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Can You Be Too Enthusiastic on a Job Interview?


When it comes to job interviews, the usual thinking goes, the more enthusiasm, the better. After all, what company would want to hire someone who couldn’t even pretend to be excited about something for a few hours? Believe it or not, however, it’s possible to go too far in the other direction. Behold, the overly enthusiastic job candidate.


(Photo Credit: David Goehring/Flickr)

Louise Hung at XOJane recounts a recent interview in which a tech glitch threw her off her game. In response, she feels she lost her grip on her self-control, the thing that keeps too-loud laughter at bay when high-energy people are forced to interact with complete strangers. She wound up speaking too quickly, and “bulldozing” the interviewer with her accomplishments.

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“I had defaulted to my dreaded ‘exhausting’ mode,” Hung writes. “As the interview came to an end, the boss remarked TWICE about my impressive ‘energy and enthusiasm’ and explained to me how the remaining hiring process would continue should I move forward. Then he commented again on my remarkable ‘energy.’ Ugh.”

Hung’s impression that she wouldn’t receive an offer was correct, despite the fact that nothing the interview said seemed negative. Her self-critique is useful here, for those of us who occasionally overwhelm our listeners with our passion for our projects. In job interviews especially, remember to:

1. Take a deep breath.

Sometimes, Skype connections fail or you and the interviewer miss each other or you spill coffee down the front of your blazer and have the urge to yell, “IT’S A RORSCHACH BLOT! WHAT DO YOU SEE?” to cover your embarrassment. (Don’t do that.)

When you start to panic, take a deep breath. It’ll calm you down, but better yet, it’ll buy you a moment to compose yourself.

2. Speak slowly, and at a moderate volume.

Speak too quickly or too loudly, and you’ll wear out your interviewer just from listening to you. Hiring managers hire people they want to work with. If your energy comes across as exhausting, rather than inspiring, they might take a pass on giving you an offer.

3. Give yourself a break.

We’re often our own worst critics. If you do overdo it, and miss out on the opportunity, try to look at it this way: you might just be a bad fit for that company. In this age of disengaged workers, another employer might see your enthusiasm as a decided benefit.

Tell Us What You Think

Have you ever blown a job interview for a strange reason? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
Read more from Jen

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Great article! These tips can be applied to all types of interviews.


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