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I’m Interested!: The Art of Showing Interest

The Pietrack Press

I’m Interested!: The Art of Showing Interest

We have all heard the old adage, “Show, don’t tell.” This is true for writers and actors, but the same holds true when interviewing. Let me walk you through a common scenario that I unfortunately have seen many times. It goes like this:

Company:We liked your candidate, but we just didn’t feel he/she was very interested.”
“Mr./Ms. Candidate, I spoke with the company, and though they liked you, they just didn’t feel like you have enough passion for the role.”
Candidate: “I don’t understand. I want the job, and I told them several times I was interested.”

Either the company is not being truthful about why they are releasing the candidate or interest is expressed not only verbally. The best example I know about the importance and difference between SHOWing and TELLing is imagine you are in a headlock getting punched, but the person is saying that they love you. Are you going to believe their words or their actions? So, I wanted to give you some ideas of how to SHOW enthusiasm, passion, or interest when interviewing.

Rule 1: A Poker Face Won’t Get You More Money
You are not going to get a higher offer because you played it cool in an interview. Companies want employees that want to work there, and if they catch even a whiff that you may lack interest, they will not hire you. I’ve seen some candidates try to not show their emotions (interest level) because they feel like they are showing their poker hand, which will lead to a lower offer. My advice is to show your hand, lay all your cards out on the table, because that will SHOW interest and lead to a higher offer.

Rule 2: Master Your Body Language
Non-verbally, we SHOW our true feeling. Now there are plenty of books and articles about this, so I know this isn’t ground breaking. It is still a good reminder. Eye contact is a crucial way to show a connection and genuine interest. So make a conscious effort to stay engaged with your eyes. When someone is passionate about a subject, their whole body is involved when they discuss it. So, let your hands do some talking. Allow yourself to become animated. When you’re delivering a presentation, worry not about animating your slide deck; worry more about the gestures that will animate you and SHOW enthusiasm. If you’re not standing tall, sit tall. Again, your body will SHOW what you are feeling, and posture is a non-verbal cue about your interest level. My advice would be to keep your head up, back straight and ever so slightly lean forward in your chair. Everything I’ve read has indicated that this body language SHOWS interest, engagement, and enthusiasm.

Rule 3: Remember the 3 “E”s
When you’re interviewing, remember the three “E”s. The first E is Engagement. Be an active listener and respond in ways that SHOW and TELL interest. Here are some examples: “Wow, that’s exciting.”; “That would be a great project to work on.”; “That is right up my alley.” The second E is Excitement. This is SHOWN non-verbally like in the examples from Rule 2. The third E is Enthusiasm. Enthusiasm speaks to passion and motivation. A great way to SHOW enthusiasm is demonstrating the proactive research you’ve done about the company. A subtle way to SHOW this is to preface your questions with research you’ve done. Here’s an example, “I’ve noticed XYZ has invested a lot in the research of ________, how do you see that impacting this role long-term?”

Rule 4: Predictable Responses Have No Impact
My advice would be to stop saying “interested” in the interview. It’s lost all its meaning. Try to think of different ways to SAY, both verbally and non-verbally, “I am interested”. You can even throw in slag terms like, “jazzed”, “on-fire,” “awesome”, etc. Another bit of advice I would share is that companies want to hire exceed-expectations employees. Saying “I’m interested” is what everyone says, and essentially, this is meeting expectations. At the end of your interview, try following this model to SHOW interest: Affirmation of Interest, Three Reasons, and another Affirmation of Interest. Try something like this:

“_______, (Always use their name) I have to say, I am thoroughly impressed, and I’m absolutely on-fire to join your team (Affirmation of Interest #1). Here is why. You have the best technology in the market, I love the people here, and I know my experience will help me positively impact the company right away (Three Reasons). So, again, I just want to be clear, I am passionate about this space, and I would love this job (Affirmation of Interest #2).”

I know that some of this article may seem commonsensical, but I think Voltaire said it best, “Common sense is not so common.” I hope that you picked up some tips in this article, and in your next interview, you make a conscious and deliberate effort to SHOW interest.


Michael Pietrack

About the Author: Michael Pietrack is a leading executive recruiter in a the Pharmaceutical Industry and arguably the top recruiter in the Medical Affairs space. His specific expertise is recruiting in Field Medical Affairs placing Medical Science Liaisons, and therefore, he has been dubbed “The MSL Recruiter” (www.TheMSLRecruiter.com).

What is TMAC Direct?: TMAC Direct is an executive search agency that serves the Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Industries. This boutique firm fills critical staffing needs on a retained, partially retained, or contingency basis. TMAC Direct is the direct-hire recruiting division of The Medical Affairs Company, commonly known as TMAC. Together TMAC and TMAC Direct, provide an unmatched staffing service in the Medical Technology arena, whether the hiring needs are on a permanent placement or outsourcing basis.

Keywords: MSL, Medical Science Liaison, Medical Affairs, Medical Director, Recruiter, Staffing, Search Firm, Executive Search, Headhunter, Recruiting, Recruitment, Consultant, Consulting, Agency, Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology, MSLs, Medical Science Liaisons, Field-Medical, GMA, Liaison, RML, Firm, Consultancy, TheMSLRecruiter, TMAC, TMAC Direct, The Medical Affairs Company, Life Science, Medical Technology, HEOR, Health Economics, Outcomes Research, Integrated Delivery Network, Integrated Delivery System, PBM, Tip, Tips, Advice, Best Practice, Best Practices, Trend, Trends, Hiring, Interviewing, Interview, Hire



  1. Dwain Morris-Irvin says:

    These are excellent Michael. Thank you.

  2. This is an informative list. I may have to go through it twice!

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