The bottom line of everything I am about to write can be summarized with the following:
If you are interested in a job and hope to be selected out of all the candidates in the running – show it, be upfront, don’t hide your enthusiasm and stop playing “Mr. (Ms) Cool”.
As a headhunter, I obviously love being the bearer of good news to job seekers and abhor being the messenger tasked with delivering the bad news. After having spoken with each candidate at least a dozen times before the recruitment / interviewing process nears its end, I can anticipate the reaction I am going to get. I know that disappointment is imminent for someone who was extremely interested in the position and that a more lukewarm reaction is to be expected from someone who was not entirely sold on the new job. 90% of the time I am right, but it is the other 10% that always catches me off guard. If you are my candidate and I have spoken to you about a position time and time again, only for you to keep asking me a million and a half questions saying that your interest level is 6 out of 10, how can I not be shocked when you express astonishment and resentment over not getting the job in the end?
Playing “hard to get” is simply not attractive and “poker face” is better used in… umm… poker. You have to understand that we are not in the business of forcing people into jobs or forcing our clients into hiring just about anyone. Our aim is to match two parties that will be absolutely thrilled to have found a perfect fit. When our client is “lukewarm” about a candidate, we suggest that they move on to other applicants. Likewise, when you are telling us that you are not entirely pumped about the position in question, we take it at face value and coach both our client and you accordingly.
As a jobseeker, you might think that it is best to remain professional and “corporate” at all times, hiding your emotion as much as possible. Yet, you couldn’t be more wrong. I cannot tell you how often I have told clients that a candidate they are considering is (and I quote) “absolutely in love with the company”, “super impressed with everyone they met during the interview process” and “crossing their fingers to get the job”. Can you guess the client`s reaction when they hear this? Do they say: “Oh, what unprofessional feedback. Unacceptable.”? No! 10 times out of 10, the reaction we get is: “Really? He is really interested in us then? Oh great! What else did he say?”
People are people, regardless of whether they are hiring or being hired. Your passion and your transparency are often appreciated above anything else. Clients are more eager to hire candidates who show that they are beyond interested in the company and the job in question. Clients are even much more flexible on paying such candidates a higher starting salary!
So, please stop playing games – it will not increase your negotiating power. Be candid and remain human & it will land you that job you secretly (sometimes very secretly) are hoping to land.