Ask LH: Should I Fake Interest In A Job Interview?

Ask LH: Should I Fake Interest In A Job Interview?

Hi Lifehacker, I have a simple question about job interviews: what if I am not interested in the job? Suppose I’m just doing it for the money? Do I have to fake interest/motivation? Thanks, Disinterested

Interview picture from Shutterstock

Dear Disinterested,

Yes, you have to fake interest -- and to be honest, if your interest is entirely faked, that's going to become evident fairly quickly, and you shouldn't be surprised if you don't get the job. For anything other than the most casual of one-time tasks, explaining that you're doing something purely for the money is an open invitation for the task to be given to someone else.

What you need to do is channel your enthusiasm. OK, so maybe this particular job isn't what you want to do with the rest of your life, but it's a stepping stone to something -- whether that's getting your foot in the door at a company where you'd like to do that, learning some new skills, or just earning money so you can finish your degree. Let your happiness about that inform your interview. For more ideas, check our tips on how to ace an interview.


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  • What you can do is figure out a way to get interested. Even a temp with no challenges can be improved by taking it upon yourself to do things the best way you can. That can mean being as efficient as possible, maximising your pay, improving the way the jobs done, improving the way you deal with people, etc.

    If you can’t summon one thing to be interested in about the job, don’t apply. Also if you’re lacking basic motivation to that degree, you may need to see someone.

  • Is this a real question? Someone seriously expects that by putting on a disinterested affect during a job interview, they’d land the gig?

    • Well, there are plenty of jobs out there that would be pretty ordinary but well paying. ie Data logging, menial factory worker etc..
      Would sound strange to the interviewer if you were highly enthusiastic about putting bits of data into spread sheets 40 hours a week.

      • The role is irrelevant, would you really hire someone (i.e. pay them money) who looks like he couldn’t give two sh*ts about the job?

  • Disinterested – dudebro / girlfriend … isn’t EVERY job ultimately just for the money ? At least every job that involves working for someone else ? Or is that just me ?

    • That’s exactly what I was thinking. Working for a salary is a transaction. I give you my time, you give me money in return. I’ve never worked for an employer where I’ve given a flying f*** about the organisation. I did the work, they paid me the money, end of story. My advice, when they’re talking about org missions, work ethics, team values and all the other crap HR people like to go on with, just think about the money and use that as a basis for your enthusiasm at the interview.

      • You’re exactly the kind of employee I’d fire given half a chance. Sorry you’ve failed enough in life to be unable to get yourself out of a series of crappy, dead end jobs. Other people though, like myself, actually like where they work. Yes I get paid to be there, but given a choice, wouldn’t you rather be paid to work somewhere you like than get paid to do be somewhere you don’t?

        • He didn’t say he hated where he worked. He said he didn’t care about the organisation itself. And why should he? He is given money to do a job. If the job gets done why would a company require love too?

        • So if your employers said to you on Monday “Due to cuts, we can’t afford to employ you anymore. We’re going to have to let you go”, would you continue to work there for free? Would you keep the same hours, even if you’re not being paid?
          But thanks for the extrapolation. I love how you manage to assume you know all about me because I happened to disagree with you. Maybe you should get a job with ASIO…but oh wait, you love the job you already have

  • Why not find a position that does actually appeal to you? You’ll be happier, more productive, and don’t need to fake a thing.

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