Why You Should Treat Your Interview Like a First Date

Interviewing and dating are one in the same: both are enjoyable and terrifying in equal measure, both are filled with nerves, possibilities and ‘what ifs’ and, most importantly for graduate job seekers, both require a particular kind of etiquette.

Here are 8 interview lessons you can learn from the world of dating:

1. Don't bad mouth your ex.

Talking about failed relationships is a well known faux pas in the world of dating. Likewise in the interview room, don’t ever speak ill of your past employer or manager!

Why? Three reasons:

● It will bring in to question your ability to work with others. Even if your manager was the devil incarnate - how can your interviewer know that it wasn't in fact you who was at fault?

● It will make your interviewer think that it’s in your nature to bad mouth those in authority over you. As your interviewer may well be your future manager - this isn't something they’ll be looking for!

● It implies you feel you know better than your previous manager, and no one likes an arrogant so and so!

2. Be keen, but not desperate. 

I know we only met last week, and I don’t want to seem too keen, but I think you might be the one..’

If you come across as desperate it will look as though other employers don’t want you and this leaves your interviewer asking why. What is it about you that others don’t like?

Be confident and even if you are desperate for the job, don’t show it. Talk about why you want the position, rather than why you need it.

3. Know what you're looking for in a partner. 

Believe it or not, interviewing is a two way street. Yes, you are there to be assessed but you are also there to do some assessing of your own.

​Can you see yourself working there? Would you fit into the office culture? Would you want to work with your interviewer? Will you get to use the skills you want to?

4. Don’t talk about others you are interested in, or who are interested in you.

‘Last week I went on a date with this girl and she was AMAZING.’

‘Erm..OK..that’s nice.’

Whether on a date or in an interview, the person sitting opposite you will not want to know that they have competition!

As far as an employer is concerned they want to know that you are passionate about working for them and for only them! 

5. Show off your best points.

'Then there was the night I ate an entire cheesecake...'

On a date, you might want to keep schtum about your penchant for solo midnight feasts - or whatever it is that takes your fancy! Likewise in an interview.

For instance, if you’re asked about why you didn't achieve the degree grade you wanted or why you didn't hit a certain target in an internship, always focus on what you learnt from the experience and what you’ll know for your next challenge, rather than the fact that you didn't succeed.

6. Don’t pretend to be something you’re not.

‘You love fishing? Oh my goodness, I LOVE fishing! What are the chances, eh?!’

You don’t love fishing. You've been fishing once and you can honestly say that it was the most boring 4 hours of your life.

As in the dating domain, within an interview you should try to avoid those little white lies. It’s tricky to be 100% ‘scouts honour’ truthful when under the gaze of a prospective employer, but if you're caught fibbing you probably won’t get the job anyway, so best to be upfront and honest.

7. Ask questions…

‘Did I tell you about the time I went to Turkey in 2007? Boy, have I got some stories about that holiday!’

This classic dating advice rings just as true for interviews - be interested in what the other person is saying and ask questions! But keep them professional of course.

8. … the right questions! 

‘So how long were you with your last boyfriend? What happened there then?'

As in the world of dating, there are certain questions you should and shouldn't ask.

‘What will be salary be?’ , ‘How much holiday would I be entitled to?’ or ‘When could I expect my first promotion?’ are classic ones to leave OUT of the interview room.

So, there you have it - 8 reasons your interview will be like a first date. Better get some practice in! (Interviews that is, not dates, although sure go ahead with that too). 

Interview tips: 

How To Answer Killer Interview Questions: Part 1
5 Questions You Should Ask The Interviewer
How To Answer Classic Interview Questions


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