5 ways job interviews are like first dates
You’ve changed your outfit three times, practiced in front of the mirror and Googled the person you’re about to meet. Will it be love at first sight?
Since we spend the majority of our lives at work, we’d better like the people we work with.
No wonder then, that job interviews often feel like they’re less about what you’ve done and more about who you are.
Both of you are hoping that you’ll you click, that there will be chemistry, that you’ll be that magical “right fit” you’re each looking for. Face it, you’re both looking to fall in love.
And the similarities to dating don’t end there...
1. You’ve probably Googled each other
Admit it: You check Google, Facebook, Twitter and grill mutual friends before going on with somebody. You gather as much information as you can before you meet so you’ll know your date’s not an ax murderer.
Smart job candidates do the same thing. If you’re not doing your homework, you can be sure the hiring manager is.
So make sure you pass the job-search stalking test by Googling yourself. Purge social media of anything suspect — or at least turn up your privacy settings — and start adding pictures and posts that make you seem like the kind of person someone would want to work with.
In fact, you can use your social media to make yourself even more attractive to the company you’re interviewing with. For example, you might add keywords from the job description to your LinkedIn profile and tweet news relevant to the position.
2. You’ll have a “what do I wear” dilemma
There are two schools of thought when it comes to first date attire: You either wear that one outfit that you know works, or you customize it depending on the person you’re going to meet.
Are they preppy? Break out the boat shoes. A little edgy? Leather jacket time.
Interviews are the same. Some people have that one suit that works for every occasion. Others use their wardrobe to show personal flair.
A few sartorial tip 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 outfight the night before, so that you can avoid last-minute wardrobe changes that make you late to the meeting.
3. You’ll make assumptions based on the silliest things
He’s wearing Warby Parker glasses, so he must be a hipster. She’s on an Android, so she must be a technophobe. He leans back in his chair, so he must be arrogant.
While those instincts might have been honed by your 150th swipe on Tinder, interviews are a different beast entirely.
Career-wise, it never pays to make assumptions based on looks alone (have you ever seen Bill Gates?). You may not like the way she dresses, but she may just be the best boss you’ve ever had. And just because he seems like a cold fish doesn’t mean he will be one — it may be his interview face.
So try not to judge a book by its cover, at least about the superficial things.
4. You’ll be judged on how you treat the staff
Your interview starts in the parking garage, at the reception desk, sometimes even on the subway, as one job seeker learned the hard way.
Just like dates who are rude to waiters can blow it with their oafish behavior, the same thing goes at a job interview.
Put your nicest foot forward and just assume everyone is besties with the hiring manager. And hey, you’ll have a leg up when you start and everyone remembers what a nice person you were.
5. You’ll spend the next 3 days waiting for them to call
You had a great time. It seemed like they did too. And now you have to wait. And wait.
Just like in the dating world, where the “I had a great time” text goes a long way, the job interview thank you note is essential — and might just keep the magic alive.
These days, you can send an email, a card — or to really show enthusiasm, send both. Feel free to reference those special moments you shared, maybe a joke about your alma maters or share the address of the favorite taco stand you discussed. (Need more help writing the note? Try these tips.)
Hopefully, your date interview will go well. And if you’re lucky, you’ll be on the road to a solid long-term relationship.