You’ve never met before, but you’ve talked briefly via email or phone. You know a little bit about each other because you’ve googled him, and he's seen your profile. Now you have to make a good impression in person, and if you do, you can live happily ever after...in your dream job.
Dating and interviewing require a lot of the same skills, so if you’ve ever swiped right and grabbed a drink with a potential mate, you have some interview experience to rely on. If you follow some of the same key rules of dating when you meet a prospective employer, you’ll be well on your way to nabbing the job.
Be enthusiastic, not creepy. Much like a potential mate who wants to find someone that shares his or her passions, employers want to hire someone who’s passionate about the company. Make sure you highlight the aspects of your experience that showcase your interest in and ability to do the job. Touch on some of the main points you learned in your pre-interview research. But don’t be creepy by getting too personal. If you googled your interviewer and found out she just vacationed in Thailand, don’t ask her about her trip if she doesn’t bring it up. Would you ever let a Tinder match know you’d stalked him/her? Probably not.
Get the interviewer talking. Great dates are centered on great conversations. And a great conversationalist knows that listening, rather than talking, endears you to a potential love interest. People love talking about themselves. But how do you make that happen in an interview without putting your interviewer on the spot? The trick is to pivot away from a call and response style of questioning and settle into a conversation. If you learn the obvious interview questions and craft answers that cover all your bases with an early question -- for example, your response to “Tell me about yourself” includes why you’re interested in the company, your long term goals, and your biggest strengths -- you’ll force your interviewer to think on her feet and develop a more conversational tone. As a result, the interviewer will find herself more relaxed and able to talk to you -- which bodes well for getting called back in.
Know what you’re looking for. Have you ever met someone for a drink, and five minutes in, realized you have no interest in spending the rest of the night -- much less the rest of your life -- with that person? That can happen at a job interview too. Sometimes the company or position isn't what you’d hoped it would be. That’s okay. There’s no rule that says you have to be gung-ho about every position you apply for -- and it’s certainly better to figure out that it's not the right fit during the interview than to get the job and hate it. If this happens, finish out the interview politely, and don’t fake excitement. If you answer the interviewer’s questions professionally and honestly, but without any of that spark referred to in tip #1, they should get the picture, and you can move on without damaging a professional relationship. Think of it as mutual ghosting. But if you do get a call back for a follow up interview, thank the hiring manager for her time, and let her know you don’t think the company or the position is the right fit -- don't just vanish into thin air.
Maintain faith in the process. It’s hard to find that person who’s perfect for you, and it's also hard to find the right job. You may have excellent interview skills but have never been able make it past 2nd place. There are many reasons this can happen, so don't let it get you down. As long as you’ve worked on the things you can control -- having a great resume and cover letter, building your network, and interviewing and following up masterfully -- the right job will come along when it’s time. You just have to keep at it until you find a position that fits, and when you do, it’ll have been worth it.
--Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan