The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


June 7, 2013

Career Coach: Don't be a desperate job seeker

Acting desperate has never been an attractive quality in dating relationships, and it's certainly not attractive to potential employers, either. For job seekers — especially new graduates who haven't yet secured a position — emotions can run high and turn usually calm, collected candidates into needy, overeager individuals. It is that behavior that will keep them from landing a job.

I've had a handful of students over the years that fall into this group. Their resumes look fantastic. They pass the first-round interview, but they get to the second round and they just aren't getting the job. As you can imagine, they are very frustrated. When I talk to them and to the recruiters, there is a theme to why it's just not happening. Instead of being themselves and letting their talent and experience doing the selling, these candidates come across as too desperate for that job. They are doing things that turn off the recruiters, and they don't even realize it.

Here are some of the biggest turnoffs:

Hyper sales mode

Candidates can become so focused on selling themselves that they are just not listening to an interviewer's questions. They don't offer relevant information, or they are going off on tangents during the interview. They may even speak too loudly, too fast or just say too much. Some may begin using jargon — acronyms or tech speak, for example — but the terms may not even be relevant. They are just trying to impress recruiters.

Deviating from the script

Candidates may have spent a long time preparing for interviews and have their personal achievements and questions prepared to discuss. But in the interview situation, they stray from those points. Perhaps they exaggerate their achievements and try to go straight to "closing the deal." An interview should end with a candidate reinforcing their value proposition and interest in the job. Avoid being too direct or asking "Are you going to hire me?"

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