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How Interviewing is like a Blind Date

If you think about it, recruiters are basically matchmakers. They listen carefully to each side’s wants and desires and try to set up what are, essentially, blind dates.

Like blind dates, interviews are about getting to know one another. They’re for assessing whether or not you’re compatible. They’re for having (and steering) a conversation. And they’re for showing how much a candidate cares about the company and has the experience and expertise to excel in a role.

Let’s have a little fun and keep this analogy going. Read on to learn more about the parallels between interviews and blind dates.

Pre-event jitters

It’s not every day that you interview or go on a date, so getting nervous is normal. The key is to knock the cobwebs off, pump yourself up, and get in a little practice.

Before a blind date, you might ask your friend for context. What is this person like? What are they looking for? What are their values? Knowing a bit about the person will calm your nerves and help you brainstorm good questions.

Interviewing is no different. You want to sound excited and ready to go — not anxious and unprepared. But that’s only possible with some research.

Here’s what you can do to sound confident:

  • Quiz yourself – You know that the interviewer is going to ask questions like, “How do you deal with disgruntled end users?” or “Why are you interested in this specific opportunity?” or “Why did you leave your last company?” Prepare a cohesive, compelling answer that shows why you’d be a good fit for the role.
  • Light social media stalking – Knowing a few facts about your interviewer can help you cater the conversation. Remember: talking to someone who is technical is very different from talking to someone who isn’t.
  • Make a list of your biggest accomplishments – Pull this up during your interview so you remember to bring up the most relevant points.
  • Highlight areas of your resume – This is another way to jog your memory during an interview — it’ll draw your attention back to what you want to say.
  • Practice your elevator pitch – It must be specific, technical, and concise. Try practicing in front of a mirror or asking a friend or family member to listen and provide feedback.

Getting to know them

The pleasantries at the beginning of an interview can be awkward — just like a first date.

But it helps to think of it as a conversation rather than a long monologue. No one wants you to talk their ear off on a date or in an interview.

So, practice your active listening skills as the interviewer tells you a little about themselves and the role. Weaving what you learned into your answers will show them that you were listening and have a good understanding of the qualities they are looking for in a candidate (more on that in the next section).

You need to be curious, too. You don’t want to get to the part of the interview where you’re asked, “any questions for me?” and have nothing to say.

Jot down a list of relational questions that you genuinely want to know the answers to, like:

  • Why did you join the company? 
  • What do you like best about working there? 
  • What is the culture like?
  • How would you describe the dynamics of your team?

You can also ask some technical questions that have a personal slant, like:

  • What are you focused on in the next 3 months? 
  • What is your biggest challenge right now?

You should also be taking what I call “temperature checks.” A good way to make sure you’re on the right track is to say something like, “I’m rambling. Does what I just said make sense?” It gives the interviewer permission to move on to other questions and keeps the conversation moving.

Showing you’re a good fit

As you answer an interviewer’s questions, you want to paint yourself into the role. In this way, it’s kind of like flirting on a date.

Active listening will come in handy: Insert phrases they used or referencing problems they talked about earlier in the conversation to show that you care about the role and that you’re good at thinking on your feet.

It’s also an opportunity to show where you shine. For example, if they are struggling with the adoption of a certain tool, tell a story about a time when you spearheaded change management and explain how you got everyone to love that platform. Having a direct example of how you overcame a challenge they currently have will reinforce that you’re a great fit.

Something else interviewers (and dates!) look for is enthusiasm. When they answer your questions, ask for more information in a gentle way. Saying things like, “Oh wow, what does that mean in the context of your company’s goals?” or “Can you add a little color to that?” opens the door to more conversation and shows that you’re engaged and seeking to understand.

Making your feelings known

We’ve all been in this situation. You’re walking your date to the door, wondering what you should do next.

If you’ve had a wonderful time, the answer is: set another date! It takes courage to say you had an awesome time and want to do a repeat, but it’s the only way you know if the other person felt the same way.

You should be doing something very similar at the end of an interview. Ask if the interviewer has any other questions you can answer. Tell them how much you enjoyed the conversation and how well you think the role suits you.

End on a great note

Now that you’ve already expressed your feelings, it’s time for the hard part. Ask your interviewer: What reservations do you have about my ability to work within this position?

It’s a tough question to ask, but it’s the only way to get immediate feedback on your interview. And if they voice a concern, you have the opportunity to overcome objections right away.

If they have no reservations, they’ll likely tell you exactly what the next steps are so you can prepare for your final interview. Nailed it!

Running through these steps but still want extra support? Reach out to one of our recruiters. They’re not only excellent matchmakers, but they’re also excellent interview coaches and will help you ace your next interview.

Photo Credit: Canva

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