We walk into an interview with the unspoken assumption that the employer knows we want the job. Except for practice interviewing or cold calling, we put out the time and energy for an interview because we think the position is worthwhile and will be a good fit.
The employer may be interviewing many people for one position and has to weigh the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate in a very short period of time. Quickly jotted interview notes reveal doubts about certain applicants and positive aspects of others. Whatever position is involved, from unskilled work to professional or managerial posts, employers overwhelmingly seek one major attribute: they seek to hire someone who really wants the position.
If you are unemployed (head hunter or promotional positions provide a little more bargaining room), you need to make it crystal clear that you want the job, that you are committed to do whatever it takes, and that you are eager for the chance to perform, to please, and to exceed all expectations that have been outlined.
Often, applicants are afraid to seem too eager, thinking that the employer will think that they are desperate and consequently that the salary offered will be lower. They play coy, stating that they need to think about it, that they have other irons in the fire, or that they are weighing different job offers. A lack of enthusiasm when pay and benefits are mentioned, or a lackluster response to the position’s details, rarely results in a positive response.
Hiring managers or company owners believe that what they are offering is a gift that anyone with sense would snap up in an instant. If the applicant seems ambivalent about the offer, it subconsciously suggests that maybe this position isn’t good enough. The manager/interviewer vaguely senses that their own choice in working for this company may be regarded as a mistake.
Ask directly for the job, even if you’re unsure about it. Display unabashed enthusiasm for this position, with this company, at this time, and make it clear to the interviewer that you want to start right away, eager to prove your skills and competence.
More than one hiring decision has been determined by who seemed to want the job the most – a classic marker of those who will work hard and produce. If you decide later that it’s not for you, you can always decline but at least you gave yourself a choice.