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Chris graduated from Georgia State University in 2009 with degrees in Journalism and Creative Writing. He has spent a lot of time working with the media. From engineering radio broadcast for most of Atlanta’s major sports teams to shooting high school football games behind a camera, Chris has a lot of media experience. Besides that, he loves soccer, detective shows, and a buffet list of 'nerdy' things that would embarrass his wife.

How to Succeed During the “Courtship” of an Interview

How to get a second date after your first job interview.

Image Credit: Dodgerton Skillhause/MorgueFile

With the holiday lull well behind us and the first hiring season of 2015 already in gear, many people are prepping themselves for one of the most nerve-racking situations that they hope will connect them with the job of their dreams. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been in the workforce for twenty years or just half a dozen; the first interview you have with a potential employer is often the most important. Similar to a first date, there’s no doubt that job interviews can be a scary thing. But what makes them even scarier is that even if you think you’re the most qualified “courtier” there is a chance that you may still get rejected.

Why is that? Did you show up late to the interview or did “your date” get intimidated because you were overly-qualified? Possibly. However, it may be better to look at the most consistent issue facing those seeking new jobs (and dates) and that’s competition. Most of the time, you have no idea how many people have interviewed for the position (though some sites like LinkedIn will show you how many applicants a certain job has). But the truth of the matter is that tens upon hundreds of people could have applied for the same opportunity that you did and all of them believe that they were also the “most qualified applicant” as well. So when you’re facing that sort of competition, you need to go above and beyond to avoid being just another resume.

Many people already know that their looks are something that set the tone for the first meeting. However, they often limit this thinking to “dressing for success” or “dressing for the job they want to have” and so on. But it’s not enough to have a crisply pressed suit or well manicured nails. Sometimes, it’s the confidence you have (or don’t) that is really telling to an employer whether you might be a good fit for their company. Understandably, nerves are part of the game but the last thing you want to do is look uncomfortable while you’re being asked about your qualifications. Your reactions could lead someone to think that you’re just not ready to work there. So when you’re preparing your wardrobe, also prepare yourself mentally. Research the company, find the interviewer’s LinkedIn profile or company profile; even learn more about similar positions. Try to have as little unknowns as possible to maximize your confidence.

You may also want to do some research on yourself. Check out your resume and find the action items that you think would matter most for the position. After all, while you might know that you’re exactly what he or she is looking for, it’s on you to actually demonstrate that during your “time together”. You should never have to refer to a paper copy in front of you to know your own work experience or what you did at the your previous employment.

But even after that there is still a bit of work to do before you head into an office with a potential employer and it’s all done online. With the ease of social media, it’s no wonder that more and more employers are using it as an avenue of gauging candidates. In fact, according to Forbes over 90% of employers are checking their candidates profiles for what they call “red flags”. This could be anything from drugs and sexual content to profanity or even poor spelling. No one is saying that you should instantly delete your profile before your interview or untag yourself in every picture, but you need to treat your social media profile(s) as an extension of your own image. Your date certainly will be…

Aside from getting “who you are” down, you’re also going to want to treat the interview like a test. Study and know the questions that you will likely be asked. You can find sample interview questions just about anywhere online. Don’t stay up all night to cram, instead incorporate it into the research you do about yourself. And try to think of answers that are not only true but also thought provoking to the interviewer. Some of the best moments in interviews are the ones that come from unscripted back and forth. You want your interviewer to get off topic as they’ll likely remember your answers as more than just checking a box.

Finally, you’re going to want to remember that an interview is as much about decorum as it is about anything else. Shake hands firmly, maintain eye contact as appropriate and ask about the interviewer if given the chance. You may be a casual person on a normal day, but when you’re interviewing you are going to need to do a little more to really impress. Another key thing to do is to remember something about that interviewer or the interview and include it in a “thank you” letter (or email) to the person you spoke with. Some may see this as a tad too far, but it’s just another sign to the interviewer that you “had a great time” and “perhaps want a second date” – or even a chance at something “steady”.

What’s important is that you not only stand out, but do so in a way that shows the interviewer that you are willing to go the extra mile for this “courtship”.

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  1. What to Do After Striking Out in the Job Market | The Hudsucker - March 27, 2015

    […] after all of that hard work and preparation you did for your interview, not to mention the days or weeks of waiting for a reply, you finally get an email response from […]

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