Why a job interview is just like a first date

I’ve always maintained that interviews are a lot like first dates. So maybe I’ve interviewed far too often and gone on one too many dates but I have learnt that the similarities of preparing for them are undeniable.

As you would prior to a first date, you need to stalk the company online; something I've always done. Trust me, you don’t want to be working at a place with ugly skeletons lurking that you struggle to shake off later. And go a little further than a mere Google stalk, check out the social media profiles of the people at the organisation that will interview you. I read once that a guy ruined all chances at his interview before he even arrived because he flipped the guy about to interview him whilst at the subway station.

Here it is, Matthew Buckland, Head of HR for Forward Partners in the UK, tweeted:

While being a prick is by no means acceptable, knowing beforehand who to be nice to, can help a LOT!

Okay so you’ve stalked everyone but that initial communication via your CV and email communication is a lot like what you would put forward on a dating site and what you would be careful to mention via initial texts. Spell checks, accentuating your positive traits and maintaining the eagerness necessary whilst not seeming desperate are all essential when you’re applying for your dream job, as they are when you’ve found your dream date online.

Moving on to the interview. Your CV and your grades got you here but it’s not going to get you the job. It’s sort of like your Tinder profile being a lure ‘cause you’re good looking. Great stuff! But what else do you have to offer?

While interviewing, nobody wants you to reiterate how smart you are, which courses you did, or the grades you got. That’s all evident on the piece of paper you submitted. It’s time to lean in, smile, to speak authentically about why you’re the perfect fit for the company and how you can add value. Again, this lends itself to the dating game where flirting and being genuinely interested gets you ahead. You’ll be surprised how quickly people can pick up that you’re just there for the bucks or as a strategic career move.

But this position is not just about the company recruiting the right candidate. You need the perfect fit too. So ask specific questions that can lead to you making the best decisions for you.

And let’s not forget, body language. As you would use your body language to indicate interest on a date, you also would during an interview. An upright posture (heels help), a broad smile, leaning in, maintaining eye contact and a firm handshake all leave positive impressions.

When dressing for an interview, you want to look professional, but not predictable. For me, going with a classic black formal jacket pair is always a win, but pairing it up with something a little more unlikely like a spot of colour adds something extra. You do want to be memorable, because if the company you’re interviewing at has invited many candidates, then it’s a lot like speed dating. Making that first impression all the more vital.

And remember, the environment you find yourself in for most of your day will have an effect on your overall mood, so pick well!


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