Job hunting can be downright demoralizing. You send out resume after resume without getting anything in return. Why didn’t the hiring manager like what they saw? Did they even see it?
After sending so many resumes into the void, even a rejection email can become a welcome acknowledgment. It’s natural for desperation to seep in if it wasn’t already the driving force behind your job hunt. Once you finally break through, part of your job interview preparation must be to leave desperation behind.
“[Interviewers] don’t trust someone who’s desperate,” says Rachel Beohm, a nonverbal communication and job interview coach, who took the time to chat with Jobscan. “It reduces your credibility.”
Rachel emphasizes that combatting nerves and desperation is more about changing your mindset than masking any specific tells. “Nervousness and excitement are physiologically almost identical, the only difference is your thought process.”
Desperation is a symptom of need rather than want. Interviewers will pick up on which is motivating you. “Need is desperation, want is joy and enthusiasm and passion,” says Rachel. “If you can approach it from a place of want versus need, that’s going to change how you communicate.”
Below, Rachel helps us combat two primary sources of need and desperation that can keep many job seekers from having great interviews.
1. You need money
When times are tough and your rent is overdue, the instinct for self-preservation can override everything, but you don’t want the interviewer to know you’re in survival mode.
“If your entire livelihood is riding on the outcome of this interview, chances are you’ll do anything to get [the job],” says Rachel. If the interviewer catches on, you lose credibility. “You say, ‘This is the perfect job for me,’ [but] they’re not necessarily going to believe it” or any other claims you make.
Rachel shares a story from her former consulting firm’s hiring experiences in which an ideal candidate nailed the phone interview only to blow it as soon as the in-person interview began. “Why do you want this job?” asked the interviewer. “Well,” began the applicant, “I need a job.”
“That was it,” recounts Rachel. “The interview was over.” The firm wasn’t about to hire someone who only wanted the job because they needed any job.
That said, sometimes it is a matter of needing any work. How can applicants in this situation approach a job interview sincerely?
“Do a little bit of research,” says Rachel. “Find something about either the company, the work, the product, the location, whatever it is, find something about it that you can get behind that is real and personal and then communicate that.”
2. You need this job to be happy or advance your career
Desperation can interfere even when it’s not a matter of putting food on the table. When a dream job or great career opportunity seems within reach, a common trap is to get too attached, believing that this job is the key to personal or professional fulfillment.
“You don’t want to have your whole identity and happiness and sense of self-worth riding on the outcome of that one specific interview,” says Rachel. “You need to be present and grounded in order to go in and have a good interview, which means you need to be aware that this is one out of many opportunities.”
Rachel believes the key to this is striving to be “100% invested, 0% attached.” It’s a matter of surrendering control.
“Whether or not they choose you, that is outside of your control, so you let that go,” she says. What can you control? “Showing up and just being yourself, and accessing your expertise and your excitement and your experience.”
Jobscan thanks Rachel Beohm for her time. Find more communication tips on her nonverbal communication blog.
Get your resume in front of the people that matter by utilizing Jobscan’s resume optimization tools, then study up on common job interview questions and use Rachel’s job interview tips to make yourself, as she says, “someone who shows up fully, is grounded, real, confident, credible, but not attached.”