By Robyn Melhuish
A recent article in the Huffington Post compares the job search to dating. Julie Kantor isn’t the first person to make this analogy, but she brought up some great points to support it. But then I came across this article about how the job search is NOT like dating. The author obviously takes a different approach and makes some valid points, but I wasn’t sold. Because setting aside the cutesiness of a how-this-is-like-that blog post, I really do think drawing parallels between the two can be useful in how you approach the job search, and specifically, the interview.
Anyone who’s ever been on a first date knows how awkward conversations with strangers can be. But despite the accepted discomfort, if both people see something worth pursuing, that first date will lead to a second, and then a third or fourth before it gets serious. Then there will be countless more dates before a couple decides to make the ultimate commitment.
Obviously the analogy isn’t perfect. Accepting a job offer isn’t quite as permanent as the decision to get married, but it does involve choosing to work with people who – on some days at least – you will spend more waking hours with than you do your spouse. And yet, many times this decision is made after a couple hour-long conversations between a time-pressed manager and an eager candidate who is on their very best behavior.
That’s not to say the purpose of the interview is to trip up the candidate – it’s not. But it’s also not an all-out competition to find who has the most relevant experience for the job. It’s about getting to know each other – flaws and all – in order to make a good match.
Candidates can aid the “matchmaking” process by answering questions as thoughtfully and honestly as possible. Of course you’ll put your best face forward, but make sure it’s a true representation of who you are and not simply who you think the company wants you to be. Candidates should also come prepared with a list of questions to ask to help them determine what it would really be like to work for that company such as:
How would you describe the corporate culture?
What is your management style?
How are top performers recognized?
What would others in this role say is the biggest challenge they face?
Being this direct on a first date might not win you a second, so perhaps in this regard, the interview is not like a date. But this aside, approaching the interview like a first date can help you to stay focused on your goal. Of course you want to make a good impression, but you also want to make sure your “date” is someone you’d like to spend more time with. Because as much as you may need a job, the interview process is your opportunity to make sure this is the right job for you.Robyn Melhuish is the editor at MedReps.com, the leading website for medical device sales jobs, pharma sales jobs, and biotech sales jobs. In a competitive industry like healthcare sales, the MedReps.com career center strives to offer candidates advice that will give them the advantage they need.