Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Dating and Interviewing: Are these two really so different?

By Kelsey McWilliams, Marketing Intern at CU-Boulder Career Services

Chances are most of you have gone to a job interview or out on a date at one point in your life. You probably categorize these two scenarios into very different aspects of your life, but surprisingly there are many parallels between the two! Interviewing for jobs and dating both require preparation, confidence and patience in order to find success, and there are many other similarities as well!

Blind Dates
Although employers certainly do respect applicants who seek out the company and apply on their own, a referral from someone else will put you ahead of the game. Whether it’s a previous colleague, a close friend or someone who you met through networking, their recommendation will mean a lot to the interviewer. The same goes for dating – blind dates are a great way to meet people. So next time your friend tries to set you up with that cutie from her class, take her up on it!

Dress to Impress
First, you must prepare. Dressing the part is a very important aspect of going to a job interview or on a date. You want to fit the atmosphere of the office or the restaurant, dressing appropriately without being too fancy or too casual. CareerSpots.com provides some basic tips for how men and women should dress for interviews, which include covering up any visible body piercings or tattoos and wearing solid, dark colors like navy, brown and black. As for your dating life, feel free to take these tips only as useful guidelines for appropriateness because we all know a little color won’t hurt anyone!

CU-Boulder sophomore Molly Reynolds noticed the similarities between dating and interviews as well. “When you go out on a date you’ve talked with the person enough to exchange numbers and feel comfortable making plans,” she said, “Chances are with an interview you’ve exchanged a few emails or phone calls as well, so with both scenarios you know what you’re getting into.”

How to Read Them Like a Book
Judging your interviewers or your dates reaction is another important part of sizing up your potential for another meeting. Start with nonverbal communication like good posture, eye contact, and a strong handshake to see how the other person responds. Communication specialists suggest that people who are interested in you will mimic your body language, so look out for that as well! Also, you will be able to tell if your interviewer or date is genuinely interested in what you’re saying if they keep digging for more information. If they accept what you say and move on, it means that they’re probably not interested, so find another way to hook them in.

Scoring the Second Date
Now that you’ve aced the first meeting, it is important to follow-up correctly. Knowing when it is appropriate to send a follow-up call, text, or email causes great anxiety, and choosing which method to use does just the same! First of all, with all interviews make sure to send a handwritten or electronic thank you to your interviewer for the time they gave you. Skip this step with a date and just say it when the night ends, so you don’t come off as too eager. In both scenarios it is best to wait several days to see if they contact you as they said they would, and then follow-up within a week if you haven’t heard anything. For college-age students it’s best to send texts to dates and emails to interviewers, so that you have time to plan out what you’re going to say and review it before sending. Be sure to use spell check and write out words completely in your emails.

Patience is a Virtue
Unfortunately the next step is tough in both the world of interviewing and the world of dating because now you wait... Hopefully the information you’ve learned from this post and the additional tips and tricks on our website will help you ace your next interview, so that the wait is worth it. And maybe they’ll even help your love life as well!