Desperation Doesn’t Work in Dating — Nor in Job Interviewing

My friends at The Muse always have very interesting content on jobs and job searching.  Their recent article about problems you cause for yourself in an interview is a great example.  You can check it out here.

I really like the first problem — you’re desperate and you show it.  I send members of my career mentoring site a success quote every day.  A couple of days ago, I sent this quote from Darrell Gurney, The Career Guy…

“Desperation works in job search as well as it does in dating.”

I haven’t been in the dating scene for a long time — Cathy and I will be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary this year.  But Darrell and the folks at The Muse are on to something here.

There is a fine line between desperation and enthusiasm, and successful job seekers know how to walk it. Come across as too nonchalant and your prospective employer might think that you lack the enthusiasm for the job for which he or she is looking.

On the other hand, coming across as someone who is in such dire need of a job that you’ll take anything isn’t the way to go either.  That’s why it is always easier to find a job when you have a job.

But sometimes circumstances conspire to put you in a situation of looking for a job when you don’t have one.  You could be a recent graduate, or you could be someone who was caught in a downsizing.  Whatever the reason, if you’re unemployed, you need to project an air of confidence in an interview.

This is an inside job.  tell yourself that the company you’re interviewing will be lucky to get someone like you.  Then go out and sell yourself as a competent professional — one who can bring value to the company and contribute right away.  You can’t sell yourself effectively, if you don’t believe in yourself.

Even if you are feeling a little desperate, don’t let it show in an interview.  Take stock of your skills and experience.  Create an interview plan for showing the hiring manager how you can make a positive contribution right away.  Then put your plan to work in the interview.

Remember desperation doesn’t work in dating — and it sure doesn’t work in job interviews.

Your career mentor,


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