Photo: FastLife.ca via Flickr
Most of us like dating and hate interviewing for a job, but in many ways a first date and an interview are essentially the same thing. You’re both selling yourself and trying to figure out – will this company and I be a good match? Will we have good times, share lots of laughs, grow together, learn from each other? Or will I end up broken-hearted, sniffling into tissues, watching Sex and the City and wondering where it all went wrong?Good interviewing techniques, like dating advice, can increase your chances of avoiding the bad breakup.
So why is a job interview like a date? Check out these six tips for success in your professional and personal life.
1. Dress for Success
Sorry, it’s a cruel world. Few companies are going to be impressed if you show up to your first interview wearing a hoodie and flip flops, blowing bubbles with your gum. Yes, you’re beautiful on the inside, but organisations and interviewers want you to demonstrate that you can be put-together and appropriate at important occasions. Find more on professional style for interviews here.
2. Discretion – Your Best Friend
Your first date is not the time to talk about all the times you’ve messed up, gotten your heart broken or been unfairly dumped. In the same way, it is absolutely not the time to complain about past jobs. Save the emotional baggage for later…or preferably, never. Discretion is key. No matter how well you’re hitting it off with the interviewer, or how romantic the mood lighting is- remember! You are being judged. At all times. Being a mess isn’t adorable. Being incompetent isn’t charming. And bad-mouthing a past employer, for any reason, is never smart. Just stick to the basics and keep it together. Rule of thumb- do not say anything you wouldn’t want printed on the front page of The NY Times.
3. Put on a Happy Face
Quite simply, be positive. We’ve all made mistakes. But your first date-interview is a short window of time in which you get to express your many wonderful qualities and skills, not your drawbacks. Stick to talking about the time you made a positive impression on someone, took the initiative, or performed above and beyond what was asked. Lean forward, smile, be engaged, and relax. Practice your conversational skills. You are a happy, positive person and Company X would be lucky to have you as a permanent fixture!
4. Honesty – Make it Your Policy
Be honest. If Company X loves football, cheap beer, and wings, and you’re more of a Madame Butterfly and champagne kind of gal, don’t try to talk about Tom Brady’s most recent stats. Instead, try to find some common ground. You’ve prepared for your interview using our tips here, so focus on what drew you to this company in the first place. Then, post-interview, be as honest with yourself as you would be after a date. Maybe Company X would make a sports-loving, beer-guzzling lady very happy indeed, but that doesn’t mean it’s a perfect fit for you. Pay attention to corporate culture and how that might fit with your own preferences and working style.
5. Q & A
Everyone says, ”ask questions” on a date, and you should do the same at an interview. Use this time to find out more about the company, the role and the expectations. What are the company’s long-term goals? What would the ideal hire for this position look like? What does Company X expect of you? What will your relationship together look like? What will you name your kids? OK, maybe not that last one.
A wise person once relayed some strange advice to this PYP, and I’m going to share it with you now. As you sit in the company’s lobby, waiting to be invited in for your interview, repeat this mantra to yourself over and over again: ”I am awesome. I am wonderful. I will dominate this interview!” Yes, it sounds strange, but by the time you head in for the do-or-die moment, you will be sailing on a high of your own amazingness..
And there you have it. Go get ’em!
The author, Liz Elfman, is a contributing writer to Pretty Young Professional, and a post-graduate student studying international relations. Previously, she worked for IBM and as a researcher at The Atlantic.
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