Can They Tell You Want the Job?

“She’s knowledgeable, articulate, and relatable. We like her experience. But…we can’t tell if she wants the job. So, we’re going to move on to another candidate.”

We hear that post-interview feedback from a client several times a year. When we asked the candidate about the same interview, the candidate usually says, “It went very well.”

So where is the disconnect?

At Strategic Hospitality Search we do our best to present candidates who are qualified, motivated, and passionate. Your qualifications get you in the door. It’s your motivation and passion that get you the job.

Here are four ways to ensure you never get rejected for not conveying your desire for the job:

1. Only Interview with Companies You Truly Want to Work For

With modern technology and web applications, it is now common for people to blast their resumes to 50 job postings in 10 minutes. Apply, apply, apply. Wrong.

You should only apply to companies you believe are a fit for you and your career. When you interview with companies you have a strong desire to work for, you will interview with much more zeal because the stakes are higher. When you interview with a company you hold in lower regard, your zeal for the interview will be lower and, logically, you will bring less energy to the interview.

2. Thoroughly Research the Company and the Position

You need to know going into the interview why you want to work for the company in that specific position, and convey to the interviewer why you are the right person for the job. You need to know all about the company’s operation, locations, ethos, signature products, and marketplace position. You need to match up your knowledge, skills, and abilities to their job description. When you have done this homework, you can connect the dots for the interviewer.

Your preparation will translate into passion when articulately delivered with confidence. But that confidence must come from a deeper place than cramming the night before or reading the company website on the way to the interview. Internalize it, be an expert on the subject of why you are the perfect candidate.

3. Prepare Good Questions

I had a candidate rejected once because he did not ask any questions at the end of an interview. You may think that’s crazy, but thought leaders in talent acquisition increasingly place the personality trait of curiosity at the top of the list of desired behaviors. In his 2014 book It’s Not the How or the What but the Who, executive search rock star Claudio Fernandez-Araoz counts curiosity as one of the four key leadership assets of a candidate with high potential.

Make sure you prepare good questions to ask. These questions should never be about salary, benefits, or quality-of-life. If you move on to further interview stages, that will all be explained to you. Your questions should be about the bigger picture of your future with the company. A professional recruiter can help you craft the right questions.

4. Ask for The Job

It seems so simple, but applicants rarely do it. After the interview, when the employer walks you to the door and says goodbye, shake their hand, look them square in the eye and say, “I want to work for you.” Don’t make a speech, just let them know you are surely motivated to continue the interview process.

Bam. They can never doubt that you really want the job!

Joseph D’Alessandro is an expert on hospitality talent. As Founder of Strategic Hospitality Search and Director of Career Services at The French Pastry School, his counsel has guided countless employers, candidates, and culinary school graduates to greater success and more fulfilled lives.

The mission of Strategic Hospitality Search (SHS) is to partner with our clients throughout the US to create cultures of excellence and to enhance the careers of our candidates.  SHS provides expert talent acquisition and consulting services, empowering clients to develop a more aligned work environment resulting in increased profitability and amplified innovation.  To learn why hospitality leaders and entrepreneurs call on SHS When Talent Matters Most, visit

Joseph D’Alessandro

About Joseph D’Alessandro

Joseph spent 15 years in leadership positions in hospitality operations before becoming a full-time executive recruiter in 2000. Joseph founded SHS in 2002 and has grown the business from a one-person outfit to a full team of dedicated experts.