave her the ability to bring out the best in her students, and now she brings that same mindset to her work in recruiting.

Sara's tagline of "having fun and getting things done" perfectly encapsulates her approach to work and life. She is dedicated to making the recruiting process enjoyable and stress-free for both candidates and hiring managers, while also ensuring that the right people are placed in the right roles.

When she's not busy matching top talent with great opportunities, you can find Sara reading sci-fi novels, listening to music, and doing macrame. Her love of music has been a constant in her life, and she continues to find inspiration in the power of creativity and collaboration.

LinkedIn /sarabbakken | Instagram @thereicruiter