A woman who’s spent over a decade in HR says you can use the same strategy to impress interviewers and dates

Couple picnic
Interviewing is sort of like dating. Virginia State Parks/Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0

“Interviewing is sort of like dating,” says Toni Thompson.

You don’t want your date to feel like you’ve done this dance 100 times before — even if you have — or that you’re looking for just anyone to be your partner. As much as you can, you want to make them feel special.

Thompson is the head of talent and human resources at The Muse, a job search and career advice site.

When she visited the Business Insider office in June for a Facebook Live interview, Thompson said that whether you’re dating or interviewing, “really specific questions can make [the other person] feel special.”

Thompson said she recently interviewed someone at The Muse who “had done their homework on me,” and knew she’d started at The Muse in December.

“They asked me about some of the things I was most proud of since starting at my company and some of the challenges I faced.”

“It was a memorable question,” she said, “because it showed that they did their research and were genuinely listening to the answer and were curious about the response.”

In general, she said, “the best thing is to do your research about the company and really think about genuine questions you have and ask those.”

For example, “What’s your company culture like?” is a fine follow-up question. But Thompson said, “if you’re a recruiter [or an interviewer], you’ve heard that question 10,000 times.”

A better question is: “I notice that you guys talk a lot about transparency, that transparency is really important to your culture. What are some of the pros and cons that come with transparency? Particularly at your company, what are some of the challenges and the things that employees really love about your transparent culture?”

It works both ways. If you show the company you’re specifically interested in and curious about them, they will be more inclined to think you stand out as a stellar candidate.

Watch the full interview here: