I’ll Say it First, I Love You

I’ll Say it First, I Love You

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d share my thoughts on love – at least “love” as it applies to the job seeker. You see, like dating, many a job seeker chooses to “play it cool”, and let the employer go first. (“No, you say it.” “No, you!” “You go first.” “No, you go first…”) So, today, I’ll play love doctor and debunk a few myths for you. Are you ready? Here goes: In interviewing and job searching, if the candidate wants any love at all, s/he must say it first!


Saying I Love You, First

Regardless of the employer or position, they all want the same thing:  to want someone who wants them. Sounds so simple, right? See, when on a date, you cannot possibly commit to liking the person across from you at dinner, until s/he gives you buy-in signs. Whether the nervous laugh, awkward silence, or hair twirl are your tell-tale signs, you wait to profess your interest in the next date, until you receive the almighty “sign”. But, in job interviewing, you, candidate, simply must go first. You must tell your interviewers you want this job and that you would like to work for this company. Simply put, in interviewing, someone must go first – and that someone is you!

But, I Don’t Want to Appear Too Desperate

All of my candidates who receive the feedback, “she didn’t seem to be interested in this position/the company”, always answer that they were trying not to appear desperate. Dare I say, they were playing it cool? But, unlike creepy suitors, who blurt “I love you” between the filet mignon and tiramisu on a second date, there is nothing desperate about letting your interviewers know that the company and position are ideally suited for you. Better yet, let them know you really like where the company is going. You are excited by the fast pace growth they have achieved. You *gasp* want to be a part of the winning team they have assembled.

Fool boy is waiting his girlfriend

When forced to choose between two candidates to schedule for further interviews – one who seemed unimpressed and disinterested – and the one who really wants the job – the busy interviewer will always select the latter. The former – even if a slightly better candidate on paper – just feels like too much potentially wasted time. Who wants to chase someone who is not interested?

Commit First, Decide Later

Here’s where the worlds of dating and job seeking take the biggest divergence:  the subject of commitment. See, in dating, the words “I love you” have meaning. They have impact. You can’t unsay them. Simply put, there are no backsies. But, in the recruiting world, love is fleeting and fickle. Telling your interviewers you really want a job, and would love to work at their company is not a forever statement. It is a “right now” statement. It does not say, “we will lowball your compensation now, because you are desperate.” It says, “we should keep going with you, because you are interested.” But, interviewers know, you may change your mind. Someone else may offer you more money, or a better position. You may learn something during the interviewer that made your love fade, if not altogether sour. There will be no BUT YOU SAID YOU LOVED US moment, best left for a The Bachelor episode.

So, in honor of Valentine’s Day, I will just leave you with the reminder to go on your next interview ready to love. Love freely and openly, even if fleetingly and short-lived – until your next interview!


Marilyn Weinstein is Vivo’s founder and Chief Executive Officer, responsible for overall strategy and business growth and development. Prior to starting iTalent Solutions in 2006—the successful effort which paved the way for Vivo’s launch in 2009—Marilyn was Vice President and General Counsel for AlphaSoft Services Corp., where she served on the company’s Executive Team for over seven years. She helped AlphaSoft grow from a start up to a $50 million per year, multi-office success story.