Why You Should Treat Your Next Job Interview Like a First Date
First impressions count. Like dating, interviews are filled with nerves, ‘what ifs’ and a particular kind of etiquette. Avoid making these classic ‘first date’ errors when landing your dream job and you could find it will be love at first sight much quicker than you think.
Know what you’re looking for in a partner
Interviewing is a two way process. You’re there to be assessed but you’re also there to see if you can work with your interviewer, fit into the office culture and get to use or learn the skills you want to.
“It’s always useful looking into what a company says about themselves and what others say about them” writes Give a Grad A Go blogger Emily Johnson. “Be sure not to limit your research just to their website and social media channels, for example try finding sector specific websites that may give more information about them and their competitors. Getting a well-rounded view of the business will mean you stand a better chance of making a great first impression”
Dress to impress
Just like a first date you want to make sure you’re looking your best. But make sure you’re wearing something appropriate for that company. Get an understanding of the work environment and call ahead or email to double check the dress code.
Julia Gaynor works for Monster.com and gives a few dressing tips for job seekers:
“One, wear something that makes you feel good, since you’ll project confidence. Two, you can never be too overdressed. And three, definitely try on the outfit the night before, so that you can avoid last-minute wardrobe changes that make you late to the meeting”
Sell yourself but don’t try to be someone you’re not
Be prepared to talk yourself up, but be upfront and honest. Do your research and talk about why you want to work for the company and why you’re the best candidate for the position.
“Learn your strengths so you can flaunt them at your future work wives and husbands” says Angharad Overton content writer for Job Lab. “As you read through your list of employability skills, ask yourself which areas you are very strong in. Is there room for improvement?”
She adds: “By taking the time to complete that simple exercise, you’ll demonstrate another highly desirable skill; a taste for personal development. As with a dating relationship, nothing appeals more to employers than someone who’s willing to work at it”
Be engaged and ask questions (but make sure they’re the right ones)
Prepare a list of questions that you are genuinely interested in finding out. It could be something around the opportunities for career progression, the company culture of the team structure. Not only will it show your eagerness for the role but it will also help you decide whether the job is for you.
Ryan Harwood CEO of PureWow suggests: “ask specific, smart questions about the company and the role at hand. There is no difference between a first date and a first interview. Think about it. If you found someone you were compatible with, wouldn’t you want to come across as passionate and excited?”
Much like a first date there are certain questions you definitely shouldn’t ask. Ending an interview with ‘How much holiday would I be entitled to? or ‘When could I expect my first promotion?’ will leave a sour taste in the interviewer’s mouth, no matter how well the interview went.
Don’t bad mouth your ex
Talking about your negative work experience is no different than talking about an ex on a first date. Keep focused on your ability to solve key problems rather than emphasising you’re a job seeker. Being single isn’t the reason you get a second date!
Grad Touch blogger Jenna Allcock says:
“Talking about failed relationships is a well known faux pas in the world of dating. Likewise in the interview room, don’t ever speak ill of your past employer or manager! Why? Three reasons:
● It will bring in to question your ability to work with others. Even if your manager was the devil incarnate – how can your interviewer know that it wasn’t in fact you who was at fault?
● It will make your interviewer think that it’s in your nature to bad mouth those in authority over you. As your interviewer may well be your future manager – this isn’t something they’ll be looking for!
● It implies you feel you know better than your previous manager, and no one likes an arrogant so and so!”
Be keen but not desperate
The interview process begins even before you enter the door. Adding “looking forward to it” to the end of your email shows excitement but not desperation. Startups like professional yet personable candidates. When it comes to the interview make sure you talk about why you want the position, rather than why you need it.
For the aftermath, don’t do a Glenn Close from Fatal Attraction: “I won’t go away Dan”. Brazen blogger Kevin Kermes comments: “It’s clear with this single statement that she isn’t going away, and it isn’t going to be pretty”
He adds: “Don’t let this be the lasting impression you leave people with when the job search process either doesn’t move as fast as you’d like or the company moves in another direction. When it comes to calling or emailing someone, there’s a fine line between pleasant persistence and outright stalking”
So what are you waiting for? Put your new dating/interviewing etiquette lessons to the test and find your perfect match below: