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This is what happens when you treat your job search like dating

When we date (which includes those in marriage) we show we value a person. How many times have you worked in a place that was not a match for you? Some people think the employer holds all the cards. Au contraire, it is a two-way street and the candidate should think in those terms. Think about it, just like in our personal lives we want a meaningful relationship where we contribute and feel valued.

Most people can identify with being in a job that was not the right fit. Think hard, did you take the job because it was:

The first job you took when you graduated,

A temporary setback in life,

To make someone else happy,

A job that you needed -- not wanted,

Or the worst reason, you settled.

Yikes! It is awful to feel like you wasted time in the relationship, were not valued, and merely used. That’s why a job search should be treated more like a dating quest to find a great partner. Statistically, the average person will have two long-term relationships, two heartbreaks and a whole number of bad dates before they find “the one (Ellie Abraham, Inspiring Interns, February 12, 2017). Heartbreak city applies in the workplace also. Remember, you want to find an employer that challenges you, brings out the best of you, and allows you to learn from mistakes and grow.

By treating the interview like a date you know you play a big part in determining your path. Here are ten dating tips that can be applied to the interview process.

1. Do your research! People use the Internet to conduct due diligence through social channels on others we are attracted to, keep up with family, friends and troll the net. Do the same on the employer. Check the company website, social feeds, Indeed reviews to get an idea about their content and what others post about the company. Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan (Six Things to Research before Interviewing, Jan 29, 2017) share “If you haven’t done any research beforehand, it’s usually quite obvious to the interviewer, and you’re pretty much guaranteed to get tripped up at some point.” Take time to really study the job description and your research to ask questions to demonstrate your interest.

2. Be yourself. Make sure you know your strengths, challenges, what you're passionate about. Take time to reflect on what your gifts, strengths, challenges, values, personality type, and preferences are. Surprisingly, people really don't take time to be self-reflective. When you begin to realize what your own value is, you will recognize what you have to bring to the employment relationship also.

3. Be confident. People are drawn to others that ooze confidence. It is perfectly okay to share what your challenges are. When interviewing, often times applicant’s don’t want to disclose their weaknesses. It really comes from a place of confidence and strength to share areas you want to improve or where you may not be able to perform. This is an opportunity to flip the weakness into a positive, check out these simple examples below provided by Alison Doyle, (What Is Your Greatest Weakness Job Interview Question, Jan 18, 2017).

  • I had difficulty with calculus during college, but I persevered with tutoring assistance and extra effort and completed 2 levels with a B minus average.

  • I used to like to work on one project to its completion before starting on another, but I've learned to work on many projects at the same time, and I think it allows me to be more creative and effective in each one.

  • I've learned to make my perfectionism work to my advantage. I have become proficient at meeting deadlines, and with my attention to detail, I know my work is accurate.

4. Be a team player. Not everything is about you. You may be asked to provide an example of a team project and how you contributed to the team. Be prepared to give examples that demonstrate how you led a team or were a supporting member. Employers (like partners) want to see you know how work together.

5. Be on time. Do you like it when your date is late? Doesn’t make a good impression. Being on time means ten minutes early, not 5 minutes late or even at the exact time. A person that shows up 10 minutes early shows they value time. This makes a HUGE impression that you value time as a serious resource.

6. Be thoughtful. Good manners go far! Remember to send a handwritten note after the interview and thank the person (along with others you met with) for the opportunity to interview. A handwritten note makes you stand out against the competitors especially when you acknowledge specific points of the conversation. When you land the job, remember thoughtfulness comes in the form of ‘please,’ thank you,’ 'you’re welcome,' and ‘what can I take off of you right now?'

7. Be wise. According to Liz Ryan (Ten Ways Job-Hunting Is Like Dating, July 13, 2016) “We choose our stories carefully and downplay or simply don't mention negative things, at least not at first. You might not say, "I got stopped for speeding this morning" on a first date, and you might not say, "I got fired from my last job, but my boss was a jerk" on a job interview. In both scenarios, we step carefully into the relationship and save some of the major truth-telling for a later conversation. Be wise about the information you put out there as it does establish a first impression.

8. Be communicative. When we go on dates, we listen intently, look at the person and think about our responses. The same occurs in the interview process AND when we secure the job. Remember to listen more. Hard for extraverted personality types because they process their thoughts through talking; while introverted personalities process inside their head and are more quiet. Remember communication skills are more than just speaking; it involves engagement, listening without interrupting, looking at the person when they speak, and remember body language counts too, checking phones and computers is a no no.

9. Be complimentary. Let’s be honest, if we are attracted to the person we compliment, flatter, and let the person know we LIKE them. The same holds true when we feel chemistry with the potential employer. Words of affirmation go a long way and make you memorable. Allison Green (7 Ways Interviewing is Like Dating, Sept 17, 2007) shares “I’ll admit it, when a candidate says complimentary things about the company and the interview process, I like it. I had a candidate recently tell me that the interview process itself made him more interested in working for us, because it was rigorous enough that he could tell we really cared about getting the right fit. Is there anything more attractive than someone who values the things about us that we value about ourselves?”

10. Be knowledgeable about other topics. Whenever we meet someone for the first time, we begin the process of learning about them. If you want to make a favorable impression, it pays to keep up-to-date on competitors, industry trends, local news and sports, this increases your value and makes for interesting conversation. Just like dating, it is good to see a well-rounded person with multiple interests.

What tips do you have to share? Feel free to make comments here on our blog.

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