Posted by Robert Half on 29 March 2016
In many respects, attending a job interview is like going on a first date. It's a nervous time - your big opportunity to make a great impression on the other party, in the hope that they will like what they see. If you play your cards right, you might just bag yourself a second date, or a second interview.
With both dating and interviewing, there's a whole host of 'what ifs' and possibilities to consider. You never know exactly what to expect, and have to be prepared for every eventuality. Will the other party be interested in taking things further? If you buckle under the pressure and fail to do yourself justice, the relationship will be over before it's even started.
Dates and job interviews can be enjoyable experiences when they go well and when the parties are a good match. When you're trying to secure a new job, taking the time to prepare for a job interview can be the deciding factor between being asked back for a second interview or not.
So what lessons can we learn from the world of dating? Here are eight interview tips to help you secure a new job:
1. Get the introduction right
When you turn up to a date, the first few moments are crucial. Your body language can depict how the job interview goes. Make a conscious effort to smile, make eye contact and choose a suitable embrace. In a job interview this would be a firm handshake. Displaying awkwardness at the start can put you immediately on the back foot, so make sure you have something to say at the start.
2. Find common ground
Here’s another job interview tip to keep in mind: as a job interview commences, you'll often be asked to tell the interviewer a little about yourself. Open questions give you the chance to settle and ease your way in, before you move on to the specifics of the job and your suitability for the vacancy. This is rather like trying to find mutual interests on a date - topics you are both interested in talking about.
3. Dress to impress
Your choice of attire will inevitably have a bearing on the initial impression you make. If you turn up to a date - or interview - wearing rags, it won't matter what you say or do. You're just not going to get taken seriously. Also, dressing well can give you additional confidence, which ultimately boosts your performance. It shows the other party you mean business.
4. Use your knowledge
When you go on a date, the chances are you already know a few things about the other person. You can use this to your advantage, by reading up on their topics of interest in advance. Job interviews are the same - learn about your prospective employer before the interview. Becoming acquainted with the organisation's mission, values, structure and financial performance can be very beneficial when they ask you common interview questions.
5. Be entertaining
If you're trying to impress a would-be partner, you need to have a few interesting tales to tell, relevant anecdotes and a good sense of humour. The same applies in a job interview, where you need to differentiate yourself from the rest of the candidates. All the skills and experience in the world may not help if an employer finds you instantly forgettable, make sure to relate how your skills and qualities can add value to the company.
6. Ask the right questions
The most successful dates are those where both parties engage in a natural, two-way dialogue. You speak, but also listen intently to what the other person has to say. Asking questions during an interview is the best way to encourage the other person to contribute - and the same applies in a job interview. You need to ask the interviewer questions, not simply answer those posed to you. Doing so helps facilitate further discussion, giving you a chance to learn more about the organisation and the role at hand.
7. Express gratitude
At the end of a job interview (or date), you need to thank the other person for a great time. Offering this compliment may provide them with additional incentive to meet with you again, particularly if they think you are a suitable candidate. At a job interview, you should always thank the employer for their time and consideration, and reinforce this with an email.
8. Be yourself
Whether you're on a date or a job interview, you've got to be yourself. You won't be able to keep up an act for long, so be honest, open and transparent and let the other party make a decision based upon how you convey your skills and abilities.
It’s important to keep these job interview tips in mind if you want to make a positive impression. This way you have done everything in your power to achieve a second job opportunity or job offer.
If you are in the process of looking for a job, have a look at our available jobs today.
This article originally appeared as 8 ways a job interview is like dating on the UK Robert Half blog.