A date and a job interview both require making good first impressions and establishing a solid relationship.
This article was originally published on Inc.com.
Use your social experience to prepare for your next professional opportunity. Here’s how to use your dating expertise to ace your next job interview.
Dress for Success
Just as you carefully choose the right outfit before meeting someone special, make sure that every detail of your appearance is impeccable. Choose an outfit that is appropriate for the occasion. When you look good you feel good, so use your wardrobe choices to give an extra boost of self-confidence.
Arrive on Time or a Few Minutes Early
Showing up to a job interview 5 minutes early allows you to compose yourself and pay attention to last minute details. Use this time to take a breath, check your teeth and rehearse what you want to say before you meet.
Be on Your Best Behavior
Don’t just turn on the charm when you are trying to impress the hiring manager. Allow them to see the real you, so it doesn’t feel like a “bait and switch” when you get the job. If you are spotted speeding through the parking lot or being rude to the receptionist, rest assured, it will get back to the interviewer.
You want to make a connection with the other person and show that you are a friendly, personable and capable individual who is pleasant to be around. A warm greeting, good eye contact, a firm handshake and an engaging smile all contribute to painting the right picture. Also, focus on good posture and body language during the interview.
Be Ready for Conversation
Just as you would be ready to learn about a prospective dating partner, go in with an open, curious mind where you not only answer the interviewer’s questions but ask your own to learn all you can about the company. It’s your job to be interesting so do some research in advance to be ready with a few talking points.
Talk About What You’re Looking For
First dates are all about scouting out the potential for a long-term relationship. It’s the same with a job interview. Be clear about your professional goals and how the position aligns with your vision, while also explaining the qualities you can bring to the company. Ask questions and consider the interview an opportunity to see if you are both the right “fit.”
Polish Your Dining Skills
Just as you don’t want to turn off a potential dating partner with bad table manners, your goal is to create a favorable impression on your potential employer when meeting over a meal. Make sure your table manners are up to par. Your interviewer will be watching to see how you will represent the company when dining with clients.
Socially or professionally, it’s hard to be around a complainer or a negative person. Focus on your strengths and accomplishments and don’t complain about your previous boss or unfair job responsibilities. When discussing your past career, emphasize the skills you learned and how your input was an asset to your last employer.
Don’t Try Too Hard
Sometimes we want things to go well so badly that we overreach, perhaps talking too much about ourselves or even embellishing the truth. Desperation is a turn-off, so take a deep breath and relax.
Pay Attention to Chemistry
You are meeting to explore whether you have a future together. Your goal is to make a good impression and to take in the subtle (and not-so-subtle) clues you are receiving about what it would be like to work side by side. While you may not report directly to the hiring manager, your discussion should give you a sense of the corporate culture and other information that may help you determine if there is a possibility of a second interview or a job commitment.
After a good first date, when you hope to see more of the other person, you tell them how much you enjoyed meeting them and then stay in touch. As a job seeker, convey your enthusiasm in writing. Send an email the same day as the interview and follow-up with a hand-written thank you note sent by mail as soon as possible.
For more of Diane’s etiquette tips, you may enjoy Dining Etiquette for the Entrepreneur. Read her posts on Inc., subscribe to her articles on HuffPost, “like” The Protocol School of Texas on Facebook, and follow her on Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter. Buy her new book, Modern Etiquette for a Better Life.