As most of the western world is celebrating Valentine’s today - we decided to prepare a short dating guide* that will (hopefully) also come in handy with your job search.
If you think about it, your CV is a bit like your dating profile and your first interview at your dream company is a bit like a first date. It’s a real mix of nerves and excitement, all you can think about is looking great and sounding fantastic, to make that amazing first impression so you get to go on a second date/ nail that second interview.
Goods news: It's a match
Whether you were set up by your mutual friend or you matched on one of the internet dating apps, the chances are, you fit the profile pretty well (at least in a digital world)
Whether you applied for the role directly or have been put forward by a recruitment agency, if you’ve been invited to the interview, the chances are, you fit the profile pretty well (at least on paper).Roses are red, Violets are blue, Let’s just make sure You’ll get to round two.
Fail to prepare or prepare to fail (yes, a bit of a cliche, but sooo true!)
Ask yourself these questions - What did he/she notice on my profile? What has our mutual friend told him/ her about me? Why did she want to see me?
Prepare a mental list of all the things that he/she already knows about you so you can build up your confidence.
Ask yourself these questions - Why do they want to see me? What makes me a good fit for the role? Prepare a list. Take a look at your CV. Choose all the points where you’ve proven you’re right for the position you’re applying for.
Think about an appropriate place for this first meet. Make sure you will both feel comfortable and at ease. Yes to a bar, a pub or a walk.
No to bungee jumping.
Pretty obvious right?
When setting up the interview, be sure to plan the venue diligently. Yes to a cafe or the firm’s office. No to a location that will take you two hours to get to, stress over the parking options and two hours to get back (especially if you’re aiming for an interview during your lunch break).
Don’t forget - It’s also a no to choosing a location close to your office where you could bump into a co-worker.
You don’t want to meet her too late in the evening and then cut the night short because you have to get up at 5am tomorrow to crack on with your workout routine. Think the scenario through and plan accordingly.
You don’t want to show up to your interview flustered (i.e straight from the client meeting - everyone knows they always overrun! ), or, even worse, turn up late. You also want to make sure that you are on top form, running at peak performance, with a cool head. It may seem trivial but think about the times of the day when you find it easiest to focus. This can be a good tip for choosing the interview time accordingly. This may mean scheduling the meeting really early in the morning or even in the evening. Make sure that all these factors work to your advantage.
4. Dress code
As Oscar Wilde claimed “You can never be overdressed”... Well, actually you can.. Think about what would be appropriate for your meeting place and the time of day etc. If you’ve matched on the internet app - the photos may give you an idea of what kind of style the other person represents.
Smart-casual is the absolute minimum for an interview. But how “smart” or how “casual” should you actually be? That may be a bit of a mystery. Check out the company website, see what the people in the photos are wearing. Browse through photos on their social media channels.
Last but not least, choose something that you feel comfortable and confident wearing.
5. Thinking of bringing…
… Flowers? Gifts? May be too much for the first date, but we’ll leave this one to you.
… Any documents? It may be worth taking a copy of your CV and the job description with you. Although if they are likely to be on show make sure they are presented well, not on a bit of crumpled old A4 office paper.
Review them before the interview (even on your way there) and refer to them during the interview if you need to. It may help you to keep your answers to the point/ making sure you’ve covered everything you planned to.
Let the fun begin
Oh, these famous ice-breakers. We all love them, don’t we. “So, how has this internet dating been working out for you?” / “So, you’ve known Sally since high school, right?”... Skip it. You know what you’ve got in common already (via the app/mutual friend) so try building on it. Also, you may prepare a mental list of the topics you want to discuss (something that has happened recently, a trip you’ve been on, something specific to your interests/ mutual hobbies etc.)
As for the interview, it’s highly likely that the other party will start with some opening questions. But there is no harm in having some topics prepared so you look organised and fully prepared. Check Linkedin profiles of the people you’ll be meeting. Take note of all the things you may have in common / anything that can spark a conversation.
The main part: Be yourself
Easier said than done, but just relax. Enjoy the moment.
There are a gazillion articles regarding job interview advice. What most of them are missing though is the right perspective. Remember that you are also interviewing your future manager/ colleagues. Even though you are trying to present yourself in the best way possible, they should also be aware of making a good impression on you. And, as with dating, the chemistry has to be there…..
The show must go on
If things don’t go as planned… Use the advice from the last paragraph. Still, just enjoy the moment. You may then reconsider what went wrong and decide on some actions for the future.
During the interview, the best advice is, don’t freak out. It could be that your future manager is trying this amazing** stress-interview method. Or maybe they are just trying to be really reserved, to come across as uber professional on the first interview.
Bright, bright future
Who knows, maybe the date that you think didn’t go as planned wants to meet up again. Or maybe not. You’ll be fine though. Just read this guide carefully and take note of what happened (good and bad) before your next date.
Same as above. Hopefully, you will get an invitation to the second stage interview. Just go through that article again and you’re all set.Roses are red, Violets are blue, We hope it’s been helpful... Welcome to the new you!
* Even though we said we won’t be focusing on dating advice that much. But we couldn’t resist, it’s the Valentine’s day, you know.
**No, it’s not amazing, that was said with tongue in cheek.
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