Well… it really depends! Let’s keep this short and sweet though.
For the sake of simplicity, let’s use a metaphor anyone can relate to: relationships. Finding a job is like dating; both process are driven by people. Can playing hard to get help you in dating? Yes. But it can also ruin your chances! So, as with just about everything else in life, it’s all about balance.
The point of playing hard-to-get is to communicate that you are wanted and have other options; it gives you value in other’s eyes. This works with finding a job. Why would a company want you if no one else wants you? If you had valuable skills then other companies would want you too, right? So whether you do or don’t, act like you have options!
Ask insightful questions, like what the work environment is like, what people like about working at this company, the reason the last person left, the kinds of tasks you will get to do in this position (you want your work to be interesting!)… Things someone who is deciding between several options would take into account.
Yes, it sounds simplistic and silly, but HR, recruiters and hiring managers are all people too. Life lessons permeat all of our actions, including what we do at work.
There is a flip side to take into account: pulling too far and losing it altogether. Just like in dating, you can play too hard-to-get. Make your interviewer think you’re not interested and just wasting their time, and they won’t take you seriously.
So how do you avoid doing that? Don’t act disdainful, like you’re too good for the job. That’s one of the biggest tip-offs someone won’t take the position in the end, and a recruiter is looking for the best person for a position, so why would s/he waste his time on someone who obviously is not interested?
Another large hint is when a candidate asks about money too early; it can foretell problems in negotiating money. Sometimes candidates try to get as much as possible, so much so that they end up asking for too much and end up losing the job. If you’re sure you can find a company who will pay you for, then great! But if not…. then you might not want to ask about money too early.
The point to remember is that this whole process is driven by people: the candidate, the recruiter, HR, recruiting managers… It’s the biggest variable to keep in mind. Keep your sights on your interactions with you interlocuteur(s) and you will be that much closer to getting that dream job!
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