Just Say It: I want the job

Just Say It: I want the job


I had a coffee with a potential manager in his company café and we discussed my past and current experience but it wasn’t referred to as an interview. It lasted 1.5 hours. The final 30 minutes were with his manager, who dropped by.

I never applied for a job and never shared my resume. We connected on LinkedIn and arranged the coffee through LinkedIn messages. I know he has a job opening (and one more coming up) and he confirmed that in our coffee chat, but he didn’t explicitly say the chat was an interview for the job opening, so I am wondering how I can follow up without sounding like I am bluntly following up on a formal interview. I’d like to get feedback and want to know what next steps are. Should I send him my resume and ask whether he would consider me as a candidate?

Nick’s Reply

I want the jobDon’t ask whether you’re a candidate. Tell him that he’s a candidate to be your boss.

This is the best kind of interview. It sounds promising, but we just don’t know whether it’s for one of the two jobs you mentioned or for something in the future.

Give the manager a signal

While you’re worried this “non-interview” may lead nowhere, the manager may be waiting for you to tell him what’s next. Many managers look for something few candidates ever display: motivation and desire for the job.

Having the right skills and experience is important, but I find that the best managers won’t make a hire unless they see clear indications a person really wants to work for them. Motivation is at least as important as skills, which can be taught. The amount of time the manager spent with you is a strong positive signal — so signal back to him.

I want the job

Use your own best judgment, of course, but I think a simple e-mail is best, confirming your enthusiasm and motivation. For example:

How to Say It

“Thanks for the good conversation last week and for all you shared about your department (and for the coffee!). I’m impressed, and I want you to know that based on what I learned, I’d be very interested in joining your team if an appropriate position is open. You’re the kind of manager I want to work for. Thank you for spending so much time with me.”

Very few candidates ever come out and tell a manager “I want to be on your team!” yet that’s what any good manager wants to hear – a commitment! What I’m suggesting is a very clear expression of interest without being pushy. I would not send a resume. If he wants it, he’ll ask for it.

Show even more enthusiasm

If you want to go a bit further in showing your enthusiasm, find a really good article that addresses an issue that was discussed during your meeting. Attach it to your e-mail along with a couple of comments about why the manager may find it helpful. Show that you’re already thinking like an employee.

When you make yourself this clear, you need not do anything else. The next move is the manager’s. Don’t keep pestering for a response. While you wait, the best next step for you is to move on to your next opportunity and pursue it the same way.

Nice work getting a meeting that’s better than an interview! You had a conversation driven by your interests and the manager’s — not by an “HR script.” Whatever you decide, please let me know how this turns out. I hope something I’ve said is helpful.

(For more on the topic, check this article.)

Why do you think the manager invited the reader for coffee? Was this a job interview or something else? How should this reader follow up? Is “I want the job” the right message?

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