The Secret to Being Offered The Job

Author: Dick Bolles

I had been in this field (Career Change and Job-hunting) for about twenty-five years before I first came across this study. I don't recall who did the study, or where; but its findings were: There is a simple thing you can do at the end of a hiring interview, that will greatly increase your chances of being offered the job.

And that simple thing is, at the end of the interview: ask for the job.

In the Job Interview

The actual words don't seem to matter.

It can be something simple, like: "Can you offer me this job?"

Or something a little more elaborate, like, "I believe that I have both the skills and the experience to do the work we have been discussing, in a way that will benefit your organization a lot. Can you offer me this job?"

Why asking this question should make such a difference, in terms of whether you are offered the job, or not, I have no idea. My guess would be that employers want to postpone making a decision just as long as they possibly can, but when put on the spot - - as, by your question - - they are perfectly capable of saying "Yes" or "No."

(Anyway it is now part of my standard advice to job-hunters, when I am coaching them about the job-interview: "Be sure, before you leave the job-interview, that you ask for the job." They always doubt that this could possibly do any good, but after their job-interview, they almost always come back to report, "I couldn't believe it! I thought the interview hadn't gone very well, but when I asked them if they could offer me the job, they said, 'Yes.'")

In the World at Large

Many months after I first encountered this study, I was browsing in Barnes & Noble one day, when I happened to notice a little book, with a white cover, whose title was "ASK!" And the sub-title was "You'll be amazed at what you can get simply by ASKING…" It's author was a woman named Barbara Rollin, and it had been published in the year 2001 by St. Martin's Press (175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010. The price is $7.99 Kindle edition, $.78 for a print edition. I got the last copy in that Barnes and Noble store, but I have since special-ordered countless additional copies, to give to my friends and family.  (Just search online for "Barbara Rollin ASK!")

Of course, I was interested in the book because it sounded like a rhapsody on the same theme of "asking." Barbara introduced her book by saying, "the real lesson of this book is that no matter what problem you have as a consumer, the chances are you can and will improve your lot if you only ASK."

It is a book of stories, about what happens in situations where you think nothing can be done, but then you Ask! Her first story concerns banks. She had bought five year certificates at an interest rate of 5%. A little over one year later, the rate had climbed to 6.35%. She was irritated with herself that she had locked herself in at the lower rate (there were hefty penalties for early withdrawal). Finally, she called the bank where she had the most money and simply said, "Can you help me? The rates have gone up since I purchased my CDs. (Certificates of Deposit). Could you raise my rate?"

The woman said she'd have to consult her supervisor, and after a few minutes came back on line, and said, "We'd be glad to do that." As Barbara observed, "Just like that. I didn't have to tell them a hard luck story, or plead, or threaten, or beg. I just asked."

Two months later, the rates went up again, this time to 7.08%. She asked again, and again got the raise. So, over the next five years, she gained $10,000 more than she would have, had it been left at the lower rate - - simply because she asked.

She concludes this story by observing, "The lesson I learned was - - if you don't ask, the answer is always no.

The book has 236 pages. And those pages are filled with story after story of how simply asking for what you want, can get tremendous results.

I told a friend of mine the thesis of this book; he was flying back from San Francisco to England, his native land, on a coach ticket. After we parted, he went up to the podium and said, "I have a coach ticket. Is there any chance I could be upgraded to either business or first class without any additional charge?" They said, "Wait here." Finally, when the plane was all-boarded, they put him on - - in first class. At no additional charge. Just because he asked.

Apparently, what we have stumbled across, here, is some basic principle on which the universe runs. Every Christian knows the mantra: "Ask, and ye shall receive." Other faiths know it too. Apparently it applies to more than just heavenly things.

And in The Nation

The power of simply asking. I have begun to notice how common this is.  I even notice it during elections. Every candidate concludes each speech by saying "I ask for your vote." Just bold and bluntly, like that. I ask you to make a decision. I ask for your vote. Is it yes or no? I know it doesn't sound like there's much difference between that and lesser phrases, like "I'd appreciate your support." But somehow I think there is.

We do not say, at the end of the job-interview, "I'd appreciate if you'd consider me." No, no, no. The magical phrase is, "Can you offer me this job?" It is a phrase that demands an answer. Yes, or No. That's the difference.

There is magic in asking for what you want.

Wherever you are; whatever you do: remember that.