Job searching can feel like a job in and of itself sometimes. Between countless hours scrolling through job listings, perfecting your LinkedIn summary, and drafting a cover letter, it takes a healthy amount of effort just to secure an interview. And once you do make it that first round of interviews, an employer’s final decision depends on what you say, as much as it depends on your job skills.
Surprisingly enough, in between reciting our three strengths and weaknesses and phrasing our salary expectations in a favorable way, many people are forgetting to say “I want this job.”
But why do these four little words matter so much? It is important to explicitly say that you want the job in order to appeal to an interviewer during and after an interview; particularly because it “opens the possibility of asking more important questions,” said human resources professional Cristian Rennella, questions like “Why do you want to work here?” and “How will this job fit with your professional goals?”
When a candidate is proactive about reiterating that they want the job that they are interviewing for, it also “helps the interview become more efficient and productive” added Renella. And it makes sense. If you can successfully articulate that you both want the job and really sell the reasons why, then you’re one step closer to hopefully securing a job offer.
Keep in mind though, that it’s all about balance, “There’s nothing worse than having negative people on your team, so when recruiting, most people are looking for signs of enthusiasm and positivity,” said Fiona Adler, hiring manager and creator of the Actioned App. And “You don’t want to sound desperate for the job, but you do want to let it be known that this job is a great fit for you and you’d be delighted to be offered the role. “
What keeps more job candidates from saying this four words? It could be an overall lack of interview preparation, or fear of sounding too eager.
“From my personal experience, one of the top reasons candidates don’t move to the next round in an interview (other than cultural fit or rambling) is that they can’t close the interview,” said Sarah Johnston, a former hiring manager and current job search coach.
Many experts seem to prefer a well-informed, well-prepared job candidate, who goes beyond just displaying enthusiasm for a role, according to President of Goldbeck Recruiting Henry Goldbeck, who said that the key lies in “ Not just saying, “I want this Job” but being enthusiastic, confident and informed about the job and what you will be able to accomplish.”
This means being able to explain why you want the job and how you plan to contribute to the company. And the best way to be able to do this is to do thorough research beforehand. Be in the know about a company’s mission, current and past initiatives, and its competitors.
You do actually have to want the job, in order to give a compelling and authentic interview. So be sure that the job is a fit before you say those four words.
Tiffany Curtis is a Philly-based freelance writer, podcaster, and sex positivist whose work focuses on empowerment for women of color, race, and culture, and sex positivity. She has written for sites like Blavity, Refinery29, and Hello Giggles.