Love and Marriage:

How to “Propose” to an Employer So You Get the Job

By Peter Cotton, founder and president, Best Sales Talent, LLC

The following post is about asking for the job.  No misogynistic, sexist, chauvinistic, prejudicial, stereotyping, or discriminatory sentiments against women is expressed, intended or implied. 

Here is a secret for all the current and future job candidates out there:  employers like to be wanted.  They want to hear that the job they seek to fill is an attractive opportunity.  They want to feel that they are liked and respected, and that you want to work with them and for them.  They want to believe that they are good leaders and managers.

Additionally, employers are very fond of candidates asking for the job – especially people in sales.  If a salesperson doesn’t ask for the job, the employer might assume that they might not ask for the order when completing an important presentation to a prospective customer.

Remember, hiring is a “marriage” between an employer and a candidate.  If they aren’t in love, it doesn’t happen, and if one person doesn’t ask the other for their “hand in employment” then the marriage never happens.  It’s a sad day when the interviewing process is completed, the candidate is at the alter ready to say, “I do,” and the employer is out in front of the church looking for a date.  Of course, the reverse of that is also true, but that’s for another article.

So, continuing with my love analogy, when your interview with the hiring manager ends, he/she may say something along the lines of, “thank you for coming to meet with us.  You are a strong candidate, but we do have other candidates to consider.  We will get back to you with our decision within the week.” Basically, what he/she says at the end either means:

A).  There are other candidates to interview, and he/she won’t make any decisions until afterwards.


B).  He/she has no interest in you at all.

As you very well know by now, when going after a job opening, there is always another candidate that could be offered the position.  Every interview is a competitive situation.

Therefore, here is some important advice on what to say in response: “I understand you may have others to see.  May I summarize our meeting today?” [He/she will agree].  As I see it, (fill in the name of the company here) needs a person to (list the things you learned that the person must do).  You need the business to (repeat the goals and objectives that were discussed).  I am confident I can do the job and accomplish the objectives we have discussed, but tell me, is there anything about my background, experience or education that would preclude you from hiring me?”

Then, you need to listen intently to what he/she says.

If, in response to your question he/she says, “no, there is nothing” then you should immediately say, “Then I want you to know that I would consider it an honor to work for you and (fill in the name of the company here).  I would very much like to have the job.  I am in a position to accept an offer, if you are in a position to extend one!”

However, if it’s something like, “I wish you had more of this or that…,” you need to get back to selling mode and convince him that you are a quick learner, can learn what is necessary, and that you are willing to work as hard as possible to make up for that shortfall.

Following this, say: “From what I can see and what I have learned, this position will utilize all my strengths and skills and will be a welcomed challenge.  I am confident I can do the job and would like to have the job.  What is the next step?  Where do we go from here?”  

He/she will likely say there still are other candidates to interview.  Then, you can say, “Yes, I know, but I am ready to commit to you, if you are ready to commit to me.”

Remember, do not evaluate the job while sitting in front of the employer.  They will notice that you are evaluating it and them.  Wait for the offer to be extended, thank him/her, and then think about it after you leave.  You can always say: “Thank you very much for the offer.  It is very attractive.  I would like the opportunity to discuss it with my family.  May I get back to you with my decision in a couple of days?” 

Not taking my above advice and leaving the interview without making a closing statement about wanting the job and showing your confidence in handling the position would be like dating a person who is deeply in love and wants to marry you, but you never propose.

I hope found my above guidance worthwhile.  Do you have any other words of advice/lessons learned about asking for the job?  If so, I’d love (pun intended!) to hear from you.  Shoot me an email or give me a call at (401) 737-3200.