How to Apply Dating Advice to Your Job Search (and Vice Versa!)
First dates can often feel like job interviews, which makes sense since they're both about finding a great match. And both can be a struggle until you find the "one." "People can go into the job interview process, and these days the dating process too with the online dating apps, and it can become a laborious, not fun process," says Camille Virginia, author of The Offline Dating Method, who crossed over from the corporate world as an employee engagement consultant to the dating world as an offline dating expert. So how do you get past the swipe or a LinkedIn convo and go deeper to see if this person is someone you want in your life for the long run, whether that's a new boss or a new bae? Here are tips for getting both.
Take a chance. "Even if you don't have all the qualifications or you're not feeling confident about applying, or maybe you think someone is out of your league, just go for it," says Virginia. Most people don't really know what they're looking for (in a partner or job) until they see it/you. Hiring managers are looking for a great personality fit as much as they are looking to check off a job description, same goes for people looking for their perfect someone. The idea of "perfect" is overrated and unrealistic. If you connect that's all that matters so why not make the first move?
Don't just talk about yourself. OK, now you're in the room, what next? Try to make a connection as opposed to leading with your qualifications or talking only about yourself. "Ask questions that you authentically care about. So often we get into a job interview or get on a date and we ask the same questions and it's so boring," says Virginia. Here are a few ice breakers she suggests:
What's your favorite part about working here?
What's your favorite part about your job?
How would you describe the culture at the office here?
How would you describe how you were raised or how you came to this city?
What's been your biggest lesson you've learned at the company?
What's been the biggest or one of the biggest lessons you've learned in life?
Have fun with it too. The more fun you have asking the question the more fun they're going to be to answer. "You're going to be instantly memorable because they didn't get asked the same question they've been asked 20 times before on dates or in interviews," says Virginia.
Listen. Turn off your phone in both situations and give the person your full attention, letting the conversation unfold naturally. "When you can give someone your full attention, even just for 30 seconds or a couple of minutes, no matter what interaction is going on there, potential date, potential job interview, then you're going to make them feel good," she says.
Wear something you feel confident in. Give them a taste of your personality in what you wear, even if it's just a pop of color or pattern. "It could be something personal like vintage jewelry that means something to you, something that other people can comment on or they'll remember about you and makes you feel like you aren't just wearing the generic pants suit," says Virginia. Wearing something that stands out is a great way to break the ice in a job interview and be remembered once you leave the room or restaurant.
Get offline. You're going to double your chances, if not triple or quadruple them if you network offline, says Virginia. And you're probably going to enjoy the process a lot more. "With dating and offline dating it's really just about interacting by creating micro moments with people as you go about your day and seeing who you connect with." Places to meet offline? Virginia scored a boyfriend and a job on a plane (different flights, of course). "In terms of dating offline, this happens everywhere you go. It's at the grocery store. It's walking down the street. It's the dog park. It's the post office, bank. Wherever you are, there is the opportunity to date offline."
At networking events, go with that confidence piece again to stand out from the crowd. A hiring manager who may have "swiped" over your resume may be so impressed with you in person that they may make the next move, ahem, and ask you to come in for an interview.
Go in with an open mind. Many couples would say they ended up with someone they never expected. You can never predict who you'll spark with and same goes for a job you might end up loving because the people are awesome. "Don't mold other people or jobs or interviewers into what you want. Look at who they are as they're showing up. Go into the interview or the date warm," says Virginia. By going in with an open mind, you'll probably have a better time too, even if it's not an ultimate match. "We remember emotions, not things that we read that are logical. We tend to go with our gut even if we're not qualified 100% for a job." Or not what we expected in a future love.
Look around you and be open to who presents themselves—you got this!
Theresa Gonzalez is a content creator based in San Francisco and the author of Sunday Sews. She's a lover of all things design and spends most of her days momming her little one Matilda.
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