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Manufacturing Indaba 2018

[BizCareers] Don't curb your enthusiasm in an interview

This week we look at striking a balance between enthusiasm and professionalism during an interview, and how to respond when asked about your salary expectations.
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I have a question; how do you find the balance between showing interest and being passionate without appearing desperate, unprofessional or pushy? I recently went to an interview and was so excited about the role that I think the interviewer was put off; I'm not sure how to strike a balance. - Jeremy

Hi Jeremy,

To be honest, there is nothing worse than interviewing someone who has absolutely no spunk, shows no interest, is too cool for school, is arrogant or just plain lacks enthusiasm. Of course certain industries call for a very subdued personality and this is perfectly ok as long as you show professionalism and candour in your interview. However, there is nothing wrong with enthusiasm. If you are passionate about the role, this will shine through without you having to do much. By asking relevant, intelligent questions your interviewer will see that you are very interested, so have these prepared beforehand. Take your lead from the interviewer, if they are more calm and serious, then respond to them in a composed and thoughtful manner. If they are ubpbeat and talkative, then you can show your more energetic side. People like people like themselves and on a subconscious level will enjoy the interview with you more.

Remember though not to change your personality for the interview, just show different sides of yourself. Never be arrogant, and always show interest and respect.

Good luck!

Salary expectations

I never know what to say in an interview when the person asks me what salary I want. I don't want to sell myself short but I also don't want to sound greedy. What do you suggest? - Calvin

Hi Calvin,

Thanks for the above. I get asked this question a lot, to which I answer that they can tell the interviewer the following: "I have discussed all the details with my recruitment consultant and I would feel more comfortable if you discussed this with them." You can discuss in detail with your consultant what you're looking for and let them do the work. If you are not being represented by a recruitment consultant, it may make things a bit more difficult. You could in this case reply with: "I am not on the job market for salary alone and am more interested in job satisfaction, however I do feel that my skills and experience would be valuable to your company and therefore would like an increase in my current salary. Through my research I believe that around 7-10% is market-related and would be happy with this. Ultimately however, if it came to this I would be open to look at what you're willing to put on the table."

At the end of the day your interviewer should respect you for being honest and you will feel more at ease if you have laid out what you're looking for.

I hope this suggestion helps you.

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Please note:

  • To see your questions answered in the BizCareers Column, please word your recruitment, job or career queries carefully, paying special attention to spelling and grammar.
  • Answers and advice provided will be based on your questions/industry issues, so the more complete and the more accurate your questions, the better. Answers will only be provided through and not as direct responses from Juliette Attwell.
  • The answers provided to questions submitted by readers will be based on the content of questions themselves, current recruitment practices and current legislation in force at the time of writing, and are intended as advisory only and such advice is provided in good faith.
  • Readers' questions are submitted on the basis that neither Juliette Attwell, Recruit Group,, their management nor associates may be held liable in any manner whatsoever for any consequences that might result from the correspondence following the advice provided. Juliette Attwell, Recruit Group,, their management or associates shall under no circumstances be held liable for any error in responses provided in this column as to the references of the candidate, relating to his or her qualifications, skills, personality and experience; as to the compliance with the various legal and medical requirements relating to the performance, by the candidate, of his or her work, or any consequence whatsoever connected to the use of false/incomplete information.

About Juliette Attwell

Juliette Attwell is Head of Marketing & Operations at Recruitgroup. Recruitgroup has won Careerjunction Recruiter of the Year in 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014 as well as Fast Growth Business of the Year at the National Business Awards 2014. Juliette holds a Bcom Honours in Marketing Management and is the resident "agony aunt" on the BizCareers Column, she was also a finalist in the Top Young Executive at the National Business Awards 2014.