The title of this column may seem a little odd to some. You may be asking yourself, what do you mean wanting it too much? How can you possibly want a new job too much? Especially when we are typically instructed to go after what we want.

Of course, we want to differentiate ourselves from our competition when in a job search. There are times, however, when a job seeker has to “play it cool” or “dial it down” to avoid separating from the other candidates in a negative way. If you are too aggressive or show too much interest, then the Recruiter or Hiring Manager may draw the wrong conclusion about you.

The perception of being too aggressive can be very detrimental to your candidacy. If you are too aggressive, then it may be perceived that you will not be a good team player, or will be difficult to manage. A Hiring Manager rarely wants to absorb someone who may be “high maintenance” on to his/her team and may settle for someone who is less qualified in order to get a better fit.

Very little will get a person more excited than the potential of being hired for a “dream” job. Or, perhaps your situation is not as positive, but equally exciting of being close to landing a position after a long bout with unemployment. As hard as it may be, however, it is important to balance your natural interest with looking too desperate to land the position. You don’t want the Hiring Manager taking your high level of interest and start to wonder why you want or need this job so bad. Then, taking it a step further, the person may wonder what is wrong with you as a candidate if you have not already been hired by someone.

So, what are some of the signs that signal to a Recruiting or Hiring Manager that you want the job too much? Let’s review some of the key examples.

• Not Giving the Recruiter Any Space – As a candidate, you want to be available to a Hiring Manager, but you do not need to be too accessible. So, no need to answer when you are in an area with lots of noise, or you are out of breath. You also want to be smart with your follow-up calls. Some follow-up regarding your status is acceptable, but too frequent requests for updates will become annoying quickly.

• Not Following Directions – If your desire for the role gets in your way of following directions, then it is time to take a step back. For example, using our first bullet point, if you are told that you will be contacted on Wednesday, then don’t call 3x and leave messages on Monday. If you are told that a portfolio is not needed, then don’t come with a binder of your life’s work and insist that the Hiring Manager take the package.

• Arriving Too Early – Standard protocol is that you should arrive approximately 15 minutes before the interview. If you happen to be earlier than that, then stay in your car for a few more minutes. This will give you time to compose yourself prior to entering for the interview and will avoid you “loitering” around the lobby until the Hiring Manager is ready for you.

• Talking Over the Interviewer – We know you want the job and you are intent to make all the points you had prepared in order to sell yourself. You don’t, however, want to make the Interviewer uncomfortable or upset by interrupting her/him or talking over them when they are asking a question. Always let the person make their point or ask the question before responding. This not only is polite, but will also assist you in making sure you are answering everything correctly.

• Don’t Overexpress Your Interest – It is true that most Hiring Managers like to hear how much you want the job, but this interest does come with a ceiling. You do not want to reference how long you have been unemployed, or how poor your financial situation is when stating your interest. Also, please don’t talk about how hard your job search has been and how grateful you are for the interview. In this situation, you have been brought in because you have been deemed qualified, so any comments such as these may cause doubt to creep into the mind of the Interviewer. One of the areas that causes me concern is when someone who is currently working states that they can start immediately. In your desire to obtain the job, don’t offer to skip giving notice to your current employer. It will serve to make you look bad and cause the Hiring Manager to wonder if you will try to do the same thing to them someday.

• Don’t Undervalue Yourself – Do your homework and know how much you are worth in this role and in this marketplace. When asked about salary expectations, confidently speak about what you believe you are worth for this role (not what you have made in the past, but what you want to make for this position). If you don’t feel comfortable with this, then just state that you need to know more about the job rather than giving a lower than desired compensation number.

• Don’t Immediately Accept – Good companies don’t pressure you to accept on the spot regardless of the level of position. As tempted as you may be to yell “YES” as soon as you are offered, take a step back and make sure to review the opportunity to ensure it meets your needs and talk to your family, if applicable.

With most things in life, moderation is a key during one’s job search. A perfect example of this is the interest level you should express during the process. You will want to balance overtly wanting the position with taking a professional and measured approach.

As always, best of luck in your job search.

The following has been prepared for the general information of RochesterJobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.

Joe Stein
WNY Human Resources Professional

Feel free to contact Joe Stein regarding questions or comments at:
Joe Stein


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