Here is a bold Interview Pro-tip, Act as if you have the Job

By Jack J. Kelly

I have an interesting, somewhat controversial way you can approach an interview.  Are you interested in taking a little bit of risk?

It is a similar style and technique that I use as a recruiter when approached by a company to be considered for a potential recruiting assignment.  Here is what happens. A representative of a company will contact me, along with several other search firms, to determine if we meet their criteria to be selected as a recruiting vendor.  If we are approved the company will engage us in a search on their behalf.  The selection process usually involves a pleasant in-depth conversation, which is similar to an invasive medical examination.

Although the company states that they are actively speaking with other firms, I adopt the mindset and approach that they already chose me and I have the job order to work on.  I know that this sounds conceited and obnoxious, but hear me out.  I proceed with the conversation in a matter-of-fact manner, as if the decision has already been made in my favor.  The tone I take, the questions I ask, all come from a place as if they have already selected my firm.  The questions are phrased with the intention that I need more information to fine-tune our recruiting efforts, rather than weakly asking if I could have the assignment.  For instance I might say “ So, we should look for someone with a law degree and five years of experience at an investment bank?”  I’ll say, “This sounds like a very interesting job, I  am excited to help you” and “This is great, we have a number of perfect candidates that I will call as soon as I’m off the call”.  It usually works.

Also, in my mind, I know after doing this for twenty years, that my search firm would indeed do a great job for the company.  We are honest, sincere, and know our market; and intuitively understand the job description and the company’s needs.  We also have the largest database of appropriate and suitable candidates in our space of expertise.  We treat people with courtesy, dignity, and respect.  Since I honestly and truly believe this, why should they go elsewhere?  The next recruiting firm may not offer the same drive, passion, ethics and commitment to excellence.

You may want to try this admittedly unique approach when you interview.  Arrive to the job interview with the mindset that they want you, and it is your job, (unless you feel it’s not right for you).

Ask you yourself:

  • Can I do this job?
  • Will I succeed in the role?
  • Am I better than my peers?
  • Would I work harder and put in more hours than anyone else?
  • Do I have a nicer personality and get along with people better than most of my competitors?
  • Will I appreciate the chance and work my tail off to show my thanks?
  • Do I bring to the table a unique, on-target skill set that could help the hiring manager, starting day one on the job?

If the answers to these and other similar questions are yes, then why shouldn’t you assume the job is yours?  You are the ideal candidate.

The approach is similar to the pop-culture references to “act as if “ or “always assume the close“.  Act as if you got the job.  Ask questions as if you were already selected.  Start brainstorming what you should know about the company, and what you will do once you start.  Be thoughtful , excited, and enthusiastic in your approach, as if you received the offer already, and are ready and eager to start working.  Just make sure you don’t sound too obvious and presumptuous, as that tone will surely backfire on you.  It has to come from the heart and be sincere.  Don’t get too carried away and push your luck by asking when do you start or where would my office be.

I recognize that this approach may not work for most people but, if you are adventurous,  it is worth a try.

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