9 Things That Could Make You Look Desperate in an Interview
By James Ball
Job-seeking can be a downright miserable task.
And when time flies by without hearing a peep, it’s only natural to start feeling a little bit desperate.
Unfortunately, what often happens is that this desperation shows at the interview and scares potential employers away.
When really you want your potential employer to think you’re in high demand, a great match for the job and a difficult, but worthwhile catch. You want them to chase you.
Here’s how NOT to make that happen…
1. Nervous chatter.
When there’s a lot riding on something (like in a job interview) we all tend to get a little nervous and overexcited and to a certain extent that’s fine…
But if you spend the entire time blurting out a bunch of nonsense, your life story and/or your deepest, darkest secrets, you’re bound to scare your interviewer off.
(It’s a bit like if you were going on a first date!)
Try to remain calm and measured, but confident and make sure your interviewer has some opportunity to speak.
2. Endless jokes.
The same goes for constant joke-telling.
Your desperation to make the interviewer laugh and like you will be pretty obvious and you might even end up coming across as unprofessional (are you ever serious?!)
And of course, you might look a bit barmy, just constantly laughing along to yourself.
Feel free to make a couple of (totally appropriate) jokes, but if your interviewer doesn’t seem amused, then stop and move on.
3. Saying “I’ll do anything.”
It’s easy to lose confidence and get stuck in a rut when job-seeking.
However, admitting that you’ll take any job that comes along, at any level and at any salary, just reeks of desperation!
It also raises concerns as to whether you’re truly committed to the role you applied for in the first place — or whether you just want anything — which they are bound to question!
Of course, if you reveal how desperate you are, the potential employer also has all of the leverage; they’re more likely to mess you around, offer you less pay or benefits and even a less-senior role.
Be honest and confident and even if the job’s not 100% right for you but you’re thinking of taking it — don’t admit that!
4. Being extremely positive about your current job.
“My current place is wonderful,” “I love the team,” “my boss is great,” “I love my job…”
That’s great… so why are you looking to leave then?
Try not to be too extreme with your answers; it simply comes across false, unrealistic and unbalanced and your interviewer is bound to be a little bit suspicious.
Try and find the middle ground to describe your experience and you won’t sound as desperate to convey exaggerated and wholly positive viewpoints — it’s ok to want to move on.
5. Sucking up.
It’s a good idea to do your research before you go to an interview, so that you can come across passionate and excited about the role and company.
However, there is a line.
If you spend the entire time saying things like ‘I just love your company,” “I just can’t wait to work with you,” “your team sound great,” your passion will soon come across as desperation.
Keep your cool and measure your responses; you want them to chase you a little bit too.
6. Be confident.
I know, this is easier said than done — especially if you’re a bit of an introvert.
But this is where preparation, practice and positivity come into play.
If you have prepared for an interview enough, then not only will you be able to display an air of confidence, but you should also be able to remain cooler and calmer.
(It’s ok to feel a little bit nervous — everybody does).
Recruiter Pro Tip
When you are preparing for an interview, make sure you…
- Know your key strengths and weaknesses.
- Know all the important things about the company.
- Know some stuff about the industry.
- Know the role inside out.
Then practice some of the most common interview questions that might crop up — and how to sell yourself to other people (harder than it sounds)!
Click here to read more about some of the main things you need to be researching before your interview.
Honestly, lack of confidence is one of the most common things to let people down during an interview — if it’s an issue then it’s definitely something you should work on.
Click here to find out how to look more confident.
7. Desperate Body Language.
55% of human communication is non-verbal. Business Balls
Human beings are basically hard-wired to understand non-verbal communication, just like animals.
That means that no matter how fabulously you answer questions or how suitable your background is for the job role, your body language could sabotage your entire interview.
So, if you’re shaking with eagerness, pleading with your eyes and clearly extremely distressed by the situation (because you care so much) your desperation is going to be pretty obvious.
Try and practice in front of a mirror — how do you look and sound when you’re answering some of the most common interview questions? Does your body language look confident or arrogant? Passionate or wild? Excited or terrified?
If you’d like some more tips on getting your interview body language just right — click here.
8. Being too available.
You want your potential employer to think you have hiring managers queuing around the block to offer you a job — so best not act too available.
If they ask you about other interviews, don’t be afraid to mention a couple (unless of course they are completely different roles which would make you seem even more desperate).
You also might not want to give the game away by over-dramatically jumping for joy when they finally do offer you the job.
9. Overzealous follow up.
There’s a fine line between follow-up and stalking.
Don’t ring the interviewer immediately after the interview.
Do contact them within 48 hours with a follow-up email and/or phone call.
In the email state how much you enjoyed meeting the interviewer and re-iterate that you are open to answer any questions that were not covered during the interview.
Avoid re-stating why you think you are the perfect fit for the job as the interviewer has already heard this and it can come across like you’re pleading with them.
Only follow up once, but make sure your follow-up left a positive (and not desperate) impression.
If you’d like some more advice on how to follow up an interview — click here.
Want to read more?
Wishing you the best of luck with your interview/s. If you need any more advice, these resources are great…
Or if you’d like to read more of our latest job seeking tips and career guidance, then click here!
Good luck (again).
James is the founder and owner of Coburg Banks and a recruitment expert from Sutton Coldfield in the UK. He regularly advises companies on how to improve and get the maximum ROI from their recruitment processes.