As a job seeker, the interview can be a nerve wracking experience. You want to make a good impression on your interviewer, but have little to no idea of what this person is like beyond this formal 30 minute interaction. You want to form a connection with them, but you don’t want to be so familiar that it comes across as unprofessional. It’s a tough line to walk and the pressure causes many candidates to become a bit more reserved or awkward than they usually are. Well, my friends, the only thing worse than making a bad impression during the interview is making no impression at all. In order to have the best chance possible of landing the job, you need to be assertive and lively enough to make an impression, but not so pushy that you come across as cocky or a bad listener.
Because we aren’t generally exposed to such formal interactions as job interviews in our daily lives, there can be a tendency for candidates to try to reveal as little about themselves as possible, for fear that personal details will be seen as a waste of time or unprofessional. The result of this reservation is a flat interview, one in which the interviewer may learn a lot about a candidate’s work history and next to nothing about their interests, passions or even their personality.
According to an article from CareerRealism, “The reason we feel pushy in job search is we think we have to hard-sell ourselves to the person we are contacting – and we are petrified of the rejection that might come from it…Now, the answer isn’t to just pour on the confidence, push past the concern, and tell the hiring manager how great you are – that never works.” As with most things, good interviewing happens when you strike a balance, in this case between being assertive enough to be memorable and polite enough to make sure that the interviewer’s memory is a positive one. Too much on either end of the spectrum will produce the same effect: being eliminated from the candidate pool.