Interviewing can sometimes be a difficult process to navigate. Talking to hiring managers or recruiters can be stressful, especially when there is no established etiquette or rule book. You never quite know what can give your interviewers the wrong impression or make them proceed with another candidate.

We asked ForceBrands’ Executive Recruiter Danielle Weiss and Team Lead for Sales and Marketing Connor MacWilliams to share some pro tips on what candidates should avoid doing when interacting with hiring managers and recruiters during the interview process. They shared these seven things to stay away from:

1. Inquiring about compensation too early on in the process
Weiss says to avoid discussing compensation in the beginning stages of the hiring process, especially if you are interviewing at a small company where you are more likely to be interviewed by your potential boss. Instead, defer compensation-related inquiries to a human resource professional or recruiter. One of the benefits of working with a recruiter, like those here at ForceBrands, is that you can learn from them about fair market compensation and the role’s approximate salary range. Learn about other benefits of working with an executive recruiter here.

2. Asking about work-life balance before the job responsibilities
“For many, work-life balance is important, but asking about it early on can sometimes turn off hiring managers,” Weiss says. If one of the first things you ask about is your schedule and work hours, it may indicate that you’re not prioritizing the responsibilities of the actual job. Instead, try asking about what the culture is like as this can be an effective way to get a better sense of the company’s work-life balance and priorities.

3. Talking negatively about other companies
If you want to explain why you left your previous company or why you want to work for the company you are interviewing for, try not to bring any negative experiences into the picture. The only reason to weave in something negative from your past roles into the conversation is if you applied your problem-solving skills and would like to share that constructive experience with the company hiring. The general rule of thumb though is to keep the conversation as positive as possible.

4. Going off topic during the interview
It’s important to be concise and only answer the questions that you are being asked without going off topic. “Starting at point A and ending somewhere completely else is never a good thing to do,” Weiss says, who advises candidates to instead research and prepare for an interview to help stay on course.

5. Telling the company you have no awareness of their brand
Most companies look to hire those who are enthusiastic and excited about their brand. Even if you’ve never tried the company’s product or have little knowledge of their brand (although we strongly suggest you do your research before interviewing), you shouldn’t let the company know.

6. Underestimating the value of recruiters
Recruiters can be your biggest advocate, and it’s important to recognize the work they are doing on your behalf. “If you build a good relationship with your recruiter, they will go to bat for you to get that extra $5,000 or one week of PTO,” MacWilliams says. Recruiters are skilled negotiators and will fight for candidates they enjoy working with.

7. Dismissing constructive feedback
If things don’t go your way during the hiring process, it’s important to learn from it. “Feedback can be tough to hear, but your recruiter is only giving you feedback to make you a better interviewer and help you get the next one,” MacWilliams says.

Interested in launching a career in CPG? Connect with one of our Executive Recruiters to start the conversation.