16

One piece of advice I hear a lot is that, at the end of a job interview, you should actually ask for the job. It shows your enthusiasm, it helps the interviewer remember you later, and so on.

But, as one who's kind of an introvert, I can't think of a good way to actually say it.

Do you say "May I please have this job?" Or "Could you please hire me?" They both sound kind of needy.

Or am I taking "ask" too literally? Should one say "I'd really like to work here." Or "I'd really appreciate it if you chose me."

Also, do ask at the end when I'm shaking hands with the interviewer? Or earlier when he says "Do you have any questions?"? (It's not really the type of question he's asking for.)

UPDATE: The interview went well. I took the advice about expressing enthusiasm instead of literally asking for the job. Wish me luck.

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    I think it sounds odd asking for the job. it's up to them to choose you and they definitely wont make the decision right then. I would say something like "This really looks like a great place to work. I hope you choose me for the role." as you leave – ayrton clark Mar 6 '17 at 18:43
  • @ayrtonclark I see your point, but having a sales background I cannot help but live by the mantra "If you don't ask, you may never get it." I think asking for the job shows initiative. – Mister Positive Mar 6 '17 at 18:45
  • "I hope I see you again!" – SpongeBob Mar 6 '17 at 18:59
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    In my opinion, this is not a great piece of advice. Whenever I hear a person I'm interviewing "asking for the job" I can only picture this person trying to make up for some flaws. That of course is my opinion, but if you come to cross paths with someone like me in your interview this may backfire, there are other ways to show enthusiasm about a position, talking about the technology backgrounds, regulations, latest features or something that has to do with the job you apply for, is a great way to show interest, knowledge and overall become terribly interesting candidate. – user49901 Mar 6 '17 at 22:14
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    @MisterPositive aren't you asking by going to the interview in the first place? :) – anotherdave Mar 7 '17 at 14:07
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We have a saying where I live, "If you have to have an answer right now, the answer is no" and if I'm hiring someone, that would apply. In fact, I personally would find a question like that to be annoying and would probably take you out of consideration unless you're genuinely better than everyone else. But all other things being equal, that's a strike against you in my book.

I understand what you're wanting to do and I get it. It's a classic sales technique and you're selling yourself, right? Well, the problem is that not everyone wants to be sold to and people like me would recognize that you're trying to close and be turned off. It feels like a "tactic" and not a genuine effort on your part.

Additionally, even if they're inclined to hire you, it's almost unheard of these days to get an offer in an interview. I've had interviews where I knew I was going to get the job because they went that well. Even in those cases, I didn't find out for at least a half hour after the interview.

To be perfectly frank, I would consider being offered a job at an interview (unless it's like the 3rd one) to be at least some sort of warning flag of desperation.

I would stay away from the sales tactics and the hard sell and focus on letting them see your passion for the work and how excited the prospect of working with them makes you. They'll see it and if they like your abilities, they'll probably respond well to it.

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    That "I can say no right now" line gets more use in my parenting than my employing, but it sure is a good one. – Kate Gregory Mar 6 '17 at 19:33
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    Allow me to clarify. I don't mean that it's something that I say to anyone in a business context. I do however practice that. Important decisions should be rarely made on the spot, in my opinion. The car salesman asking me "What will it take to put you in this car?" gets responded with "The car being free or overnight to think about it" – Chris E Mar 6 '17 at 19:37
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    I agree. A candidate who genuinely requests a yes in an interview is losing points. A candidate who assures me "I want this job a lot" is not. – Kate Gregory Mar 6 '17 at 19:40
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    @KateGregory Thank you, that's exactly my point. People subconsciously respond to passion and enthusiasm. But it has to be genuine. Tell them what you love about that type of work. Tell them how it makes you feel to complete a project and see that it's helping someone, even if it's just a single person getting their job done 10% faster. Be excited and people will be able to see the positives of the job their offering through your eyes beyond filling a need they have and a paycheck. – Chris E Mar 6 '17 at 19:45
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You know the interview is wrapping up when they say "do you have any questions for me?" or perhaps "well, I think we've covered everything, do you agree?" or some other ending signal. At that point, once you've asked everything you want to ask, and are being asked to agree the interview is complete, if you really truly want this job, go ahead and tell the interviewer so, with one of these:

  • Yes, I've certainly learned that this job sounds perfect for me. I hope I've shown you I'm perfect for it.
  • Thankyou, yes, I'm really looking forward to joining the team!
  • I've enjoyed discussing this opportunity and I know I want very much to be the successful candidate.

If you want to try "When can I start?" you need to do it with a twinkle that makes it clear you are not actually expecting a date. If you can't do that, then quickly adding "just kidding, but I really do want this position" is appropriate.

  • The first and third suggestions really sound less like things you'd say out loud, and more like things you'd put in the "thanks for the interview" letter. And that's where I plan to use them! Thanks! – Shawn V. Wilson Mar 6 '17 at 19:31
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    @Alex I think it can be affective ( asking for the job ) in any interview. It all depends on the context and flow of the conversation. My answer is not a blanket "Go for it" statement, but it does answer the users question.. – Mister Positive Mar 7 '17 at 1:07
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    "Thankyou, yes, I'm really looking forward to joining the team!" can really set you back, it can come off as quite arrogant. – cbll Mar 7 '17 at 12:00
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    Tone is everything. If you sound smug, arrogant, and presumptive that will count against you whether you're saying "I have excellent X skills" or "I think this job would be a great fit for me." So be aware of tone, as well as words. Don't reject any sentence that would sound arrogant in the wrong tone because that's pretty much all sentences. – Kate Gregory Mar 7 '17 at 13:27
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    @cbll without wishing to put words into Kate's mouth (especially as I see she's perfectly able of posting her own reply), I do want to say that I would see her suggestions here as suggestions, not things to copy exactly. If you can't say "I'm really looking forward to joining the team" without sounding awkward or smug then say something else (I'd certainly phrase it slightly differently). The point is to let the interviewer know that you're interested in progressing from the interview; to let them know they've passed your interview of them as a place to work. – Rob Moir Mar 7 '17 at 15:23
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No, don't do this. Someone has been giving you bad advice.

Here's what Alison Green (an actual hiring manager) has to say:

By asking for the job in that manner, you (a) come across as a little naive about hiring, (b) come across as not especially thoughtful about whether this is really the right job for you, if you don’t even want to go home and think about it, and (c) put your interviewer on the spot in a way that’s likely to be awkward for both of you.

She expands on each of these points in her answer, but here's my summary:

(a) This is not how hiring works! They have other candidates, and they're not going to make a decision on the spot. Even if they had no other candidates, they'd still want to mull you over and call your references. If you do this, you're making yourself look like you just don't understand the professional world.

(b) You are interviewing them as much as they're interviewing you, and you should go home and think it over before you even decide you want the job. Maybe you'll realize their management style will irritate you, maybe the benefits suck, maybe you'll get a better offer.

(c) This technique is supposed to "work" by making it socially uncomfortable and difficult for them to reject you. That's rude, and not a good look. They'll wonder whether you're likely to act like this if they hired you--will you stand up at the end of meetings and say, "So, when do we start implementing my proposal?" when they haven't decided whether they like yours or Bob's or Anne's better? No manager wants to deal with an employee like that. (Sales can be an exception to this rule of thumb, though.)

But if you’re concerned that you won’t appear sufficiently interested, then say something at the end of the interview like, “I’m really interested in the position, and I’m looking forward to talking further with you.”

Also, write a good follow-up note, touching on things you discussed in the interview and why you'd be a good fit, and reiterating your interest.

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    I will point out that it can be effective if the job you are applying for is a Sales job because they expect you to ask for the sale as a normal part of being effective at sales. For any other kind of job, most interviewers that I know would find it off-putting.It might even cost you the job. – HLGEM Mar 6 '17 at 21:13
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    To add in regard to (a), in any interview I've gone to or done, no one person even has the power to make a decision on the spot. Often you will interview multiple people, each with their own angle, and the decision to hire will be a group decision after they get a chance to discuss it. – Seth R Aug 1 '17 at 4:14
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I've conducted interviews where the candidate has asked "did I get the job?" at the end of the interview. This is a bit awkward for the person conducting the interview, and could be taken as impatient. The answer is always the same: "We have to discuss your skills and some of the other candidates. You should hear back either way within 2 business days."

In lieu of this, I've found the following to be rather effective and serve the same purposes:

"Do you have any concerns about my background or skills that you feel would keep me from being successful in this position?"

Here's why this is a better question to ask:

  • It's possible the interviewer made an assumption about something on your resume, and this may probe them to directly ask.
  • The interviewer may actually express any concerns they have regarding your experience, and you have the opportunity to directly address them! eg: "We really are looking for someone with experience in the foobar industry, and while you have great experience, it's mostly in the wizbang market."
  • It shows that you are serious about taking the job and are eager to start.
  • Nice alternative. – Mister Positive Mar 7 '17 at 1:34
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    I'm not sure about this either - it might make an interviewer think there is something to be concerned about. – HorusKol Mar 7 '17 at 12:44
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    I've actually tried this one twice. It seemed to make the interviewers uncomfortable or impatient, so I stopped. – Shawn V. Wilson Mar 7 '17 at 18:05
  • Interesting to hear other perspectives... I think word-smithing and delivery are very important with this type of question. I've asked it and also have been asked it and my experiences have been quite positive with it. – silencedmessage Mar 7 '17 at 19:16
3

Oh boy.

This is a tough one, and you have to have a good read of your interviewer(s) to be able to frame this question in a way that will have the intended effect. Let's start off at the post-interview section, which is where this question would typically be asked.

First of all, I strongly recommend having at least 1 or 2 questions to ask at the end of the interview. If there are multiple interviewers, try to sprinkle the questions around. This can give you an idea of which interviewers like to talk, and about what. Try to keep your questions related to your position and how you'd be working with your interviewers.

How closely would I be working alongside/under you?

What kind of proprietary technologies do you use?

This combines the presumptive approach often used in sales ("Do you want this in black or blue?" instead of "Do you want to buy this?") and actually demonstrates in interest in something beyond the girth of their compensation package. Modify these to fit the position/company/interviewer as you see fit.

Secondly, give yourself a backdoor back into your questions that you asked previously with the following:

Are there any questions you asked where I didn't get around to answering them directly and fully?

It's an interview. We all get nervous, we ramble, and we inadvertently frame questions incorrectly and answer something they didn't ask. Sometimes, it doesn't really matter and they get the information they wanted - albeit in a roundabout fashion. But sometimes, they asked what 2+2 was, and we go off on a tangent about all the cool things we've done using addition but never got around to saying "4."

Finally, after having used the interview up to this point to get a read on your interviewer(s), decide on how formal your next statement needs to be. On a sliding scale of super-casual to super-formal, I have used the following:

How'd I do? Told you I was a super genius.

I had a great time meeting with you (all) today. I have a really great idea of the kinds of things I'll be doing here, and I'm excited to put my skills to work for you.

Thank you so much for your time in offering me an interview. I'd like to clearly state my enthusiasm and interest in becoming part of your team.

The second one is probably the safest bet, because it walks the line between show (emotional enthusiasm, may be construed as unprofessionalism) and tell (flat affect, may be construed as insincere in a smaller environment. Regardless of which you choose, make sure you clearly state your interest and try to nail down when you can expect to hear from them.

Good luck!

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    Did you get the job after using your "super genius" line? – HorusKol Mar 7 '17 at 12:46
  • @HorusKol I did! It's where I'm working now. Risky gamble, but I was so sure I was out of the running for the position that I was just relaxed and having fun. It made the interviewer laugh and made a favorable impression. – sleddog Mar 7 '17 at 19:38
3

Also, do ask at the end when I'm shaking hands with the interviewer? Or earlier when he says "Do you have any questions?

At the end of the interview and at a natural comfortable point ( while shaking hands is a good spot but there may be others ), if you think it went well, I would have no problem asking for the job in this way:

"When can I start?"

Note: It all depends on the context and flow of the conversation whether you should proceed with asking the question or not. If you have a good repore with the interviewer I see no issue with this, if the interviewer is extremely formal you may wish to re-consider.

Maintaining eye contact

Although the standard advice is to maintain good eye contact throughout the interview, don’t take this to mean that you should stare fixedly at the interviewer. Maintain eye contact in a natural and friendly manner, which means that there are brief breaks and reconnections. For instance, it would seem natural to look away briefly if you have to pause to think about your answer. Then reconnect strongly as you begin to speak.

If you proceed, keep the wording of this critical question short and sweet, while asking it be sure to maintain eye contact. Eye contact is critical as it help demonstrate your confidence in your ability to handle the job. Most folks are nervous during the interview process and "asking for it" is not easy to do. The shorter the question is, the less likelihood of you screwing it up.

Update: By asking this question, you are not expecting to get an offer on the spot. What you're looking for is a positive response from the interviewer. It does not guarantee anything, but if you feel compelled to ask, the approach I laid out is a decent one. My answer is not a blanket "Go for it" statement.

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    when you say this, It sticks in the mind of the interviewer, which is what you want. – Retired Codger Mar 6 '17 at 18:40
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    Also, when you're applying do the "I look forward to hearing from you soon" or, if you REALLY want the job "When can we arrange to talk" or "I can give you a call on X at Y to answer any questions you might have". – SliderBlackrose Mar 6 '17 at 19:27
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    Let us continue this discussion in chat. – Mister Positive Mar 6 '17 at 20:00
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    If "When can I start?" is your last question right before you shake hands and walk out, it could backfire - some interviewers would find it presumptuous. However, you could work it into the general discussion about availability during the final phase of the interview, if a little less directly. – HorusKol Mar 6 '17 at 23:31
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Unlike the others, it's a good idea. I'm a retired technology consultant, have interviewed many times and it works. I just say (after a pregnant pause), "I'm interested in this job. (Short pause). I would like you to consider me. I can help you." Sometimes I've added "it would be good for both of us". Don't say it needy.

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    Very honestly, I would probably experience that as creepy. Maybe I am "reading" the pauses wrong, but it sounds a lot like you are trying some kind of "positive subliminal affirmation" psycho trick on someone. – skymningen Aug 1 '17 at 6:49
  • Upvoted because I count this as "expressing enthusiasm" rather than literally asking for the job. – Shawn V. Wilson Aug 1 '17 at 16:04

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