You won’t get a second chance to make a good first impression. When it comes to interviews, you always have to put your best foot forward, but coming off as desperate is definitely something that you don’t want happening to you.
As any hiring manager will tell you, desperation, raw and unmasked, is one of the most undesirable traits you can let show at an interview. Desperate is never a good look on anyone, and it could very well cost you a great opportunity.
The bottom line remains that you will want to impress the interviewer but not come off as desperate. How then do you toe the line between eager enthusiasm and desperation during your interview?
1. Arrive Early. Just Not Too Early
No interviewer will excuse tardiness, and showing up on time, and even half an hour or so before time will always give a good first impression. However, coming in way too early and having to wait around in the lobby sends a signal of desperation that won’t be too easy to shake off. By all means, come in early, just check that it’s not too early.
2. Do Your Research. Just Don’t Awkwardly Force It In
Prepare for the interview by doing your research.Do your research on the company’s projects, past and current, its core values and vision. This background knowledge will help you answer any questions about the company that the interviewer may throw at you.However, should you try to forcefully and ineptly work this information into the interview, even without a context, your interviewers will be less than impressed.
3. Balance Your Responses
An interview is an opportunity for you to sell yourself, but you can overdo it, and only end up sounding desperate in the process. Take for instance, an interview question about a mistake you may have made in your previous job. Saying that you can’t recall any instance where you made a mistake, or going ahead to shift the blame for that mistake to other people only makes you appear dishonest, and, of course, desperate. Acknowledging a past mistake, and going ahead to explain what you learnt from that experience is a more balanced approach to answering such a question.
If you really want to impress, talk about your strengths, but careful that you don’t find yourself going on and on about your perceived accomplishments like a narcissist.
4. Ask The Right Questions
Stick to question that are particularly relevant to the position you have applied for. This will communicate a genuine interest in the company and the role. On the other hand, asking about salaries and other benefits during your first interview when you haven’t been offered the job will make you sound desperate.
5. Post-Interview Follow-up
Following up after the interview will show you have a genuine interest in the job. Send a thank you note after the interview, communicating the fact that you appreciate the opportunity to interview with the company and look forward to hearing back from them. Keeping it short and to the point will leave a good impression. Hounding the hiring manager with multiple emails every so often is distasteful and will leave no doubt about your desperation.
An employer will hire you for what you have to offer and your primary focus should be communicating exactly that. Even if the search has been long and challenging, bringing an air of desperation to your interview will only hurt your chances.