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The truth behind interviewer’s compliments
January 26, 2016, 11:21 am

You had an interview this morning and you distinctly remember the hiring manager paying you a compliment. At least, you think it was something positive.

Well, there are a few comments that sound promising or until you translate them from hiring manager to normal person. Turns out that sometimes the interviewer is finding a nice way to tell you it’s not going to happen. So listen up and pay attention when you hear any of the following:

 “You are so enthusiastic.”

Translation: “You are scaring me.”

Enthusiasm is good, but no one is going to hire someone who could care less about the work. However, a person who is overly excited is not going to top any lists either. You also need to do your due diligence and make sure the open position is right for you. If you answer each question by gushing over the company, the hiring manager will wonder if you have really thought it through.

So, feel free to share how long you have been following the company or why you personally admire its work. But do not sell yourself short by acting like you are a deranged fan who would just be lucky to work there. Make sure you spend ample time discussing the suitable applicant you are and why you would be a great addition to the team.

 “You are not the typical candidate.”

Translation: “I am not sure you can do the job.”

Say you have less education than the position description calls for, or you are changing fields then you should definitely keep an ear out for these sorts of comments.

They translate to: “You don’t meet all of the qualifications.” So if the hiring manager says something like this, do not give a two-word answer like “I know,” or even, “Thank you.” Take the opportunity to follow up with a strong line that emphasizes why that means you bring unique and valuable experience to the table. Your answer should sound like this: “It’s true I have only worked in commercial real estate for two years. That is because I spent my first three years out of school working in financial management. I use the lessons I learned counseling people on how they should invest their money every time I make a sale. ”

“You are very persistent.”

Translation: “I need some space.”

Following up is a touchy subject for most hiring managers. They appreciate someone who is timely and responsive, but they have also had to deal with one too many people who flood their inboxes asking for an update every 48 hours.

While you want to be seen as diligent and on top of things, you do not want to be seen as a pest. The fix is pretty straightforward: If you get this feedback, lay off a bit. Keep faith that if you are the person he wants for the job, he will reach out to you.

“You are such a great Ambassador for your company.”

Translation: “I don’t think you are ready to move on.”

It is true: You fit in so well and are so loyal that it is second nature for you to discuss an organization’s merits. The answer is: It is good and bad. In reality, a comment like this could mean the hiring manager thinks you are too embedded to want to jump ship.

So, when you discuss your current responsibilities, talk about the work you do and tie it to how it has prepared you for the role you are applying to. And when you talk about your current (or former) company, skip “we” and call it by its name, or say something generic like, “in a prior role,” or the “the program was designed to…”

Many hiring managers try to couch what they are telling you in nice terms. These translations can help you cut through the niceties so you know what to work on to be a stronger candidate.

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