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Ask the Recruiter

by Mike Arsenault - Director of Candidate Services

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Let Mike know your questions for future articles by emailing them to marsenault (at) This month’s Q&A is below:

Q: Recently, a hiring manager asked if I had any questions about the job I was interviewing for and I felt awkward. What kind of questions should I be asking? Usually, the entire interview is about the job, so I’m stumped.

A: The worst thing you can do here is not ask a question. I would suggest inquiring of next steps in the process, what the time frame might be for filling the position, or asking about whether the job is a new position or was recently vacated.

Some more direct questions might be whether or not your qualifications fit the position, and if there appears to be any gaps in your qualifications and what is needed for the job. Many times a great candidate has been passed over simply because the hiring manager assumed he or she lacked certain experience when, in fact, that wasn’t the case.

You also can ask the interviewer about his/her time with the company and his/her experiences with the organization. Bottom line: you need to have some sort of question ready.

Q: Is there anything that I shouldn’t say in a job interview?

A: The biggest mistake is to 'go negative.' Remember, the job interview at this stage is not so much about you; it’s about your skills, experiences and how you will ultimately fit into the company culture. If you’re asked, “Tell me about yourself,” you don’t want to spend 20 minutes on the depressing things about your life or how the dentist messed up your root canal.

Stay on topic, stay positive and keep it between 2-3 minutes.

If you are asked about your skills, discuss your skills. If a hiring manager inquires about your time in the military, be positive, even as there were likely many difficult times. Companies seek out veterans because we typically possess better tangible and intangible qualities than the normal job applicant. You will have their respect for having worn the uniform, but you will need to reinforce the many positive stereotypes associated with a military service member. Communicate a clear, concise and upbeat message about you and why you are the best person to fill their open position.

Q: Do you have any advice on choosing a location for my next job?

A: It is important to do a self-assessment and consider what is truly important when looking for your next career. Generally speaking, if a specific location is of utmost importance to you in the career search -- meaning any other jobs outside that area are out of the question -- be prepared to consider opportunities which may be a bit lower in pay and not your 'dream job.'

That is usually the trade-off if you are not willing to move, but perhaps it’s worth the price if you have children in a good school, live close to extended family, or perhaps your spouse has a great career.

Location, opportunity, compensation, and quality of life are all important pieces of the career search. Once you determine their order of importance, you will have some clearer guidelines as how best to proceed with your career search.

Mike Arsenault is Director of Candidate Services at Military Recruiter Bradley-Morris, Inc. He can be reached at (800) 330-4950 ext. 2105 or by email at marsenault (at)

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