What to Do if You’ve Been Approached with a Marketing Job You Didn’t Even Apply For

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Have you ever been called or emailed out of the blue by a marketing recruiter who was looking for a marketing executive or other talented candidate for a cool new job opportunity?

This scenario can be quite common among top marketing professionals with a strong track record–even those who are satisfied with their current job and haven’t been looking for work.

When you get such an inquiry and start engaging with the employer, it’s important to respond with an appropriate enthusiasm and interest. It could mean the difference between missing out on a great career move and opening the door to the marketing job of your dreams!

Any time a marketing recruitment agency comes calling, it might be to introduce you to an incredible step in your career. Or maybe it’s not something you’d be ultimately interested in. Either way; there’s only one way to find out. You’ll have to make it far enough into the recruitment and interview process to better understand the nature of the employer and role.

But you’ll never have the opportunity to get to that point if you can’t first convince recruiters and hiring managers that you’re serious about considering the position.

Getting the Door Open (And Keeping It That Way)

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One of the most common questions you’ll hear from an interviewer or marketing recruiter will sound something like this:

“So, how interested are you in this position?”

It’s incredibly important whenever you’re asked such a question that you make it extremely clear that you’re very interested and excited about the opportunity. When someone is looking for a marketing executive, you don’t want to leave any doubt in their mind that it’s worth investing more time and effort into evaluating your candidacy.

In some situations, your response will come naturally. If you’re between jobs right now or have hit a career growth ceiling at your current role, it will probably be easy to make your case.

But what if you were approached as a passive candidate; someone who wasn’t seeking work and didn’t even apply to this specific role? Imagine you’re already in a great job at a company you love, but you’re smart enough to know that it’s always wise to keep your mind open to new career opportunities; what would you say then?

The situation gets even more complicated early on in the interview process, when you don’t know enough details about the gig’s responsibilities, compensation, the business’s needs, etc.

The Smartest Strategy for Your Marketing Career

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How can you show a potential employer that you’re worth their time even when you don’t really need the job, while acknowledging there’s more you need to learn before making a decision?

The solution is really as simple as being straightforward and honest. After all, it’s hard to get overcome with passion for a job opportunity you know little about. But you also need to be smart about your honesty.

It essential that you clearly and adamantly position yourself in a way that leaves no doubt that you’re interested enough that you would seriously consider making a career move for the right opportunity. Otherwise you risk losing the role to someone else not because they’re more qualified, but because they’re more interested.

It’s surprisingly easy to come off as apathetic or indifferent to the interviewer or marketing recruiter, especially if you’re a passive candidate. On the other hand, you don’t want to over-commit to a role you know little about, risk sounding desperate, or speak dishonestly. What should you do?

Responding to questions about your interest with tepid responses like “I’m not sure” or “I’m pretty comfortable in my current job” is a quick way to get removed from consideration.

Instead, simply rephrase your position like this:

  • “As someone who’s always open to moving my career forward with great businesses, I’m definitely interested in positions like this.”
  • “I’d need clarification on some key details, but this definitely sounds like a job I could see myself in.”
  • “I don’t know enough about the role to be sure it’s right for me, but I’m excited to learn more about the job and your business needs.”
  • “I’m in a pretty good spot at my current role, but I’m definitely intrigued enough to hear more.”
  • “I’ve heard great things about this company and am certainly open to considering a spot like this here.”

Why It Matters

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Why is it so important to appropriately signal your interest?

Remember, interviews that are done right don’t come cheap for businesses. Devoting the appropriate amount of time from key stakeholders to be effective hiring managers and interview panelists is expensive.

These are busy people, and their time is valuable. They can’t afford to commit resources to disinterested candidates. If you can’t muster up at least a cursory amount of interest in the job, then why should they show any more interest in you?

If a hiring manager or recruiter ever has to choose between recommending one of two comparably good candidates for a key marketing job, they’ll almost always choose the more enthusiastic one. Do you want your perceived lack of interest to cause you to miss out on an amazing career move?

Don’t put all the burden of “selling” the job on your interviewers and hiring manager. They have a responsibility to frame the opportunity in a way that’s appealing to strong candidates. But likewise, you’re expected to meet them halfway and generate some enthusiasm yourself.

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