Ever been on a first date and gotten an eerie feeling that you were on a job interview? There’s a good reason for that.
In fact, if you take the time to think about it, job interviews and first dates are really, really similar. Sure, the goals are different, but the path to get there is the same: a one-on-one meeting with a stranger (or an acquaintance, if you’re lucky!) that requires people skills, preparation, and a killer first impression.
The idea of putting your best moves on with a potential employer may sound… gross. But dating is about building relationships, which is exactly what you need to do in your job interview – just remove the romance and add a ton of professionalism!
Do some sleuthing
Admit it: you’ve definitely stalked your date on social media prior to meeting up. It might feel creepy, but prepping yourself on their interests and personality can really up your game. Do the same thing with your employer prior to an interview – check out their Linkedin, surf the business’ website, and get a real sense of what they’re looking for and how you would best fit into the picture if hired!
Look the part
The age-old question: should your outfit stand out or blend in? Luckily, this dilemma is way easier to address in a job interview scenario. Basically, you want to show that you fit in with their existing team, so show up neat, presentable, and well-groomed. When in doubt, dress one level above their daily dress code (i.e. if it’s a casual dress code, business casual should work well!). If you want to toss in a little something extra, try a pop of color or a memorable (but still appropriate) accessory!
Be open and approachable
Like dating, interviews aren’t about attacking your conversation partner with a barrage of reasons why you’re the best. Seriously, would you stick around for someone who just thought they were the ultimate gift to the world? Don’t get cocky – being relatable and humble is the key to getting them to like you. Don’t just tell them how great you are – show them through stories of your past experiences and how you handle challenging situations!
Check that body language
When having a conversation, it doesn’t really matter what you say if you’re slumped in your chair and look bored out of your mind. That relationship is bound to go south, fast. Watch your body language – it’s worth practicing in a mirror and observing your habits. What expression does your face default to when you hear bad news? How do you sit in your chair? You want to look relaxed but still engaged in the meeting.
Embellish with care
The first date is a hook to get your partner interested in you, so it’s natural to want to boost your image a bit (especially if you think there’s something there!). But big embellishments and flat out lies will definitely come and bite you in the rear down the road. Remember: you’re pursuing a long-term relationship. If you snag the job (or the second date), facts about your are bound to surface at some point. Don’t let yourself get caught in a fib!
Don’t get too comfortable
Of course, you want to be relaxed with your conversation partner, but getting too comfortable too quickly can lead to exposing more than necessary. Remember that the first date/first interview is your opportunity to highlight the best parts of yourself to entice the employer/your date to invite you to a second meeting. So it’s probably best if you hang back on that story about the wild house party from last weekend… at least until you know each other a little better.
Get to know them better
One of the toughest things to remember about interviews is that, like dates, they’re 2-way conversations. The employer’s performance during the meeting is just as important as yours, so watch carefully – are they putting in the effort that you are to make a good first impression? Did you feel a ‘spark’? Have some questions ready so that when you leave the interview, you have all the info you need to make a decision about whether to move forward with the relationship or not.
Remember: no one expects you to be 100% perfect during an interview, but it’s important to highlight all the best qualities about yourself to establish a strong foundation for a potential long-term employer/employee relationship. So practice your moves for your next callback – you never know when the perfect job will come calling!
Ready to land some interviews? Explore amazing job opportunities on HigherMe’s Job Board!