This is a classic interview failure. I’d guess that good candidates fail to get an offer 80% of the time because they don’t know how to say, “I love you.”
Why don’t my interviews produce any offers?
I recently had what I feel are very good interviews. Most of these interviews lasted a couple of hours with the main decision maker, yet I don’t get any job offers. A good friend (who works in engineering management like I do) says that I need to tell the interviewer I want the job, but I think that’s obvious. Why would I be in the interview if I didn’t want the job? It just seems a little awkward to say that explicitly, almost like I’m begging. Who’s right?
Failing to say explicitly that you want the job is a critical mistake. You must say it.
I cannot emphasize this enough: Say it, and say it before you are asked. (Most of the time an employer will not come out and ask whether you want the job.) It makes all the difference in the world.
I’ve had clients tell me they liked a candidate a lot, but they don’t make an offer because they don’t see a clear commitment from the candidate. An employer needs to hear you say, “I want this job.”
As you point out, it might seem obvious: why would you go on the interview if you weren’t interested in the job? But, it’s not obvious at all. In fact, people go on interviews all the time for jobs they aren’t sure they want. Internet job boards create pathetic conditions where people apply for hundreds, if not thousands, of jobs at a time just because the jobs are posted. They attend interviews because they are invited — not because they have a high motivation to work for a company that calls. Savvy managers know this.
Mind you, I’m not suggesting you should say you want the job when you don’t. You need to make a decision during the interview. My rule is this: if your gut tells you there’s a better than 50% chance you’d take the job if it were offered with a good compensation package, then you can legitimately say you want the job. (If you don’t really want it, then end the interview and forget about it.)
When I asked my wife to marry me, she said yes. (I got lucky.) Do you think she’d have said yes if I’d never uttered these magic words to her: “I love you”?
People naturally want to hear it. You’ve got to look the manager in the eye and say the equivalent of, “I love you.” I want to come work for you. I want to be on your team. If you don’t, then you’re not serious. Another candidate will be.
Of course, it helps if you have other things to say that impress the interviewer… but that wasn’t the question.