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Enthusiasm – the great divider?
It is perhaps unsurprising that most employers want their employees to be enthusiastic about their work. An enthusiastic employee is generally happy, hard working, committed, wants to learn and is good to be around. In short they want the job.
No one is unrealistic enough to expect that employees will be 100% enthusiastic all the time, however a certain level of interest is always a good thing to have at the outset.
I am the consultant at BCL Legal who looks after our recruitment into non-contentious commercially focussed teams in the East, West and South Midlands. As the economy continues to improve and our clients become busier we are seeing an increasing number of positions for more experienced candidates (with and without a following).
Unlike our newly qualified or less experienced candidates, more experienced candidates seem to have greater difficulty demonstrating enthusiasm. Indeed many seem to read “did not demonstrate enthusiasm” as a euphemism for “we wanted someone younger”. This is often blatantly not the case, as our client will have offered the job to someone with a similar amount of experience.
When you were less experienced it is likely that other candidates were all enthusiastic and the exact nature of your experience/ technical skill would differentiate you.
Now that you have entered the experienced stage of your career it is important to recognise that you will be up against other experienced candidates. If you have the necessary technical skills to “do the job standing on your head!!” then so will all the other interviewees. You need to differentiate yourself.
How do you go about demonstrating enthusiasm?
• Research the role and the firm. Every role, every firm, every Partner is different, find something to be genuinely interested in.
• Think about work you have done in the past. What is most relevant to the role. When has the firm you are interviewing for been on the other side? Make an effort to remember the detail of these cases prior to interview – so that you can talk about the detail at the interview.
• It is probably blatantly obvious to the interviewers that you can do the role. Remember to tell them why you want the role. What will you get out of it (apart from the obvious), what will you learn and what will you enjoy.
• Don’t play it cool. Make sure the interviewers can read how keen you are.
• Don’t assume that you know it all. Ask questions about the employer and their business. Show them that you are genuinely interested in learning about their business/ team/ role.
Finally put yourself in the interviewers place. Imagine interviewing the candidate who plays it cool, tells you why should want them and that they could do the work “with their eyes closed”.
Now imagine interviewing the candidate who tells you how interested they are in the role. That they noticed you have a couple of particular niche’s one of which is an area that they had always wanted to do more work in. Asks lots of questions about the team, the work you do and the plans for the future.
Given the choice between those two candidates who would you employ?