Does this Shirt go with these Jeans?

In many ways a first interview and a first date are very similar. A first date is an opportunity to present the best version of yourself to an individual who has no prior knowledge of you who are.  Essentially, the goal of a first date is to convince your date to consider you attractive or appealing in order to influence their decision to continue seeing you. Or it’s the opposite and you worry the whole time what embarrassing thing they’re going to do next and how you can possibly leave sooner.

My first date was not like your typical first date. The whole time I was looking for a way to somehow get out of there. We went to a very nice restaurant and he acted like a child. He showed up dressed very causally, was mean to the waitress, and he kept eating food off my plate when he was finished with his. So needless to say this date was clearly not a cultural fit for me.

On the other side of the coin, the goal of your first interview is to convince the company to hire you. Candidates for a job are selling themselves to their potential employers in order to distinguish themselves from other applicants, but also to prove that they are the best fit for the company. The purpose of interviewing is to determine if a candidate is a good match for a company, in terms of culture and experience.

A few weeks after my first date I was asked to be interviewed for the first time. When I was asked I got very nervous and my mom told me.

“Don’t be nervous, an interview is just like a date.”

jess

Oh great! Just what I wanted to hear after my horrible first date experience. But, I didn’t let this stop me and I went on my first interview. It ended up going much better than I thought and it’s because I was able to successfully influence the hiring manager by letting them see who I was.

Prior to the first interview, I questioned myself; How should I act? Am I what they are looking for? Why do they want to see me? What should I wear? Are we going to have common interests?

All these questions made me nervous and made me second guess myself. But, I didn’t let them, I answered right back with my greatest strength keeping in mind these four tips:

BE WHO YOU ARE. You will be far more comfortable and confident being no one other than yourself. Do not deviate from doing or saying anything that you normally wouldn’t. Potential employers can detect candidates who are simply saying things that the employer wants to hear. Employers are interviewing you because the want to know more about who YOU are. They don’t want to hear the textbook answers to interview questions, so give them what they want! In order to do well, you must be the best version of yourself.

CONFIDENCE IS KEY. They want you because you are smart, organized, honest, and have a personality that fits in their culture and mission. Focus on conveying the traits you have that you think makes you distinguishable from other applicants, but also makes you a seamless addition to the company.

DRESS TO IMPRESS. Try on the outfit the night before. Be careful of rainbow hair and florescent nails. Look sharp, clean, appropriate, and professional enough to catch peoples eye.  Look the part! Wear something that makes you feel good that is suitable for the company, and if you have questions, ask! Look good, feel good, work great!

BE SPONTANEOUS. Don’t plan for things to happen a certain way or have any prior expectations.  Let the conversation flow naturally. Don’t be scared to deviate from your original talking points if the conversation goes in a different direction than you anticipated. Be open to different possibilities because a new opportunity may surprise you.

Tips are great to help you prep beforehand, but what happens when you are a minute away and it hits you that this is actually happening? Don’t panic and remember these four things in the moment:

First impressions matter.

Both your interview and date start the second you walk through the door. People never forget what they thought and felt the first time they met you. There’s no re-do or rewind for first impressions, so take yours seriously!

jess1

Come with a checklist.

It is a two- way street. You want to make sure you love the company or the guy as much as they love you. You want to establish what key core values are going to be critical that the company or your date has that matches your values.

 

Don’t complain about your past.

Avoid complaining about a previous employer that you hate or an ex you could do without. Instead, discuss what these challenging or negative experiences taught you and how they have influenced your actions moving forward. This will demonstrate your ability to think critically and consciously about how you act, which is attractive to future employers and dates.

Send a note.

A little note of appreciation goes a long way. Thanking an employer for the opportunity of having an interview or telling a date that you enjoyed the time both show that you took the time seriously. Don’t wait for them to send you something first. Acknowledging the time spent by showing respect reflects your interest and commitment to taking further steps.

jess2

After all, both interactions come down to similar questions, such as whether you can picture yourself being with the other person or potential employer. It is important to be adaptable to different personalities you encounter on future interviews and dates. There will always be crazy, unique, awkward and seemingly unexplainable personalities of people you encounter; however, being able to handle yourself in any situation, with anyone, whether the experience is going good or bad, is something that I learned made me most successful in both an interview and a first date.

 

Advertisements
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: