The Common Secrets of Interviewing & Dating
You have just managed to set a date for a sit down
You are excited because this really seems like an interesting person/company!
Maybe this is only going to result in a little walk together in life. You might bring each other some mutual joy and benefits and ultimately walk away enriched by the experience.
Or maybe much more.
In any scenario, mastering the art of dating/interviewing is extremely useful and allows you to keep your options fully open.
I will postulate that interviews and dates are very similar: both are simply about two people sitting down for the first time and getting to know each other while trying to understand if they are meant for each other.
It is all about making it a fun and interesting conversation
Do you think you have a good chance to get a second date if you just sit and smile while answering questions from the person in front of you?
Obviously not. Everybody gets tired of asking the same questions and listening to typical answers. The same goes for an interview.
What is the common thing between business and romance?
Both are specifically made up of people with emotions.
People make decisions based on their feelings more than on their rational thinking almost all the time. The workplace is no exception and even more so when it concerns other people.
Forget your CV and your pictures, this is mostly going to be about connecting!
First signals are OK
This is the easy part. Nowadays the preliminary requirements are checked out before you even get to the table. Screening is electronic, and you have met that basic requirement.
You have already texted back and forth and seen each other’s pictures or CV. You both agree that on paper it can work, otherwise this meeting would probably not even happen.
Now you simply have to dress up properly and act with appropriate manners.
Note that some people still manage to fail this part and show up with the most random choice of clothing: the first signal you send then becomes ‘this person could not care less about this meeting’. Make a good first impression!
Smile and Laugh
The simplest indicator of a pleasurable exchange is the act of smiling. This means the tension is decreasing, you are being spontaneous, considerate, and open minded. The conversation is enjoyable!
Even better- a laugh is an open door to the heart.
When you have managed to get someone laughing you have unconsciously become a source of pleasure. You are already making someone’s day better and this is actually all we seek from a new partnership.
Now if humor is not your strong suit or you have a rather particular sense of humor (like sarcasm), you may want to avoid trying. Insincerity is a turnoff professionally and personally.
Instead, you could seek a truly intelligent and compassionate conversation which will also provide a similar pleasurable effect by simply having this person felt truly understood.
This is what you want to achieve first: establish an exchange between two reasonable grownups.
This can easily be done by being an active listener.
Your success rate will skyrocket when you understand the following: It’s not all about you looking good but rather about understanding if you have mutual interests and a common ground to build a partnership on.
Believe it or not, the truth is that nobody cares about how awesome you are. They care about how confident you make them feel that you’re going to make their life better.
Hence it is essential to avoid finding yourself in an interrogation. You do not want to be a suspect in a bad movie! Instead, quickly get a sense of how this person can benefit from a relationship with you before you throw all of your qualities in her/his face.
Never underestimate people’s desire to be listened to.
Also keep in mind- if you wait for the last stage of the meeting to ask all of your questions at once it means you failed to make this a conversation! Stay engaged throughout the meeting.
Catch her/his attention
This is the most important part. If the conversation is going well and the questions go back and forth for some time, chances are there may be at least one topic that will connect on both sides and in which you have a chance to be insightful.
Either it is personal or professional, but it is the point you need to get to. This is your moment to shine because it is probably the only truly authentic and interesting moment of this entire meeting.
If you are developing something stimulating, chances are your interlocutor will want to open up to you and reflect on a personal experience or thought. Your date/interviewer is already trusting you enough to discuss something that truly matters to them.
This way you are already being intimate if it’s a date, or actually working together if it’s an interview!
If you never reach this point, it might mean that there is nothing really for you two to connect on. It could be that this person/company is simply not a good match for you.
You may just have saved yourself years of unnecessary suffering. This is good- better to learn this now!
Talk about next step together
You have had a rich and fun exchange, it seems clear to both of you that there is something to work with here.
Stay on a good note. A good indicator it is time to go is that smiles and laughter are getting less and less common.
If it is not coming from your counterpart, it is fine to talk about the next steps yourself. It shows your determination and desire to move forward. There is no need to be pushy, you are just sharing your mind about how you would see things going from here. You can also ask questions to see how your new partner would like to progress.
If you had all indicators to green, you are pretty much certain the outcome is going to be great.
Now when your interviewer is taking off her/his clothes, stop right there you are getting way too good at this!
A few more tips:
- It’s just a date/interview! No matter how appealing the occasion is, your main goal is having a pleasurable and interesting conversation between two human beings who possibly could do well with each other.
- Try to have a good time while keeping an honest and dynamic attitude. This way you look like someone very enjoyable to be/work with.
- Do not look like you are desperate. Desperation is not attractive in any context.
- Do not talk about Exes/former companies in a resentful way.
- Don’t move too fast unless signals are clear.
- Do not forget to follow up after a day or two.
And most importantly be true from the start, it will save everybody’s time!