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Express Enthusiasm in Interviews

By Wendy Gelberg

An HR Director I know once told me about one of the best hires he ever made - a woman he later came to realize was an introvert - but almost didn't hire because she showed so little apparent interest in the opportunity.

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The Impression: Lack of Interest

It's a problem common to a lot of introverts. We tend not to be as demonstrative and expressive as our extroverted counterparts. The result can be the appearance of indifference or disinterest, when sometimes the exact opposite is true.

For many introverts, it feels unseemly to be that direct. We're accustomed to being understated and indirect. Or maybe we think that being professional means not expressing emotion. But the result can be a false impression on the part of the employer. 

With the keen competition in today's job market, employers are seeking new employees who demonstrate interest in the employer and the job.  Lack of enthusiasm may often be interpreted as lack of interest, an impression to avoid leaving in the mind of a potential employer.

The Solution: Express Your Enthusiasm.

Acknowledge your excitement about the opportunity and your sincere enthusiasm for the work you do. State it out loud.

There are usually several places in an interview when you can do that. Here are a few.

  • Research the employer and the opportunity thoroughly before the interview, and then demonstrate your knowledge in your questions and answers during the interview, mentioning facts like product or service names, locations, and other relevant information. 
  • If asked a general "tell me about yourself" kind of question, you can incorporate your passion for what you do into your elevator pitch. Talk about the aspects of your work that you especially enjoy, excel at, or find satisfying.
  • When told about a particular challenge that this position will need to take on, you can talk about your successes, but also your excitement, when faced with similar challenges in the past.
  • At the very least, you can express your interest in this opportunity as part of the wrap-up at the end of the interview.

Enthusiasm is contagious. It energizes people around you and engages their interest in you. A large part of the goal of the job interview is to build rapport, and this is a key way to do that.

Ironically, the woman mentioned in the opening paragraph was ultimately hired, despite her lack of visible enthusiasm, because she was an internal candidate and had the enthusiastic endorsement of others within the company. As a result, the HR Director was willing to take a chance.

Bottom Line

Engage the interviewer's interest by communicating your excitement about the job you're interviewing for and your enthusiasm for the work that you do.


About the author...

Wendy Gelberg is a Career Navigator at JVS CareerSolution in Boston and author of The Successful Introvert: How to Enhance Your Job Search and Advance Your Career. She is a certified career coach and resume writer whose expertise is in helping people who are uncomfortable "tooting their own horn." Wendy writes resumes, gives workshops, coaches individuals, and writes articles and blogs on all aspects of the job search process. Samples of her resumes and career advice appear in over 20 books. Wendy has been a career coach and resume writer for over 15 years. She has been an introvert her whole life. Contact Wendy at wgelberg@careersolution.org.


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