A reader writes:
I am applying for a job for a company where I am personally a HUGE fan of everything they have ever made. I have other similar items in my collection, but this company makes the most EPIC ones of these item ever.
That being said (and I know I am assuming a lot here), let’s say I am lucky enough to progress to a face-to-face interview and so not only am I (normal job interview) nervous, but I am also excited. So excited just to be able to even meet these people that I know it would be a problem to keep focused in an interview about the job and not ramble on about how much I enjoy collecting their products…
So, stepping back from the ledge…
I know it is important to express interest in both the company and the position, but how would you recommend I approach not being overly excited about being in and around all these “rock star” product makers and acting awestruck like a kid in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory so I can actually focus on the job interview at hand?
Basically, you’ll have to decide: Are you there on a fan visit or are you there on a job interview?
After all, put yourself in their shoes. Everyone loves to have their work appreciated and have people think that their jobs are awesome. But there’s only so much fanfare you can hear before you just want to have a normal conversation. And that’s exponentially true in a job interview.
Plus, in a job interview, your interviewers need to see that you’re being realistic about what the work will be like. As much as you love this company now, I guarantee that working there will not always be as exciting as you currently think it will, at least not every day. You will have frustrations and bad days and annoying policies and everything else people deal with at work. It can be unnerving when candidates have rosy colored glasses on and don’t seem to realize that. So they need to see in the interview that you aren’t approaching the conversation as a starstruck fan, but as a clear-eyed professional.
They’re not looking for a fan, after all — they’re looking for someone who will be a partner in their work, and there’s a difference.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t express your enthusiasm for their product — you absolutely can and should; enthusiasm is good. But keep it brief and then get down to the business conversation you’re there to have.