Have you ever compared the interview process to what you go through when you first start dating someone? If you’ve never compared the two scenarios, you might be surprised at how many things they have in common. Let’s compare.
- Dating: We’re going on a second date, but do they really like me? / Interviewing: I’m being asked for a second interview, but who is my competition?
When you’re dating, you think of enjoying the first date and being asked out on the second date as a step in the right direction. However, you can wonder why they’re actually asking you out. Do they desperately want to avoid going to an event alone? Are they sick of telling their parents that they haven’t met the right person, or are they genuinely interested in you? Generally you don’t really understand their motivation unless you go out on that second date, and the second date leads to a third date, etc. The same thing happens when you make it to the second round in an interview situation. You are excited when the prospective employer calls back to schedule a time for your second interview, but even that good news can lead you to ask more questions. You can be wondering who your competition is, or even what about your background/ skills caused them to ask you back. Either way, we encourage you to go on that second date or second interview to explore the potential match.
- Dating: They’re taking forever to text/ call back, have they lost interest?/ Interviewing: Same.
So during your date, the guy/gal you went out with tells you that they had a great time and they’ll text/ call you to set up your next date. However, you’ve been glued to your phone and all you’re hearing is radio silence. Three days and nothing. The same thing can happen after an interview. Hiring managers/ future bosses/ HR employees go on vacation, or have to wait for key stakeholders to get back to them about their calendars, and people also get sick, which can all cause delays for calling/ texting. In the dating world, work can get in the way. Unexpected business trips, family emergencies and work can all complicate life in a way that makes planning something simple, like a third date, nearly impossible.
Whether you’re waiting for that call about a third date or a second interview, it’s hard not to get impatient. However, if you go crazy and start calling the hiring manager or guy/ gal you’re dating every day because you need to hear something, the call/ text will likely never come. -They’re going to think you’re clingy, impatient, or worse, desperate. So find a way to distract yourself while you’re waiting. You know that pile of stuff in the garage that’s collecting dust? Tackle that. Or the book that’s been on your nightstand for a year that you’ve been meaning to read? Crack it open. Yes, waiting is anxiety causing, but acting on your urge to want to know where you stand in the interview or dating process in an overly aggressive way may stop any forward progress in its tracks. You’ll want to make sure that however you’re reacting to in either a dating or interview situation that you’ll be allowed you to keep your options open, and your actions won’t mean the difference between getting the job of your dreams or finding the person you’ll spend the rest of your life with.
- Dating: They should be impressed with me, but I don’t think they’re that impressive./ Interviewing: I’m the best candidate for the job, but I’m not sure I’m impressed with ______ (fill in the blank.)
At one time or another, you probably went out with someone and felt like you were more attractive, smarter, more successful or an overall “better catch” than the person you agreed to go out with. This scenario ends in one of three ways. One: You were right, you ARE the better catch, and they should be so lucky to be dating you. Two: You think you were right, let your head swell up so large that it influenced how you acted on the date, and you came off like you were the most important person you knew. Yikes. Three: You were surprised at what you learned on the date and started to feel like you were the lucky one to be going out with him/her.
When you’re interviewing, you can feel the same way. You can feel like you’re overqualified for the job, and the company would be lucky to have you. Therefore, you have a tendency to believe that the company should be working overtime to impress you with why you should work for them, not the other way around. In the dating example above, this would mean you’re acting like the person in scenario number two. Would you want to date someone who blatantly acted like you were doing them a favor by going out on a date with you? Highly unlikely. The same thing happens when you’re in an interview. If you go into the interview feeling like you’re so wonderful that there’s no way this company deserves you, your interviewer will pick up on it. In addition to not having an open mind and hearing about all the great things the company actually has to offer, you won’t do a great job of actually “selling yourself” as the best person for the job.
This is when thinking about interviewing like dating will actually benefit you. You want your interviewer to like you as much as you like them, and acting like you’re a “shoe in” for the job is no way to get a second interview. It’s equally unattractive if you go to the interview and try way too hard to impress your interviewer. Just like dating, if you appear desperate for positive affirmation or praise, you’ll just appear desperate. Instead, understand that this interview is just like a first date, and you will both be trying to put the best version of yourself out there to see if you’re a match.
- Dating: They introduced me as their girlfriend/ boyfriend! / Interviewing: They offered me the job!
Congratulations! You got the introduction as the girlfriend/ boyfriend. That means you passed all the previous stages of dating with relative success. We aren’t saying it was easy, but you are officially in a relationship. Now sometimes that change in status comes with a lovely conversation and discussion about feelings, other times it falls out of the mouth of your significant other, and you’re literally shocked. The same thing can happen in the interview process. Your interviewer can tell you that you’re going to get an offer, and they’ll be sending you a formal letter to review. Other times, you get the email from the interviewer or your recruiter with the details of your offer with little or no warning. No matter how you get the offer, it’s exciting, and you should feel great about getting through the process with an offer. Hopefully the offer is a good one, and you’re as excited as the first time you were called “the boyfriend/ girlfriend.”
So if you’ve never thought about how much dating and interviewing actually have in common, hopefully after reading these four points, you can see why having someone in your corner like a recruiter can help you navigate it successfully. Just like when you call your best friend after a bad date or a good date to get relationship/ dating advice, your recruiter will be there to talk you through all stages of your relationship with your interviewer.