The Kiss of Death-When “I’ll do anything” Doesn’t Do Anything For You

During a recruiting visit last fall, an XYZ company representative met with a group of Auburn students to discuss job and internship opportunities within his organization. As this was a large and well-known company, the recruiter had a large turnout of enthusiastic students who were extremely eager to work for him. After discussing the ideal qualities of an XYZ employee, the rep asked one young man what he wanted to do at the company. “Oh, I’ll do anything,” replied the student. “It’s just my dream to work for XYZ.” While this was the student’s attempt to exhibit his passion and enthusiasm for the industry and the company, he inadvertently demonstrated a lack of self-awareness and preparation. The recruiter saw a teachable moment and seized the opportunity for growth. “I’m going to stop you right there,” he said, “And explain to you why your answer is the kiss of death for a recruiter.”

Why is “I’ll do anything” not a great response? Doesn’t it show that you are a versatile candidate who can contribute in many areas? Unfortunately, no. Employers are looking for candidates who know their best skills and can specifically communicate their fit with and value to the company. The ability to clearly communicate your intended role and the characteristics that make you an asset for the job shows the recruiter not only a high level of self-awareness and understanding of your core competencies, but also that you’ve done research into positions the company offers.

After explaining this to the young man who had expressed his willingness to do anything for XYZ, the recruiter gave another student the chance to field this question. Taking a brief moment to collect her thoughts, the young lady replied, “I would be most interested in pursuing a production assistant position because I enjoy working behind the scenes to make stories and film come together.” This is the type of answer a recruiter prefers to hear and will make you more memorable in the recruiting process.

Need help defining your assets and establishing your career goals? Visit the Auburn University Career Center in 303 Martin Hall. Walk-In Hours: Mon-Fri Noon-4pm

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