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5 Reasons Job Interviews Are Just Like First Dates

12 months ago by Saima Chadney

5 Reasons Job Interviews Are Just Like First Dates

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Your love life and working life aren’t as different as you might think. First dates are all about getting to know one another and deciding if there is a future for the two of you. Job interviews are similar; you’re meeting an employer for the first time and questioning if you can envision a future of happiness with the company.  

Just like first dates, job interviews can go in two ways. Sometimes the stars align and you’ll find your happily ever after in the working world. Other times, you just don’t click with the person or company, and end up on the sofa watching The Notebook for the 100th time eating (a lot) of chocolate. Either way, it’s important to have these experiences to learn and grow as a person. It also allows you to show up to your next one more prepared and with a better understanding of what you genuinely want.  

So, why are job interviews just like first dates, and how can you best prepare for them? 

1.     You’ve both done your research beforehand  

We can all admit to online stalking the person we are going on a first date with beforehand. We scroll through their social media profiles analysing Instagram photos, Facebook posts, and tweets to try and uncover more details about who they are. Researching the company and position you are applying for is exactly the same… well, in some ways.  

The importance of research before a job interview cannot be stressed enough; take the time to learn about the company’s mission, browse their website, find out about their history and how they have grown, and discover what their goals for the future are. Ask your recruiter for some inside info. Showing off this knowledge at the interview will impress the employer and demonstrate how you have taken the time and effort to learn about and understand the company.  

You can also browse their social media profiles to get a good grasp of the company culture and use sites such as Indeed and Glassdoor to read employee reviews. This allows you to identify any early warning signs about the company and to see if it’s going to be the right fit for you.  

Don’t forget, this is a two-way process: the company will carry out research on you too. Examine your online presence and make sure there’s nothing too unprofessional out there. Be sure that your LinkedIn is also up-to-date, and you’ve highlighted any key skills and qualifications that are relevant to the position you’re applying for. 

2.     You’ve changed your outfit a million times 

The outfit crisis. A battle we often face when trying to impress a first date - or in this case, an employer.  

On a first date, while it’s important to wear something that makes you look good, it’s also important to wear something that makes you feel confident and represents who you are as a person. The same goes when choosing what to wear in job interviews. Select an outfit that makes you look presentable, but also makes you feel confident and ready to take on any tough questions they may fire at you. 

It is important, however, to keep your outfit style more on the smart side than casual. Even if you see employees on the company’s website and social media wearing casual attire, you should still turn up to the interview in smart clothes unless told otherwise. You want to demonstrate to them you can be taken seriously, and that you’re capable of professionally representing the company during important events. The same applies to interviews conducted over video. Just because they are online, it does not mean you should make less of an effort in how you look. 

3.     You’re tactful in how open you are  

On a first date, you do not want to be giving the person a detailed history of your failed past relationships or exposing them to some of the not-so-great sides of your personality. The same goes for job interviews. First impressions are everything. Even if you’re really hitting it off in the interview, do not start complaining about your previous jobs or employers. Try to maintain a professional demeanour. It’s fine to laugh at a joke or show a sense of humour, however, it is important not to come off as too casual or unprofessional.  

You also want to focus on showing off your skills and previous work rather than focusing on your previous mistakes. While honesty is the best policy and it’s important you remain honest about your qualifications, skills, and what you can bring to the role, it’s best not to bring to light any previous mishaps you may have made in your work life. If they do come up, focus on how you overcame those obstacles, and what you have learnt from them. Employers want to see how resilient you are in the working world and how capable and trustworthy you will be as an employee. Focus on impressing the company by showing off your positive attributes, and prepare in advance by knowing how to answer those tricky curveball questions! 

4.     You ask questions to work out if this is the right fit for you 

The first date is all about getting to know the person and discovering what personal interests, past experiences, and life goals they have. As you discover more about them, you will start to get a sense of whether they are going to be the right fit for you and if a second date, and potentially many more, are in sight.   

Similarly, job interviews provide a chance to gain more insight into the position being offered and if it’s going to be the right fit for your working life. Remember, the interview is not just about the employer questioning you, it is also a chance for you to question the employers about the company. Don’t be afraid to ask them about the salary and negotiate it if you feel it does not match the role being offered. Ask them about what the job entails exactly, the benefits that the company provides and if there’s space for you to grow. If there is little room for professional development, maybe the job isn’t right for you.  

It’s important to recognise that we spend most of our adult lives working, so finding the job that works for you and makes you happy is paramount. Maybe you don’t like the idea of working in the corporate world, or maybe you feel you are the perfect fit for it. Whilst no job is perfect, just like every potential partner will have their flaws, there is no point taking it if you are unsure if it is really what you want. Take time in the interview to explore the role and the company in more depth and decide if it aligns with the future that you want in your working life.  

5.     You’re unsure how to communicate afterwards 

If you feel like your first date went well, sending a quick ‘I had a lovely time’ message is always a nice gesture afterwards. The same applies to job interviews - communication goes a long way. If you feel like the job was a good fit for you, drop them an email a day or two after, or ask your recruiter to pass on your thanks. Don’t overdo it though, after all, you wouldn’t send a million texts to someone after the first date!  

If things don’t go your way after the interview, learn from the experience and move on, just as you would after an unsuccessful first date. After all, there are plenty of fish in the sea both within the dating and working world.  

Struggling to find your happily ever after in the working world? We have hundreds of positions available in industries such as accountancy, human resourcesmarketing and digitalIT, and many more. Alternatively, you can search all our positions here, or register with us.