How (and Why) to Treat your Job Interview Like a First Date

How (and Why) to Treat your Job Interview Like a First Date - Style Nine to Five

Beyond dressing up in something nice and showing up on time, there are plenty of similarities between a job interview and a first date. Approaching your interview with the same excitement and spark sets you up for a successful meeting with your future employer and leaves you both with excitement about seeing each other again. Here are some easy ways to woo your interviewer to leave them feeling impressed by your charisma along with your professional experience.

Do a Little Digging Online

In this digital age, it’s pretty standard that most people don’t go on a date these days without googling the other person, checking out their social media feeds, and a bit of general snooping around. After all, it’s nice to know a bit about the person you’re about to have dinner with, and you can be pretty certain that they’ve done similar research on you too.

The same goes for the modern hiring manager—they’re diving deeper than just scanning your resume and cover letter and they’re poking around online to see who you really are. Before you show up to your interview, do your own detective work.

With some basic internet savvy, you can likely find out more about the hiring manager, the person who will be interviewing you, and the person who might be your new supervisor. If not, scour LinkedIn for other employees that work at the company you’re applying to and take note of who they are, what their credentials are, and how long they’ve been at the company. The point is to arm yourself with as much information as possible, then use it in your interview. You could tell your interviewer:

• “I read on your LinkedIn profile that you’ve been with the company for 10 years! How have you seen things evolve?”

• “It’s my understanding that Jane Doe is the manager of this department. What do you think are the most important things to know about succeeding on her team?”

• I did a little research and noticed that John Doe is part of this team. I’m a big fan of the TED Talk he did last year.”

Regardless of what you say, the point is that you’re showing off that you know your stuff, that you have a curious mind, and that you care enough to form a connection to the company.

Keep the Conversation Flowing

An evening of great date-night conversation is two-sided, where both people take turns asking and answering questions and letting things unfold naturally. Make your job interview flow in the same way. While your interviewer has their list of questions to get through, that doesn’t mean you can’t keep it conversational rather than just replying to what they ask.

Rather than waiting until the end to ask questions, try to weave them throughout the interview, so you and the hiring manager are discussing back and forth. This shows that you’re easy to talk to and genuinely interested, and it also gives you time to relax and catch your breath while they’re talking.

Start with some small talk about a local current event or an upcoming holiday—even the weather. A little chit chat will calm your nerves and set your conversation off on the right foot. Then, as they ask you questions, give them your answers but volley back. For example:

• They ask what was your greatest accomplishment. After you answer, ask them, “Is this something you see benefitting your company or the department I’d be working in?”

• They ask you to you tell them about yourself. After you do, say, “What about you? I’m curious to know how long you’ve been with the company and how you’d describe the work environment?”

• They ask you to describe yourself in three words. After you answer, ask them how they’d describe the company, your potential team, or the position in three words of their own.

Bottom line: a natural conversation flows back and forth and is easy and enjoyable for everyone involved. If you turn your interview into a discussion rather than an interrogation, you’ll leave the interviewer feeling pleased with your approach and with the understanding that you’re someone who is really invested in being part of the company.

Bring your Personality

On a first date you want to show off your dazzling personality, and hopefully the other person is just as interesting and charming. Nothing falls flat like being out for dinner or coffee with someone who seems bland and doesn’t do much to show you who they really are.

Approach your interview with the same enthusiasm as you would when meeting your date. First thing: smile! You might be nervous, but don’t let it show on your face. A bright, friendly smile helps put you at ease and sets the stage for your interviewer to like you right off the bat.

Throughout the interview, don’t be afraid to let your unique characteristics or fun quirks shine through. Are you an avid sci-fi reader? A movie buff? An expert gardener? Do you love travel? Do you have a great sense of humour? Show it off! For example:

• They ask you what your biggest weakness is. Give them something career-related, but tie it into something interesting about you as a person. “I’m the type of person who often takes on too much at work because I want to say yes to every project, but it often gets me in hot water if I’m dealing with too many deadlines and end up working all hours of the night to get things done. Good thing my neighbor listens to really loud heavy metal to help keep me up so I’m always sure to deliver my work on time. I owe my success to Metallica!” Then share a laugh!

• They ask you how your last boss would describe you. “They’d definitely say that I’m super eager because I’m always the first to volunteer to take on new projects or I’m constantly pitching ideas. My kids are embarrassed that I’m such a keener about turning things like taco Tuesday into a full-blown fiesta, but so far it’s really served me well in bringing that positive enthusiasm to my team.” Maybe they have kids too and can relate. Maybe they can relate to feeling the same way as a teen. Then share another laugh!

Whatever it is, you’re injecting your personality into your answers and they’ll walk away with a real sense of who you are as an employee and will have a few tidbits to remember you by and set you apart from other candidates who were strictly focused on answering the questions.

Follow Up

If you’re into someone but they take too long to call or text you back, you might lose interest or may forget about them altogether. Don’t let your interviewer pass you by! Not only is following up a polite and professional way to thank the hiring manager for their time, but it’s another chance to express your interest and form a connection. For example:

• “Hi X, it was great talking with you this morning! I came away from our conversation feeling even more excited about the job now that I’ve heard all the great things about the team and the company. I’d love to talk more about the next steps. Let me know if I can share anything else with you! Thanks so much for your time and I hope to hear from you soon.”

• “Hi X, thanks so much for taking the time for our conversation this morning, it was great to meet you and hear all the positive things you had to say about the work environment. After learning more about the position and how your team puts such an emphasis on working together, I’m even more interested in being part of your group! I hope to talk to you again soon and move forward with the next steps!”

To wrap it up, if you act in an interview the same way you would when you’re out for drinks with someone you’re interested in, you’ll come across as interesting, invested, and fun to be around. You’ll become more memorable than other candidates who went into their interviews with a ho-hum attitude, and standing out from the pack is to your advantage when it comes to winning over your future employer.

Before you can woo the hiring manager, you need to deliver a great application package to secure an interview. Style Nine to Five’s Cover Letter Refresh gives them a personality-packed introduction to who you are and how you can connect to the company.

By: Jeanine GordonJeanine is a freelance writer and editor with a passion for creating stellar content for global brands and small businesses alike – specializing in fashion and lifestyle.

Feature Image: Adobe Stock