Do You Really Want the Job? Interviewers Can Tell
When discussing key attributes of candidates with hiring managers, one of the top considerations they mention is attitude about the company and the opportunity. Some will even say, "I can teach certain skills, but I can't teach motivation and attitude."
The bottom line is, hiring managers want to hire someone who is excited about the opportunity and truly wants to make a difference at the company. Those who are looking for "any old job" are typically weeded out during the screening process.
So how does one convey a real desire for the job? Or equally important, not that you are just "kicking the tires" and are only moderately curious about the opportunity. Interviewers estimate your interest in several ways: Your body language, your tone, the case you present, and the questions you ask.
Your body language
Everything from your posture to your eye contact sends signals about what you are thinking. If you are slouching in the chair, it conveys you are not all that interested; to avoid slouching, keep your lower back pressed against the seat. Doing this also keeps you from leaning forward (appearing a little too intense). Keep your hands in your lap to avoid fidgeting; those who fidget or stare at the clock appear to be anxious to leave the interview.
Many of us have heard that crossing your arms across your chest implies you are upset or being defensive. Ironically, many do this only because it is a comfortable way to hold your arms. Keep them at your sides.
Good eye contact is important from the greeting to the good-bye. Not looking at the interviewer implies you are hiding something or you are not comfortable.
Using a friendly demeanor and conversational tone throughout the interview is essential. People want to hire candidates who seem like they would be easy to work with (and friendly). Smiling and politely laughing at the appropriate times conveys more about you than you might think. The key is not to be stiff or appear nervous. Your tone should never sound challenging or sarcastic.
Exhibit a positive attitude. Positive attitude stretches beyond the workplace. The interviewer might even comment on the rainy weather to see how you respond. "Our lawns really need this water" is a POSITIVE response.
-- Read What Your Voice Says About You
The case you present
If you go into an interview with the intent of simply answering questions and leave, you'll likely not get the job. While interviewing, you have to build a case as to why they should hire you. They will gauge your interest in the job by determining if you've done a little homework on the company (Did you visit their website? Did you Google the company to learn about current news or personnel?).
They will also ask, "Why do you want this job?" How you answer this question can sometimes make or break the interview. At one extreme (the lousy end), people say, "I just need any job and this one seems good enough to me." At the other extreme, people share how they could make a big contribution at the company and reasons why they think the job is the perfect fit for them. It's all about what YOU can do for the company, not what the COMPANY can do for you.
The type of questions you ask can also tip off an interviewer about your interest. If you ask simple questions (like "When will you make a decision?" or "What are the benefits attached to this job?"), you will convey that you are not all that interested in knowing important aspects to the job, company, or team. Better questions dive into areas of the job you feel you'd contribute the most.
Also, make sure you bring a notepad for note-taking and writing the answers to your questions (just a few key words to trigger your memory later). If you ask questions, and do not pay attention to the answers, the interviewer will assume you were just asking a question as an obligation, and not because you were genuinely interested.
The most important thing...
Much of what has been mentioned so far can be addressed by following one key piece of advice: Treat the interview seriously and be truly interested in the employer and the opportunity presented. You can always decide the job is not for you after you have had a chance to consider all your options and reflect on the decision.
While in the interview, consider this job your BEST or ONLY option. The reason this is important: If you truly believe during the interview that this is your best option, you will convey the proper interest and tone almost automatically. Almost. Stay aware of the items mentioned in this article -- just in case.
Jeff Lipschultz is a founding partner of A-List Solutions, a premier recruiting firm in Dallas-Fort Worth. Jeff shares his views on employment trends and quirky observations of society at http://jefflipschultz.wordpress.com. Jeff has worked in start-ups to Fortune 500 companies and has interviewed thousands of candidates. When not recruiting great talent or writing about the challenges of the candidate search process from all perspectives, you’ll find Jeff cycling around Texas or Colorado or wherever there’s a hill to climb.
In an effort to help job seekers, Jeff offers a concise, easy-to-read guide on interviewing through his company’s web site (www.alistsolutions.com).