17 May 2015

The Overenthusiastic Interviewee

It's a tricky one this.  The Overenthusiastic Interviewee.  It's quite common that when a client is giving me feedback on a candidate who has recently interviewed, that they will say that the candidate didn't demonstrate enough interest or enthusiasm for the job and therefore the job has gone to someone else.  Usually when briefing candidates for interview, I re-enforce to them, just how important that enthusiasm is.  After all, if you come across as not wanting the job, why would the employer want to hire you?

So last week, I had the complete opposite. A candidate lost out to another individual as a result of being over-enthusiastic.  This is pretty rare but it reminded me that it can happen and it's a worthy reminder not to sabotage your job interview by coming across a little hyper.

In this particular example, the candidate was so determined to prove to the employer that they were the right candidate for the job that they made a few errors:

1.  Talked too much.  The client remarked afterwards that he felt that the answers to questions were long and rambling.  The key learning for this is that if you know can ramble, practice keeping your answers concise.

2.  Too loud.  The candidate became louder and more strident with each answer, often talking over the client, anticipating questions and finishing their sentences for them.  This is annoying in any environment, in an interview situation, it's actually rude.  Ask a friend or colleague to practice some interview Q&A with you.

3.  The client felt 'bulldozed' by the remarkable energy and passion of the candidate.  They felt that this person would be difficult to manage and be high maintenance.  Most Managers want as easy a life as possible when it comes to managing their teams.  They usually look for a fun, approachable individual who has the right skills for the job.  Over the top energy is very off-putting and likely to raise questions about how you can fit into the team.

Some of this can be attributable to nerves and most clients understand that an interview situation can be a stressful one and that candidates may exhibit nerves.  However, if you are interviewing for a client servicing position or one where you will be client facing, an employer is more likely to be concerned by the overenthusiastic interviewee.  They'll worry about your performance with clients and if they do have other candidates to choose from, it's likely that you'll miss out.  If you think that you are guilty of over-enthusiasm and that you sometimes overwhelm people with your passion, make sure you do ask for feedback from your recruiter or the company you are interviewing with and make some adaptions to your interview technique.  Practice really does make perfect but by asking a friend or colleague to help you out, you won't lose out practising in real interviews!

As with most things in life.  This is all about balance and moderation.  You have to come across positively and to convey that you really do want the job but don't overstep the mark.  If during an interview you feel like you are losing your grip on self control and sabotaging the interview, just take a deep breath, moderate your volume and speak more slowly.  You can always get an interview back on track!