First impressions matter. Make yours impeccable whether dating or job hunting.
Have you ever speed dated? Not that you would admit it. Did you notice the similarities to a job interview? There you are, sitting down, sweating in the best clothes you own. Trying to look like a catch. Making wild assumptions based on the silliest facts. Is the interviewer running five minutes behind schedule? She must have loved the previous candidate. Is your date a tat late? He must still have feelings for his ex.
The similarities don’t stop there. As much as you hate to admit it, you Googled, LinkedIn-ed, and Facebook stalked your date. Maybe you went as far as to look into every person your crush had their arm around in Instagram pictures. As creepy as it sounds, your interviewer has probably done the same extensive background check on your digital footstep. To avoid embarrassing questions regarding your weekly alcohol intake, keep your vacation photos to yourself! Neither date nor interviewer care to see you drunk, in a bikini and a Mexican hat. Speaking from experience here.
Here are six other rules to follow during first interviews/dates. These interview techniques will give you the confidence boost you need to stop your knees shaking.
1. There is no such thing as ”fashionably late”
If you are not Parisian, you are not allowed to use this as an excuse. Showing up on time is a sign of respect. Mutual appreciation is at the core of healthy relationships, both work and personal. If you show up late, you are setting yourself up for disaster from the start.
2. Do some power poses
Social psychologist Amy Cuddy claims that power posing – standing in a posture of confidence – can affect the chemistry in your brain. In human speak, you can trick your mind into feeling confident. Research has shown that standing straight with arms stretched up and legs spread apart increases the levels of testosterone and cortisol in your brain, leaving you more self-assured than ever. You can do the pose in the restroom before an interview/ first date for a little confidence boost.
3. Don’t over-share
We’ve all had bad breakups and psychopathic previous employers. No need to ramble about them on and on. The first date/interview is not the right time to complain about the past. Try putting a happy face on. For example, if your interviewer asks why you have switched jobs often in the last two years, you can respond along the lines of: “I wasn’t planning on it, but I have gained so much diverse experience, for which I feel very grateful”. No one likes bitter. Save the emotional baggage for…never.
This should be a no-brainer, yet you may be so focused on presenting yourself in the best light, that you forget to actually listen to your interviewer/date. Don’t interrupt them mid-sentence, let them finish without assuming you know what they are getting at. The other party is interested in finding out if you are an attentive listener. If you set the communications dynamics wrong from the start, you are likely to harm the future relationship. Relax, be engaged, lean forward and nod your head understandingly.
5. Be honest
Never lie on your resume. Never exaggerate during an interview, just as you shouldn’t on a first date. You are looking for a long-term relationship and even little white lies have a way of rearing their ugly heads eventually. First dates/interviews are the time when you make the bed you will lie in. You don’t want to set the relationship up for failure from the start. Rather than behave in a way you think the other party will like, be authentic. Emphasize what attracted you to the company/person.
6. Send a ”Thank you” note
Sending a timely, well-crafted email following a job interview can cement the good impression you have left. It shows commitment and that you are ready to take an extra step. Thank you notes are also a good way to differentiate yourself from other candidates, who may have forgotten to send one. It’s a sign of good taste and politeness, adding bonus points to your overall performance. In the dating context, sending a quick message to thank your love interest for the experience you shared, will be interpreted as a sign of emotional intelligence.
Then there is the inevitable question. Will they fall in love with you? Will your date/interviewer call you again? Will there be a second date/interview? What about a long-term relationship/employment contract?
It’s all in your hands. Go get ‘em, tiger!