Michael Sterling

The Secret-Sauce of Successful Job Interviews


Your killer resume just got you a job interview. Great! You prepare a professional outfit, thoroughly research the firm, craft powerful responses to every potential question and create a list of your own quality questions for the interviewer. What could go wrong? Well, if you’re lacking this single thing – skip the job interview, because you will bomb!


What’s this overlooked secret-sauce of successful job interviews? Enthusiasm!


If you’re not truly interested in the position and able to convey genuine enthusiasm to the interviewer – forget about it! Just stay home.


In my work as a recruiter exclusively within Public Accounting, I have a deep network of nearly 8,000 CPA firms and Managing Partners. In feedback following interviews, I will often hear from hiring Partners how a candidate’s skills and experience are strong – but they failed to show any energy or passion.


I’ve even seen firms give a candidate a second chance – a second interview – with hopes the individual was just having an off day during the first meeting. If the candidate still lacks zest and zeal, that’s the end of the road.


Oddly, when I tell the candidate why the firm is not moving them forward, many will say that they were absolutely interested in the position. Well then, show it!


Show the Love – Use Those Soft Skills


By show it, I mean smile; sit-up – don’t slouch; make eye contact; be personable; engage; show eagerness and speak in an up-beat tone. Use active listening skills. Then, link your comments to specifically address the needs outlined by the interviewer. However, let’s be clear – do not take things over-the-top. Don’t be over-eager, pushy or invade the interviewer’s personal space. Be stoked, but not stalker-like.


Presenting a calm, confident demeanor is one thing. Being a wet noodle with little personality is another.


Having the right skills and experience is critical. However, soft skills are as important, maybe more important, than technical skills.  If your EQ is weak – check out The Hard Facts About Soft Skills Then, put those soft skills to work and land that job.


Career Wellness

Interested in more career nutrition? Check out the Career Wellness section of the SterlingFreeman website. And connect with me on LinkedIn. I welcome your comments. 


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