I often use the analogy of dating when discussing the steps of a career search to college age audiences as the analogy resonates with the demographic since dating is an ever-present topic in their lives. So how are dating and applying for jobs similar?
Sweaty palms. Dry throat. Butterflies in your stomach. First date or first interview? So far, we have covered the flirting/getting to know you stage, followed by the “Ask”. We took a small tangential path off sequence when I covered your attractiveness level in the McDonald’s and Miss America post. Now, it is time for the first date/first interview.
No matter how smooth one believes himself/herself to be, the first date is rife with nerves and anticipation. Some keys to success on a first date:
- Preparation: Hopefully you have thought out what you would like to do on the first date and made the necessary arrangements (ie: reservations at a restaurant, tickets to a show, etc.).
- Impression: Dressed appropriately? On time? Smile? Did you clear out all the junk in your car? Make a positive first impression to start the date off on the right foot.
- Conversation: No one wants to go on a date with someone who talks all night or never says a word. Ask questions, listen to the answers, share your thoughts – be ready for conversation. I would also recommend steering clear of potentially controversial subjects as you don’t know where the other person stands on topics such as the DH in baseball, BCS system for college football, or the names of your future children.
A first date is a time to get to know each other and evaluate if there is potential in this relationship. While very few individuals are ready to jump into a committed relationship after one date, most people can tell if a relationship has zero potential at the end of the evening. A first date is a first step – don’t put so much pressure on yourself. Take some time to evaluate if you and your date share a spark and look to build on the connection you have made.
No matter how smooth one believes himself/herself to be, the first interview is rife with nerves and anticipation. Some keys to success on a first interview:
- Preparation: Research the company (products, services, history, locations, news items, etc.), position (skills desired for the role, functions, responsibilities) as well as trends in the industry so you will be able to address and ask questions during the interview. Employers like to see candidates who have done their homework and thought through their answers in relation to the job.
- Impression: Appropriately dressed? 5-10 minutes early for the interview? Smile? Solid handshake? Make a positive first impression to start the interview on the right foot. Employers expect some nerves but want to see someone who is excited to about the opportunity. Be sure to make solid eye contact, smile, and offer a good handshake to start the meeting off well.
- Conversation: While the hiring manager will want to ask several questions, candidates should be ready to ask questions of their own. Asking questions of the hiring manager communicates you are interested in the job; be ready to ask questions that would help you understand the job responsibilities and company culture better. Strong interviewers will ask a question, listen to the response, and then build upon the answer – in other words, they make it less of a Q&A session and more of a conversation with the hiring manager. This helps the hiring manager envision what it would be like to work with you.
A first interview is a time for an applicant and hiring manager to form an impression about each other and evaluate if there is potential in this relationship. While very few individuals will be offered a job after one interview, most individuals can tell if an employer/employee relationship has zero potential at the end of a first meeting. A first interview is a first step – don’t put so much pressure on yourself. Take some time to evaluate the experience, questions asked of you, and your answers in an effort to continue to improve for future interviews.
Monday: End of the Night-Kiss/No Kiss?