Does the thought of going on a first date fill you with jitters? Does your memory of a bad first date make you cringe with embarrassment? Maybe you don’t know what to do on a first date? If so, you’re not alone.
See, a job interview is not that much different from a first date as you prepare a lot for it, in the hope of finding mutual chemistry and score a second meeting. The main difference is, of course, one is formal and one is casual but the point is that approaching an interview like a first date can give you a better chance to succeed.
Few people find interviewing simple and straightforward, even (and perhaps especially) in the age of video interviewing and Zoom.
The good news is that, with the right strategy, you can avoid some of the more common pitfalls and anxieties. Going on a first interview can be something to look forward to rather than dread.
Everyone wants their first encounter with an employer to go well with as few mishaps as possible. Sometimes a couple preparatory pre-interview rituals can help soothe first encounter jitters and ensure that the meeting goes as awesome as possible.
Here are some ideas to help you make a fantastic first impression and why you should treat your interview like a first date:
Being yourself will make you stand out
This might sound corny and it was probably plastered on every self-help magazine out there but trust us, it works.
Many career advice forums do say that the first impression is the most important one and we agree with that. Coupled with that advice, they always give out some examples of things you can do to make yourself stand out such as cracking a joke or two, using a lot of hand gestures or maybe throwing in a couple of puns to spice it up. However, all these techniques have been used and recycled multiple times, and the interviewer has probably gone through several candidates who played a similar act.
Other than that, it is also very exhausting to become someone that you are not. Maybe in the first interview, you can do well with it but it drains you and, in the following, rounds your “performance” might not be as consistent. If you are actually employed by them, you would need to keep up with the act as well, and like Livecareer says,
“The stress alone is likely to spoil any enjoyment you would otherwise get out of the job. Simply keeping your deceptions straight so that you don’t contradict yourself will be a challenge.”
So, being yourself is the best option here and what you should do, is highlight what makes you, you. Not only does being yourself help you to stand out, but it also makes the human part of the interview more genuine which will help you make an impression on them.
Being resolute gives off appeal
Now, being resolute in this context means that you know what you want and you are not someone who will “take what they can get”. Not only is that off-putting in romance, but it is also an easy elimination for recruiters out there.
Hence when you show that you are resolute, it demonstrates a certain sense of self-respect. How you manifest that resoluteness when applying for jobs (even when you’ve applied for many other roles), is by getting to know the company, its values, missions, and visions and aligning them with yours. If you know what you want from a certain organization, then it will be easier for you to offer them what they need. A study by Beyond.com and Millenial Branding in 2014 has revealed that 43% of job seekers and HR professionals believe that “cultural fit” is the most important determining factor when hiring someone new.
Giving the same responses is unoriginal and boring
Imagine a night out at the bar and a few people come up to you with the same pick-up lines. Don’t you feel that it is boring and unoriginal?
The same goes for the interviewers. Remember that they are humans as well and it is their job to recruit people into the company, hence they have probably heard the sample answer for “what are your weaknesses?” more than a million times. So, when you give a different, more original answer, it will probably jolt the recruiters and make them pay more attention to you and what you’re saying as you are “out of the norm”. With that, you have an added advantage over the other competitors who gave perfect but boring answers.
Maybe there was no chemistry between you and the interviewer or the company is different from what you have imagined, it’s alright if it doesn’t work out. It’s not the end of the world and there are many more opportunities out there for you. Just remember that the key to both first dates and job interviews is to be genuine and creative.