Upbeat Job Candidates Win More Offers

By Judith A. Stock
Special to the Tribune
Published December 4, 2002


Attitude is everything. Especially on a job interview, it may count more than you think.

You might never know what influences someone to hire you or not. A September survey conducted by the Georgia Institute of Technology found job seekers have more success if they are optimistic, confident and extroverted.

If you don't have a positive attitude, you run the risk of blowing that all-important interview. But with the right moves, you could walk away with that coveted job offer.

"Attitude is on the top of every recruiter's list of measured traits," said Neal Lenarsky, Chairman of STI, an executive talent management firm in Los Angeles.

Lenarsky said success during a job interview hinges on the first few minutes. "Your first impression is your only impression."

When it comes to job interviews, think logically. You've scored the interview because you've passed the decision-maker's first test: You have the right qualifications. The only two pieces of information left unanswered are your attitude and how you fit into their corporate culture.

So how do you become the candidate the human resource director will remember at the end of the interviewing day?

During mock interviews with students, Mary Schilling, career services director for the college of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., said more employers are using a behavioral approach, looking at experience obtained from past jobs to predict future performance. If job seekers can be optimistic, articulate and upbeat during a competitive interview, then employers can expect they will be that way with co-workers, clients and customers.

According to Schilling, people like to work with others who are upbeat, especially when times get tough. "We have employers tell us they want people who are fun to work with, who have a sense of humor and are great to have on the team."

Like anything else, a positive attitude is a learned response to any given situation. Once learned, it becomes a matter of choice. John Maxwell, speaker and author of "Leadership 101" (Thomas Nelson Publishers, $9.99), encourages job seekers wanting to improve their outlook to find someone who has an ideal attitude to coach you through the process.

He notes confidence and enthusiasm are equally important components of an interview. "Confidence is based on attitude, but true confidence comes from past success," Maxwell said. "Believing in yourself is very important."

Job seeking is what you make it. Remind yourself daily that a cheerful attitude invites success.