After more than two decades in the Executive Search
business, I have learned a lot about what goes into a
successful hire. I try to impart my knowledge to both hiring
managers and candidates. Nevertheless, at many job
interviews I find myself listening to questions that make me
cringe and answers that make me want to cry.
Now it's my turn to talk.

Monday, August 29, 2011

We’re Talkin’ Romance

A job interview is a lot like a first date (minus alcoholic beverages and potential kiss).  Both may cause sweaty palms and rapid heart rate.  Both begin with an exchange of pleasantries that quickly evolves into a revealing conversation.  Both involve making quick judgments. And both end with a decision either to pursue a relationship or to cut one’s losses.

With this in mind, consider the following dating/interviewing tips from one who participates in job interviews regularly and has not dated in 31 years but remembers.

·       Look good.  Do not show up for date/interview looking as though your clothing should have been a part of yesterday’s laundry or your shoes part of yesterday’s garbage pick-up.  An outstanding first impression may balance out a subsequent mistake.
·       Be on your best behavior.  If you swear, don’t.  If you slurp coffee, don’t.  If you interrupt, don’t.  If you tell crude jokes, don’t. Be sure to say thanks.
·       Be cheerful and energetic.  No one wants a second date or a second interview with a drag-me-downer.
·       Exude confidence.  Even if you haven’t had a job interview (or date) in a year, act like the person everyone wants to know.  An aura of desperation will precede you into a room like bad perfume.
·       Appear to be low-maintenance.  Problems with former boyfriends/girlfriends/ bosses/co-workers should be avoided in conversation as much as is possible.  Emotional displays are not recommended.  (Permission to laugh or smile if something funny is said.)
·       Be honest.  There is no point building a relationship/career on a foundation of lies.
·       Have a 2-way conversation.  Do not monopolize; do not sit quietly while the other person does all the talking.
·       Speak positively about yourself.  A little self-deprecation may be a part of who you are, but save the stories about your high school bouts with the law for the seventeenth date or a happy hour with your new co-workers.
·       Be cautious. Make sure that you are gathering, as well as providing information.  If your date has had three spouses or your interviewer has filled the same position three times in as many years, don’t head blindly into a relationship.
·       If you like him/her/the job, say so.  Give your date/interviewer some confidence that you are interested in and/or enthusiastic about pursuing a relationship.
·       Save negative feedback for later.  All is fair in love, but Don’t be cruel.
·       If your date ends with a kiss, all is well.  If your interview ends with a kiss, something has gone very, very wrong.

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