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Ask the Headhunter: These simple words matter in a job interview

Nick Corcodilos started headhunting in Silicon Valley in 1979 and has answered over 30,000 questions from the Ask The Headhunter community.

In this special Making Sen$e edition of Ask The Headhunter, Nick shares insider advice and contrarian methods about winning and keeping the right job, on one condition: that you, dear Making Sense reader, send Nick your questions about your personal challenges with job hunting, interviewing, networking, resumes, job boards or salary negotiations. No guarantees — just a promise to do his best to offer useful advice.


Question: I am speaking both as a frustrated hiring manager and as a job hunter. When interviewing for a job, I’ve always said to the potential employer, “I want this job. It sounds interesting and challenging.”

The key phrase is, I want this job.

Of course, this must be based on a sincere desire for the position. Now, as a hiring manager, I want to ensure that open positions are filled by qualified candidates who I know, undisputedly, want the job. What is your view on the importance of this?

Nick Corcodilos: Hallelujah! You are one of the blessed few who understand one of the simplest requirements in job hunting and hiring: The candidate has to say, “I want this job!”

Whether I’m headhunting, conducting workshops, or writing, this is one of the cornerstones of my message. I can’t emphasize it enough. What astounds me is that even top managers fail to realize how important those words are.

A sales executive who was job hunting once argued with me that it’s inappropriate to actually say it. He maintained that making such an explicit statement is awkward and that “it suggests the candidate has no class.”

I responded that, to me, failure to say you want the job indicates you don’t have enough interest in working for the employer. It’s a deal-breaker.

“Of course I want the job!” the executive exclaimed angrily. “The manager knows that! That’s why I’m interviewing!” He didn’t get an offer.

What he didn’t realize is that employers usually value motivation and enthusiasm as much as expertise — if not more. And they want to hear it.

It’s interesting that so many people believe it is socially unacceptable to make a commitment when that’s exactly what an employer wants.

Thanks for your note. It’s good to hear from someone who has been on both the candidate’s and the manager’s side of the interview desk. I hope this serves as an important reminder to job hunters, and that it makes employers think twice about hiring people who aren’t ready to look them in the eye and make a commitment.

For tips about how to actually tell an employer you want the job, please see “Want the job? Tell the manager you want to get married!

Dear Readers: Are there any “magic words” you use to convince an employer to make you a job offer? Do you actually say, “I want this job,” at the end of a job interview? If you’re a hiring manager, how important is this to you?


Nick Corcodilos invites Making Sense readers to subscribe to his free weekly Ask The Headhunter© Newsletter. His in-depth “how to” PDF books are available on his website: “How to Work With Headhunters…and how to make headhunters work for you,” “Keep Your Salary Under Wraps,” “How Can I Change Careers?” and “Fearless Job Hunting.”

Send your questions to Nick, and join him for discussion every week here on Making Sense. Thanks for participating!

Copyright © 2018 Nick Corcodilos. All rights reserved in all media. Ask the Headhunter® is a registered trademark.

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