Tag Archives: dating

10 Tips on Interviewing: Jobs and… Otherwise

Interviewing

We’ve all been there. You’re palms are sweaty and you have that anxious feeling in the pit of your stomach. You’ve rehearsed what you’re going to say over and over, but who knows what questions they may ask to throw you off. This is a great opportunity, and you think you are a qualified candidate… who knows what other candidates are in line though? You look nice. You keep repeating reassurances to yourself. Finally it’s your opportunity, and you introduce yourself. Everything that happens from here on out is vitally important…

I’m talking of course about picking up girls.

Actually, I’m talking about the interview process in general. Interviewing for a job is a well-known process; but meeting someone for the first time that you may have an interest in… that’s an interview too. No matter how much you may prepare, in the heat of the moment it can all go out the window, leaving you to rely on nothing but instinct. Interviewing for a job and trying to pick up someone you’ve just met are two things with more in common than Siegfried and Roy.

Think about it:

  • You are getting to know someone for the first time and trying to make a good impression.
  • There is a lot of small talk that doesn’t seem relevant… but it really is.
  • At least once you will consciously wonder what your breath smells like.
  • You are trying to convince the other party that you are indeed a worthy candidate.
  • Going in, you don’t know if you are worthy yet (at least according to their standards).
  • Your main goal from the first meeting is a follow up call.
  • Both can either result in a huge victory or huge defeat – rarely a middle ground
  • And inevitably you will have to pee right in the middle.

Having said all this, I am no expert in either field. But they say that the only way to learn is to fail, and I have enough experience failing in both these areas that I should consider myself an expert. I also have a couple successes; therefore, with all my journeys through the labyrinth that is the interview process – and I’m talking about both situations here – I have learned a lot.

I know there are hundreds of blogs giving tips about interviewing and probably hundreds more about picking up dates. Let’s combine them. First, from here on out, “interview” will be taken to mean both jobs and picking up girls. Second, I apologize for taking a biased, male-sided approach to this… I’ve only ever been a guy.

So after much thought – and many utterances from others of, “I’ve decided to go with someone else” – I have developed 10 tips that can help anyone score a call back.

1.    Confidence is Sexy

Everyone says it, and it’s true! Conveying confidence is the single sexiest thing to a potential suitor. Confidence conveys that you know what you are doing (whether you do or not).

This can be done by dressing sharply, shaking hands firmly, carrying yourself with good posture and speaking up. Next time you are in a social situation, observe someone you think is confident. Examine how he composes himself, and look at how much attention he gets. That’s exactly what you want.

An important thing to remember is that confidence is entirely in your mind. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi:

“A man but is the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.”

So when you dwell on all the negative things that can go wrong… something will probably go wrong. At the very least, you will make yourself nervous. A good technique to dealing with this is the following tip::

2.    What’s the Worst that Can Happen?

This is a good question to ask yourself right before you start perspiring vehemently through your newly-dry-cleaned shirt. What is the worst that can happen? Answer: they say “no.” And it’s not the end of the world. This is an attitude I love adopting for a lot of things, because it relieves stress. Going in with a more cavalier attitude prevents you from psyching yourself out, getting too nervous or constantly worrying about whether or not you’re doing OK. Subsequently, your confidence will rise, your entire demeanor will be more positive and you will end up performing a lot better.

On the other hand, taking this too far and acting as though you are not taking things seriously is the biggest turnoff possible. So learn to utilize the “what’s the worst that could happen” strategy to help yourself, but careful not to accidentally portray that frankly my dear, you don’t give a damn.

 3.    Show Your Value

This is all about finding a way to brag about yourself without bragging about yourself. Now, I cannot by any means claim to be an expert in this one (though not for a lack of trying), but obviously the other party will want to hear what you bring to the table right off the bat.

In the book The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature by Matt Ridley, the author states:

“Poise, self-assurance, optimism, efficiency, perseverance, courage, decisiveness, intelligence, ambition – these are the things that cause men to rise to the top of their professions. And not coincidentally, these are the things women find attractive.

Demonstrating your value could be as easy as portraying confidence, or could involve a little more. Likely you will have to specify how you and your skill set coincides with the interviewers’ needs. This means paying attention and doing as much research beforehand as possible.

 4.    Find a Wingman

Walking up to someone and generating a relationship out of thin air is tough. Of course, first there must be an open position, so make sure of that right away. You hate to get the old “Sorry, I’m just not interested at this time.” That’s why having someone else introduce you is always easier.

Initiating conversation is the most difficult part. It can be quite awkward, and frequently lead to nothing. So get an “in.” Call in a favor, develop a relationship with someone who knows someone who knows someone and rely on mutual friends. You are just one of many, and trying to gain credibility by yourself is damn near impossible. Having someone else who has a little more credibility (or less to lose) talk you up allows you to stand out. It also prevents you from being too forward, seeming overeager, or – depending on how bad you are at it – creepy.

5.    Eye Contact is Key

Eye contact displays confidence, conveys interest and shows that you are paying attention. But here’s the secret: actually pay attention! Look straight into the other party’s eyes and actively listen to what he or she says so that when it’s your turn to talk you don’t ramble on about something idiotic and off subject. For more on this, I recommend reading up on active listening.

6.    Find Something in Common

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important in any interview process. Have you ever had a conversation with someone with whom you have nothing in common? After about five minutes you start looking for the nearest sharp object.

Compatibility is important. And sometimes you are compatible; but you just have separate lives together and apart (this is still a double entendre, stay with me). But studies show that people are way happier surrounded by others with whom they can be social and professional (for the sake of argument we’ll call a relationship “professional.”) So look for things in common, because if you don’t have anything and still end up getting that call back… you may be headed for a nasty break up.

Which brings me to my next point:

7.    Not Everyone Will be a Perfect Fit

A lot of this game starts with quantity vs. quality. You give your credentials to anyone who seems attractive and hope one or two reply. Or maybe you have tunnel vision and only have a couple potentials on the radar. Either way, you need to get to know the other party before you know what your relationship will be like. That’s why there are several rounds of interviews! (Pause while I high five myself for coming up with that one.)

But hey, everything’s worth a shot. And if the fit isn’t right, so be it. Maybe the next one that comes around will be. It’s better than taking home a “4.”

8.    Practice Makes Perfect

Unless you’re Beethoven and know how to write symphonies as soon as you pop out of the womb, this is true for just about everything. The more you interview, the better you get at it. You learn what to expect, you have a gauge on what to work on, and you end up being a lot more comfortable in interview situations.

So practice. Enter into an interview you don’t even want, or grab a friend and do a mock run. Trust me, friends are harder on you than strangers (mostly). Then when you get turned down (and you will) think about what you did right and wrong and then change it for the next time.

9.    Speak with Intention

If you ramble when you get nervous… stop. This is where the practice comes in. You have very little time to make an impression, and when you are put on the line, the smallest mistake or departure from your train of thought could potentially ruin the whole thing (no pressure).

You know how women remember the smallest things you say and interpret them however they want, even when you don’t remember saying them? Treat every interview – on both sides of the spectrum – like that! Everything you say could be important, so think before you talk. If you need to take a second and gather your thoughts, do it.

(Side note: this theory tends to go to hell if you are drunk at a bar. I’m not saying don’t get drunk at bars, just be mindful of the effects.)

10. Learn to Close

Unfortunately, I can’t double entendre this one so easily. In both scenarios this is equally as important, but done in very different ways. In the job search scene, this is easier than the dating scene; however, if your interview went well, it should be an easy transition.

When flirting, it’s getting the number. I have a pretty simple rule about this one: if you think it went well enough, just go for it. I can’t begin to develop a theory around this – that’s a whole other blog post – but after all, what’s the worst that could happen?

For job interviews, it usually ends with them asking, “Any other questions?” Your answer is and has to be “yes.” They have put the ball in your court and this is where you shine. I don’t have the time or space to write out a list of suggested questions, but I will tell you to plan several out beforehand. Many times they will answer a few of them just by telling you about the job. Make sure you have more.

The follow up is also important. Hand written notes are great ideas (I assume this would work for a pickup as well… trying it may be pretty corny but if you want to, more power to you). Some of these make or break getting a call back.

If anyone can think of any other tips, tricks or suggestions for this post, feel free to comment. Remember, what’s the worst that can happen? We’ve ALL been there. Just be confident, prepare, and remember to wear deodorant.

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