Show Your Enthusiasm

by on September 13, 2017

Show Your Enthusiasm

For many years there was a cable television show called “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” The lead character, played by Larry David, was cynical about everything that happened to him in his life. While definitely a spoof on everyday life, its message centered on not getting too excited about anything that was happening to you or you anticipated to happen, no matter what outcome you expected from it.

Recently, I was in discussion with a group of those in job search. One of the participants has had many interviews over the last few years. He has been well qualified for the positions for which he has interviewed. Yet, he never seems to land that position he seeks, or receive an offer. While his feeling is his age is working against him, (and there may be some truth to that belief), my fellow participants and I feel that what may working against him is his interview style. It tends to be very mechanical in nature. He will answer questions that are asked, almost overthinking and afraid to say the wrong thing. In short, he holds back on “showing his enthusiasm” for the position which he is discussing.

All the participants in the discussion have come to know each other very well. We know this gentleman is actually a very engaging individual.   However, when reaching the interview process, something comes over him. Our discussion group has even done practice interviews with him with different participant audiences. The feedback is always the same. He is just too stiff in his presentation.

Whether it is a formal for pay job interview, a volunteer position, being asked to be a member of a team, etc., if there is a selection process, yes the person doing the interviewing will certainly want to have a sense you are qualified for the role you are seeking. However, they also will want to gain an impression that you will be someone who is pleasant to work with, will interact well with other team members, and really care about the cause or role which you are being asked to fill.

No one is asking for you to be non-authentic. Showing false excitement will ultimately show through as being insincere. However, speaking with a pleasant smile, leaning forward a bit when addressing another, asking meaningful questions to learn more about a role and the typical issues that are faced, will go a long way in connecting you to another. Additionally, researching a bit about the role you seek or the organization for which you are looking to display your talents, also helps to gain the confidence of the person looking to hire you for the role.

Yes, interviewing is hard work. A lot of preparation goes into the process. However, even the most prepared interviewee, if they come off as robotic will turn many a person off. So, if you feel that you have prepared well for your interviews or are not connecting, take some time out to practice with others you trust. Ask them to judge your smile, your personality, your body language. Gain a sense of whether or not you are actually engaging in a conversation with them, or are more just providing answers to questions, hoping that the process will end quickly. The level of enthusiasm you show for a role you seek could be the difference between you and another equally or more qualified candidate actually receiving the coveted job offer.

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