By Joe Stein
The title of this week’s column is more than just the title to a famous Temptations song in the mid’60s. It is also a dilemma faced by many Job Seekers who have (unfortunately found themselves out of work for an extended period of time.
Last month, a reader of HR Matters wrote me an e-mail facing just this situation: should he resort to “begging” in a job interview to improve the chances of landing a job. The writer was able to secure interviews (and he felt he had a strong resume) on a rather frequent basis, but had been unable to land the job once face-to-face. The situation had become quite serious, as the person was facing a 3rd year without a full-time job in his field of skill.
So, the question really isn’t whether you are “Too Proud to Beg”, but rather “should you”? Does “desperate times” require such an extreme strategy? Will this impress or convince a Hiring Manager into giving you a shot at a position where he or she would have otherwise passed on you?
My general recommendation is that “begging” is rarely the best option for a candidate for a few primary reasons:
· Why make the Hiring Manager uncomfortable? This will likely place the Interviewer in a position where they resent you (or lose respect for you) for placing them in such a difficult predicament. This is rarely a winning combination for being hired.
· “Begging” may also cause the Hiring Manager to question your confidence and self-esteem. These are two especially important traits in any Professional, Sales, and/or Leadership type of position. You want to use the interview to highlight your strengths rather than showcase a weakness such as your extended absence from employment. “Begging” basically shouts to the Interviewer that you know that you are not the best candidate, but hire me anyway.
· The Hiring Manager may feel that you will play this “begging card” again in the future in a different scenario, once you are hired. It may be over something such as a future pay increase or a job assignment. The Interviewer also may become concerned that you will bring other personal-type problems into the workforce. A supervisor may decide that he or she does not want to deal with this type of personality and the “drama” involved.
My recommendation is for a person to channel this desperation in a much different direction. There are at least a couple of suggested, different approaches that may be used separately or in conjunction.
· A Job Seeker may attempt to display (instead of desperation) how passionate he or she is about the job opportunity. Too often, those that are most in need showcase their lack of confidence by displaying decreased energy and passion. The rejection has worn them down… please make sure this is not you!
· Remember that the Interviewer is not aware of your previous struggles, you have a clean slate! There is not a need for you to go into detail about your past rejections and how difficult it has been to find a job. The Hiring Manager can probably figure this out by your absence and really does not need to be handed a reason to start doubting why they like you.
· Perhaps consider leveraging your current absence by discussing how it has caused you to appreciate the fulfillment you obtained at your last position and how you want to make a difference with company "x". In other words, try to turn your absence and need for employment into a positive rather than "begging". Communicate to the Hiring Manager how they would be hiring a professional position that will appreciate the opportunity and make the most of it from a perspective different than “begging”.
· If you are also able to reach the interview stage, then really examine your current interview style. Practice answering the most frequently asked questions with a friend or family member, observing your delivery and content. Be especially prepared to explain (confidently) any extended gaps in your dates of employment.
This story did end on a high note as I received a note from the candidate that he altered his approach and landed a desired job in his field without resorting to any “begging”. Good news stories can and do happen every day to savvy Western New York Job Seekers.
As always, best of luck in your job search!