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You Got the Interview! Now Don’t Blow It!

August 19, 2012, 02:00 PM

A negative attitude or lack of confidence during the interview process can be the kiss of death in a job search. So why are so many candidates forgetting this simple fact the minute they find themselves sitting across the desk from a hiring manager? In today’s competitive job market, if you are selected for an interview, consider yourself very lucky, because it’s highly likely you were selected out of hundreds of candidates from around the country.
So, you were selected for an interview – congratulations. Now comes the harder part – don’t blow it with a negative attitude or by telling your story of misfortune.

Prior to becoming a publisher, I spent years in the executive recruiting industry, and today I still hear from many professionals (former candidates) in the commercial finance industry seeking help and advice in their job search efforts. I truly enjoy hearing from these people as they are some of the most intelligent and qualified professionals I have ever known, and I am honored to be contacted by them for advice and assistance.
But, it always amazes me how even seasoned candidates believe that telling their unfortunate job loss stories to prospective hiring managers will in some way positively influence the hiring decision to go their way. Think again.

The fact is, you will not be asked to return for a second interview if you sound even slightly negative, desperate, or even overly enthusiastic. Hiring managers are acutely aware of the competitive nature of this post-recession job market and they understand how hardworking, intelligent, qualified and loyal professionals have been impacted both professionally and personally by their job losses. So, resist the temptation to tell your story because any negativity sensed during an interview – no matter much it may be justified, will work against you.
Confidence and a positive attitude on the other hand are attributes you must bring with you to an interview. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines confidence as follows: “the quality or state of being certain.” So unless you plan to go on your next interview certain that you are the right person for the specific position in question, don’t bother going.
One of the most effective ways to gain confidence in your qualifications for the position (beyond your past experience) is to do extensive research about the company and position prior to the interview. And I mean extensive research. You must learn as much as possible about the company, the markets they serve, their competitors, perceived strengths and weaknesses, products they provide and corporate culture. I know it seems like interviewing 101, but you’d be surprised how many highly-qualified candidates don’t understand that today, hiring managers want to learn what you know about their company, and not just about your past success stories or the “book of business” you can bring with you – even if you were with a competitor. Times have changed and so has the interview process.

The need to fully understand the position you are interviewing for and the company applies more now than ever because it’s that much harder to differentiate yourself from other candidates due to the fact that so many qualified professionals are seeking a very finite number of jobs.

So if you go into an interview planning on demonstrating any trepidation or negativity at all, don’t bother. It’s that simple. I fully understand that it isn’t easy to put on your game face when you are facing hard times or have been on dozens of interviews with no luck. My point is that a job search is much too serious to treat like a game needing a game face. Get serious and get prepared. Learn as much as you can about the company, position and even hiring manager before going to the interview. Be prepared to explain how your past accomplishments and achievements will benefit this specific employer.
Remember, any experienced hiring manager can detect a negative attitude or lack of confidence from a mile away; even over the phone. My mentors in the commercial finance industry taught me two very valuable lessons when I was in my 20s – a prospect can sense a sales person’s level of confidence within the first ten seconds of a meeting, and preparedness feeds confidence. That advice has been a cornerstone of my approach to sales and marketing throughout my career. And this marketing approach also applies to any job search.

Founder / Publisher | Equipment Finance Advisor
Michael Toglia's experience in commercial finance spans over 30 years having held various roles in senior management, business origination, capital markets and commercial credit underwriting. Prior to entering the publishing industry, Toglia served as Vice President of Capital Markets and as the National Sales Manager for both the Equipment Finance and Asset-Based Lending Divisions of Textron Financial Corporation. He also held various roles with General Electric Capital and CIT Group.

Toglia currently serves on the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association's Service Providers Business Council Steering Committee and the ELFA's Communications Committee. Toglia has also served as Marketing Chair, for the Turnaround Management Association (TMA) Philadelphia/Wilmington Chapter.

From 2018 - 2020, Toglia served as the Executive Director/CEO of the National Equipment Finance Association.

Toglia holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and an M.B.A. in Finance.

Contact Michael Toglia at 484.380.3184 or

[  View APN Profile for Michael Toglia  ]

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