When you think about it, job hunting and dating have a lot in common. You get dressed up, prepare to put your best foot forward and ultimately end up answering and asking questions that help reveal what kind of fit you would be for a potential partner or company.
Another commonality: Both job interviews and first dates are often approached with some apprehension, doubt and anxiety. Although a bit of nerves are normal and can perhaps even inspire greater preparation, the same rules of thumb for keeping calm on a first date actually translate perfectly for keeping your cool during an interview. Here are four dating tips you should follow during your next interview.
1. Remember: It's just a conversation.
A job interview, like a date, is truly just a conversation. You shouldn't feel like you're on trial or being interrogated. On a first date, you want to establish rapport. That should also be one of the main goals of your interview. Although a job interview is likely more one-sided than most common conversations, if you're sufficiently engaged by your interviewer's questions, you can build rapport in such a way that the interviewer may want to tell you about his or her own experience.
For example, if the interviewer asks you about something he or she sees on your resume, and your answer makes them think of a similar experience they've had at the company and can also relate to, this trading of personal stories helps the ebb and flow of your interview, and also makes you more memorable to your interviewer.
2. Keep in mind: It's a two way street.
Although a job interview is a time to speak highly of yourself and your accomplishments, it doesn't mean that the interview is actually all about you. Just like you wouldn't want to bombard your date with all of your achievements, you don't want to position yourself in a way that leaves your interviewer feeling like you'll have nothing to gain from the role you're interviewing for -- since you seem to have already done it all.
Avoid coming of like a show-off by linking your accomplishments to ways that you'd be able to serve the company you're interviewing with. Remember, your potential employer wants to know three things about you: If you can do the job, whether or not you'll fit in with the company or firm and if you'll accept the job if offered to you. Make sure that you've asked and answered your questions in such a way that you leave the interview having established all three of these things.
Be sure to also ask questions that help you determine whether you would enjoy working for the company. Do you like what they stand for? Do you enjoy the culture? Do the people have the sort of work life balance that you desire? The job interview is a two way street. The company is determining whether you can help them, but you must also consider whether it's a place where you'll enjoy your work and will fit with your overall career objectives.
3. Be yourself, but the best version of yourself.
Starting a date off with a lie is never a good thing -- even if it's as innocent as shaving a few years off your age. The truth always comes out in the long run, and lying to someone right off the bat establishes you as a dishonest person.
Interviewers can smell a phony from a mile away, so it's very important to be yourself, and be authentic. Nonetheless, you want to put your best self forward. For some jobs it will be expected that you'll wear a suit to the office, as well as to the interview. You're not being inauthentic by wearing a suit even though your regular attire is much more casual. Nor is it being inauthentic to be more energetic and enthusiastic in an interview than you are on a regular basis. However, it is inauthentic to exaggerate the duties you performed in your last role to better match what you think your interviewer is looking for, or tell your interviewer that you can't answer his or her question about your biggest weakness because you simply don't have one.
In both an interview and on a first date, it's important to remember that you only have one opportunity to make a first impression. Do that by being the best version of yourself -- not by making things up.
4. If you don't get the job, it wasn't the right fit.
With both dating and interviewing, it's important to keep in mind that if things don't progress, it's not a negative reflection on you. It simply means that you weren't the right fit for that particular role or potential partner. The job (and dating) process can be long and drawn out -- even more so if you take each rejection personally. My most successful clients are often the ones that are also resilient. They remember that if they're not offered a position, it's just because they weren't the person best suited for the job. It doesn't mean there is anything wrong with them, or that they're not good enough. It simply means that there was someone else who was a better fit, and that the right job is still out there!
Don't let the job hunting process get you down. Keep at it with a positive attitude, and keep these tips in mind during your next interview to help put you a step ahead of the rest.