Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Interview Tips: Ask for the Job

I spent the week after I graduated from college at home with my parents. My father has been quite the entrepreneur and employed a lot of people over the years. One day I asked my dad if he would tell me what I needed to know to get a job and be a successful employee. Frankly, a lot of what I write in this blog is somehow related back to that one conversation. Thanks, Dad!

My dad told me that when hiring for a position he typically gave the job to the person who asked for it. Literally told him he or she wanted the job. The one who said "I really want to work here, I hope you'll let me prove myself to you." Now as a hiring manager, I can't tell you how much this continues to ring true. At the end of the first interview I conduct with a new candidate, I will ask "What's your interest level in this position on a scale of 1 to 10?" Lately I've heard several 8-9 scores. If the ranking is less than a 10, I always ask why they chose that number and inevitably the reasoning is pretty shallow and they just didn't want to seem too eager. I'm NOT impressed by this.

I'm a busy person with an open position to fill. So if you want this job, TELL ME! There's something SO appealing about someone who says "I am really excited about this job and I hope you'll give me a chance to meet with you again". Conversely, there's something so UNAPPEALING about the person who says "Well, I mean, I'm really interested but I'd like to meet the office staff and um...I still have some questions about it." Now, if that's how you really feel then please, be honest. But if you actually want the job, tell me! I seriously hesitate every time someone tells me that their interest level is less than a 10. Jobs at my company can be demanding and you have to WANT it if you are going to succeed here and do your best work for us. So let's not play hard to get.

I remember when I was applying for an resident assistant position at my college. This was a fairly competitive position and I really wanted it. I ended up having a second interview with a resident director who I really wanted to work for and I believed this was my last chance to sell myself. At the very end of the interview, I looked him in the eye and said "I really want to be an RA for you. I really want this position and I will do my very best to be a great RA." A week later I found out that I got it. I never asked my interviewer (who became my boss) if my plea made a difference but I have a feeling it did. As a hiring manager I am looking for people who really want to work for me and my company.

So next time you go on an interview for a job you would kill for, take my dad's advice and ask for the job!

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