Don’t worry, we’re not about to launch a new dating service. But it occurred to us that there are a number of parallels and that the analogy provides a nice opportunity to make some serious points, in a light hearted context.
1. There needs to be an attraction
Whilst it’s not all about the looks (see point 4), when you start dating someone, there needs to be an initial attraction. It’s the same with job hunting; your CV and your background need to be attractive to the potential employer. Likewise, their reputation, product/service/client list needs to be attractive to you as somewhere you’d like to work.
2. Chemistry is vital
Think about it - the anticipation of the first date, nerves, excitement; emotions a lot of us also get prior to an interview. During the date, you normally know quickly whether there’s chemistry and the relationship has potential.
Guess what? It’s exactly the same during an interview – you need chemistry with your potential employer, so it’s important to find some common ground. Your natural charm will of course be put to good use here, but awareness, listening and observation all play their part. For example, are there photos on the wall, awards on the desk, magazines on the table that you can ask them about? You have a small window of opportunity to impress so it’s important to show them you’re worthy of a second date (interview).
3. It’s okay to be picky
Consider the stereotypical online dating site – you’re asked to select your ideal partner and fill in multiple checklists covering everything from height, weight, political views, ethnicity, personality, interests and so on. Tick too many and you may find yourself overwhelmed with options, many of which in reality aren’t suited. Tick too few and you may find yourself waiting a long time for Mr/Miss Perfect.
It’s the same with job searching – it’s okay to map out what you’re looking for in your next role. Make sure you find the right balance of being too selective and too open – that way you won’t waste anyone’s time, including your own.
4. Looks aren’t everything
Just because you’re attracted to their model looks, success and popularity, it doesn’t necessarily make them the right match for you.
When we’re speaking with candidates, the same applies to their job search. It’s important we take time to find out their aspirations, motivations, what culture they work best in and so on. Many people are attracted (often blinded) by the opportunity to join a global market leader, only to find they’re actually better suited to a more boutique or niche company where they have a wider remit, or that the role they’ve taken to ‘get a foot in the door’ just isn’t right, and worst of all, isn’t going to go anywhere.
5. Leave them wanting more
So the first date has gone amazingly and you’re keen to see your new beau again. You want to make sure they feel the same way right? Think of employers in the same way and you might just put yourself ahead of the competition.
It could be a simple thank-you email post interview (you can always ask your recruiter to pass this on), it could be a LinkedIn request: ‘enjoyed our meeting, regardless of the outcome it would be great to connect’, it could be a reference from a colleague/client exuding your brilliance, or it could simply be a link to an interesting article you think they’d find interesting (based on what you’ve learned about them during the interview – remember the earlier point about chemistry?).
As with previous points, it’s important to get the balance right. A courteous, appropriate follow up soon after the interview will set the right tone, but leave it in their court to respond and don’t start pestering them for a response – it’ll undo all your good work.