Want That Job? Interview With Enthusiasm

I read a blog post today that listed three things hiring managers discuss after they interview a client.  The first one had to do with the client’s enthusiasm for the job and company.  You can see the rest of the post here.

Enthusiasm is important when you’re interviewing.  Employers want to know that you are sincerely interested in their company and the position for which you’re interviewing.  I know this is true from personal experience – on both sides of the hiring interview.

When I was working for a very large pharmaceutical company, I had occasion to hire seven or eight people and participate in interviews for many more.  I always leaned towards the folks who came prepared with a knowledge of our company and a genuine interest in the opportunity we offered.

I once asked a candidate why he wanted a job with our company that I Was filling.  He said, “You’re in New York.  That’s the big time.”  He lost the job right there and then.

I could understand that he wanted to work in New York City.  But that was the wrong answer to lead with.  I was looking for something like, “I’ve been following your company for a while.  I like the industry and I like that you’re a leader in it.  I’m confident that I can make a significant contribution in the job we’re discussing right away.  And, I’m sure this job will give me the chance to grow professionally.”  That kind of answer demonstrated enthusiasm for both the job and our company.

Om the other hand, I once lost a job because of perceived lack of enthusiasm for it. And it was my own damn fault.  The job was with a consulting company.  I was very well qualified for the job, and from what the recruiter told me, I figured the interview was just a formality.  I made a choice to play it cool during the interview.  My approach was something like, “We’re all professionals here.  You know that I have everything you need.  Let’s chat about what I’ll be doing.”

That was a really stupid thing to do.  A couple of days after the interview, the recruiter called and said that they chose another candidate.  I was floored.  When I asked why, she told me that while I was the best qualified out the of three candidates who made it to the final round of interviews, I came across as unenthusiastic about the job and the company.  So they chose someone else.

I wasn’t unenthusiastic about the opportunity.  I wanted it very badly.  But I didn’t want to show how much I wanted it in the interview – thinking that I might come across as uncool or desperate.

From that experience I learned that it’s always best to err on the side of enthusiasm.  Don’t play it cool.  Show up for interviews with great knowledge about the company and industry.  Google the people on the interview panel, learn as much about them as you can.  Prepare great questions.  You know that you’ll be asked, “What questions do you have for me?”  And most of all act like you really want the job.  Sell yourself.

Your career mentor,


PS: If you want some great tips on job hunting and interviewing, check out these great resources.


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