Enthusiasm and Attitude Count

Posted by Judy Anne Cavey on Jul 9, 2012 in , , | No Comments

What is as important as experience and skills to employers?

Job seekers often give little credence to their enthusiasm and attitude in an interview–and that’s a huge mistake.

Last week, I received a phone call from someone who was in tears. One of the many long-term unemployed in the U.S., her frustration, fear, anger and depression were coming through loud and clear after not hearing from an employer. Basically, she’d already convinced herself she didn’t have the job. My first response was to ask if she’d contacted them. She hadn’t. I instructed her to do so (as I had done a couple of times previously). I then said when an employer does talk with her, the lack of enthusiasm and depressed attitude will do a great deal to turn them off. I suggested she start thinking on a positive level–even if she didn’t land this particular position–there were others. She’s living on her last dollar and in order to become employed, she has to put on a happy face, monitor the tone of her voice and be aware of her body language in an interview. Her enthusiasm and attitude count.


How do you project enthusiasm in an interview? The moment you walk in their door, you should be doing the following:

1.) Smile! It’s a simple thing, but so very important. In most cultures of the world smiling means you are friendly, happy to be where you are and pleasant to be around.

2.) Shake their hand with confidence. In another blog, What’s in Your Handshake?, the topic of a professional handshake is discussed. It’s a friendly gesture, but also a telling one. If you have a “dead fish” handshake (limp with no enthusiasm) it tells an interviewer just that and it won’t do much as a first impression.

3.) Do what your mom told you–sit up straight! Posture sends a distinct message. If you sit up straight, it gives the impression you are alert and confident. People who slouch give the impression they are depressed, bored or not at all confident.

4.) Make eye contact. If you have the tendency to look everywhere but at someone while talking, it gives them the wrong impression that you could be unsure of yourself. You don’t have to bore a hole through them by staring, but be aware eye contact is important. The glimmer in your eyes spell enthusiasm!

5.) Inflection. How you speak: tone, cadence, pitch, etc., can tell a trained ear if you’re depressed, angry or bored. This topic was also discussed in another post, What’s in Your Voice? When you speak, be conscious of how you sound to an interviewer. Ask yourself if you sound enthusiastic and intelligent.


How do you convey a positive attitude? Before you leave for the interview, check your attitude.

1.) Moody? Even if you’re the moodiest person on earth, in a job interview (and as an employee) that needs to be changed. Moody people aren’t a pleasure to be around, they darken everyone’s day. Your answers to an interviewer can clue them in to what you’d be like to work with–don’t bring the wrong attitude to an interview.

2.) Difficult? Employers want employees that get along with their coworkers and supervisors. If you harbor prejudices, it’s time to take a good hard look at yourself. Putting certain people into little boxes says more about you than them. Treating a coworker or supervisor in a disrespectful way can get you fired. 

3.) Angry? Unemployment is tough, we all know that, but it’s especially difficult in a stagnating economy. Anger has it’s place and it’s not in an interview. Hard fact: employers don’t care about your situation, they want to know what you can do for them. You can’t have a clenched jaw, curt answers, or hold animosity towards everyone for your troubles in an interview.

4.) No confidence? By having no personal success, you might not have much in the way of confidence. Unfortunately, not everyone has it easy. People who have had difficulty academically because of learning or other disabilities, raised in an unloving environment, became a teen parent, or were raised in foster care, might not feel successful. If you have little or no success in your life, search out people to assist you–mentors being on the top of the list. Begin to make better life choices, get help for any learning disabilities, find a positive living environment for yourself. Create successes in your life, no matter how small–build on each one, then you will be able to convey to an employer you have a “can-do” attitude.

Final Thoughts

Negative attitudes can be changed and enthusiasm can be created. What does it take? Being honest with yourself. What do you think needs changing? What must be created?


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