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 Show Them You Really Want To Work

By Joe Stein

I am not sure exactly when this happened, but the mindset of many job seekers has unfortunately somehow moved from searching, to almost one of entitlement. Job seekers now often have an expectation that the Recruiter or Hiring Manager should come to them, and that showing a level of “disinterest” will make them a more coveted candidate.
Call me “old school”, but I am not sure how that indifferent attitude helps you in your job search. I don’t think it works unless you are one of those rare people who have a particular skill that is in such demand that you can afford this approach. In my view, you are limiting your opportunities and running the risk of losing out to a candidate who wants it more or just shows more interest.
Employers still want to believe that you really want to work, and even more importantly, you really want to work for them. If you don’t think so, take the recent news story regarding the homeless and unemployed web developer in California who dressed up in a shirt and tie on a street corner and, with a sign in hand, passed out resumes. His entire marketing concept was to show others how badly he wanted employment. By the time he was done, he had a number of job leads to pursue or interviews to attend.
In my opinion, this is a great example of how job seekers can and must differentiate themselves from others. This is true even in the high demand world of Information Technology in California. There are usually multiple qualified candidates for a position, but who wants the position more is the key. These Recruiters saw, in this man on the corner, a person who wants to work and desires to present himself in the best possible way. Now let’s contrast this with what the Recruiters probably usually see…people who don’t have a professional resume, don’t “dress for success”, or act like they could “give or take” the position.
The good news is that it is relatively simple to show a Recruiter or Hiring Manager that you really are interested in working and, more specifically want to be with their company. Among the basic items you can do to express interest are the following:
• Send a well-written Cover Letter and Resume in the format desired. Make sure the document clearly communicates your qualifications and, of course, must be error free. • Be flexible when called for a phone interview or to come in for an interview (this includes any 2nd, or more, interviews to come later). Do not make it overly difficult for the Recruiter to connect with you. • Return any messages left for you as quickly as possible. Return the call during business hours that you would expect the Recruiter to be working. • Research the company and come prepared for your interview. Be not only ready to answer questions, but to ask thoughtful ones of your own. • Dress for the interview in an appropriate fashion. • Be engaged and show enthusiasm for the role and company. • Treat everyone you encounter with courtesy and respect. • Follow-up your phone screen or interview with a Thank You message expressing appreciation for the opportunity to meet. • Be ready to provide quickly any requested information, such as work samples or references. • When presented with an offer, show appreciation and enthusiasm. • Attend any drug screen or other testing appointments in a timely manner.
As you probably concluded, everything on the above list is pretty simple or even common sense. Completion of most, if not all, of these actually requires very little effort or time. The amazing thing then is how many candidates do not do all of these, either by omission or due to some misguided strategy of playing “hard to get”.
Place yourself in the shoes of a Hiring Manager, or even think about what you want most in a co-worker. A positive attitude, enthusiasm, someone who is eager to work and desires to assist others. That list sounds pretty enticing and would make any qualified candidate a favorite for the position.
While your qualifications, experience, and education are important, the mindset you bring to your job search (and your new position) is critical to differentiate yourself from others. A few simple activities can help you show anyone that you really want to work for them.
As always, best of luck in your job search!