Posted by Robert Half on 11 April 2016
Treat your job interview like a first date and chances are you’ll make the right impression.
It’s hard to argue that attending a job interview can bring out the nerves in much the same way as a first date. You want to make a good impression straight away, and if you handle things well, a hiring company may like what they see and invite you back to see if a more lasting relationship could work for everyone.
But just like dating, there are plenty of ‘what ifs' to consider.
Like what if you buckle under pressure during the job interview? Or what if the other party has already found someone they prefer?
The thing is, job interviews, like dates, can actually be very positive experiences. The key is for both parties to be a good match. The only way for you to know this is to do some groundwork long before you head into the job interview.
Check out our nine job interview tips to make the relationship last.
1. Make a great first impression
As the saying goes, you only get one chance at a first impression, and the first few moments of a job interview are crucial. Consider your body language. Make a conscious effort to smile, maintain eye contact (that’s super important) and offer a firm handshake. Any signs of awkwardness at this stage can put you on the back foot. Be confident. Be positive.
2. Share common ground
During your job interview you may be asked to mention something about yourself. Use this part of the job interview to calm down and ease your way in before moving onto the specifics of the role. It’ a bit like finding common ground on a first date.
3. Think professional - not party
Golden rule – dress to impress. Any first encounter be it a job interview or first date, commands that you be taken seriously. And dressing well is the best way to achieve this. It will give you confidence in yourself and inspire others to have confidence in you.
4. Show you’ve done some background research
Just like a first date, it pays to dig up a little background information on the company you’re thinking about working for. Showing you’re acquainted with the organisation's business, its products or services, market and key competitors can stand you in good stead when you’re asked common interview questions.
5. Know your market value
You wouldn’t sell yourself short on a first date, so a key job interview tip is to know your market value. Across Asia’s tight labour markets, quality candidates typically have a clear idea of their market value in terms of salary and broader remuneration. The top professionals are often driving discussions on remuneration, and we are seeing candidates take up new roles for salary increments of as little as 5 per cent. Knowing what you’re worth in the job market lets you negotiate the right salary.
6. Be engaging
Impress with a few anecdotes about your achievements. Having all the skills and experience in the world won’t help if you’re not prepared to share it with a prospective employer. If you’ve nailed big achievements don’t be shy about sharing them.
7. Ask the right questions
Lasting partnerships hinge on a natural, two-way conversation flow. The same applies to a job interview. Listen to what the interviewer is saying so that you can ask appropriate questions. It’s a guaranteed conversation starter on a first date and a great way to facilitate further discussion in a job interview.
8. Show your gratitude
At the end of a job interview (or date), thank the other person for a great time. It’s a compliment that may offer an added incentive to see you again. In a job interview, it doesn’t hurt to follow up with an email thanking the interviewer for their time and consideration or to clarify any points of uncertainty.
9. Be authentic
In other words be true to yourself. It’s impossible to keep up an act for long. So be honest, be open and let the other party make their own judgement based on what they see.