Interviewing: The Professional Dating Scene
The butterflies, the excitement, the sheer anxiety-ridden anticipation. Could this be the one to end your incessant quest? Could this be the perfect…job?
While it may be a tad less romantic, a job search shares many similarities with that universal journey to find “the one.” And as the first date often determines whether a relationship endures, so, too, the interview establishes whether professional chemistry abounds. Therefore, it is always in your best interest to approach every interview as if it were a first date.
Always Be Prepared for Courtship
It may start coyly as an anonymous view on your LinkedIn profile. In a few days, it may escalate to a private message. If you’re working with a recruiter, that interested party may begin making inquiries regarding your talents, past experience, and future goals. You are being courted. And in order to nail the courtship, your professional arsenal should be strongly established before the courtship has even begun.
LinkedIn will be one of your strongest assets in presenting yourself to potential employers.
- Ensure your LinkedIn profile leverages channel best practices and strategically highlights your core skills, achievements, and roles.
- Garner endorsements and recommendations from past and current colleagues, clients, and peers.
- Continue to foster your network to increase the likelihood of a potential “suitor” sharing a common connection with your professional network.
Alternatively, if you’re leveraging the skills of a recruiting agency,
- Ensure your recruiter has the most recent version of your resume, with fresh skills and accurate employment history.
- Use your recruiter as a resource to understand if this employer has historically searched for specific applicant qualities or skillsets.
To set yourself up for success, exhaust every resource at your disposal to standout in the crowd.
Never Underestimate the Power of the Blind Date
Congratulations, the date is set! Your strategic chess-like courting has paid off. But like all blind dates, the interview is all about first impressions. Come prepared to shine by:
- Loosely outlining talking points, strengths, and weaknesses.
- Don’t just talk about yourself. Do your homework! Come prepared with a set of relevant questions and demonstrate your understanding of your prospective company’s challenges and needs.
But most importantly, be yourself, stay true to your values, and keep an open mind. If you come into an interview with preconceived notions or try to be someone you’re not, you will set yourself up for failure in the long run. So be natural, ooze confidence, and be prepared for anything.
Chemistry: ‘It’s Not You, It’s Me’
You did your homework, you prepped your talking points, you dressed to the nines; but the spark just didn’t ignite. Sometimes, no matter what you do, the chemistry just isn’t there. And it’s best not to force it. If a potential employer has constructive feedback regarding your interview, learn from it and incorporate that insight into future interviews. Otherwise, keep your chin up and start looking for the next opportunity.
Or perhaps your first interview is a textbook success. After several more ‘dates,’ your pursuer asks you to ‘go steady’ but you can’t escape that gnawing feeling that the opportunity just isn’t for you. Trust your gut. If you have lingering doubts, or just feel underwhelmed by the opportunity at hand, then keep looking. After all, there are plenty of fish in the sea.
At the end of the day, your next employer will play a major role in your life. Focus on finding an opportunity that complements your natural skills and goals. If you’re looking to navigate the job-search waters, Burchard & Associates loves playing professional matchmaker. We aim to connect highly qualified applicants with compatible long-term employers.