Applying and Interviewing, Not Far Off from Dating

Two men shaking hands with only a view of the hands and forearms.

I am excited to be writing for the American Printing House for the Blind. If you don’t know me, I’m Joe Strechay and I love to share my insights about employment, life, and pop culture from my perspective as a professional who is blind. I recently watched Too Hot to Handle on Netflix (for mature audiences and plenty of shock value), and I was thinking about the employment process. I realized there are a lot of similarities between the employment process and dating. 

First Step: Imagining the possibilities 

Consider dating, in the beginning, you might meet someone and start imagining that person as a perspective romantic interest. As you are thinking about the potential for romance you realize you might like to ask that person out. This is similar to the world of employment when you’re researching a business or thinking about applying for a job. When you run across a job opening, and you recognize some of your own skills or traits in that position, you might start thinking that this job is a realistic pursuit. You may be right, or you may be wrong; but you figure “I’ve got nothing to lose” and submit your application. 

Second Step: Making a good first impression 

Back to our dating analogy: When you are interested in someone, you want show yourself in the best light. This is where you see a perspective romantic interest, you consider asking them out, and find yourself fixing your hair as you work the courage up to ask the person out (even if that’s virtually with a swipe right). Again, the job search process is similar to dating in that, you want to present yourself so that the person considering you for an interview is able to see that you have the required skills and abilities: that you meet their standards. Let’s say the stars align and there seems to be a match up!  You get to move on to the “date” or interview. 

Third Step: Dating, just another interview 

Dating and interviews are very similar, as initial dates are really about getting to know each other. In both instances you and the other person, whether a date or hiring manage, are asking yourselves the exact same questions: Is this a person who meets your needs; and do you want to spend more time together? In job interviews, the employer is trying to gage whether how well your skills and experiences fit the posted position and how well your personality, temperament, and goals align with their organization. Evaluating “personality fit” makes a lot of sense because we spend more time with the people we work with everyday than our partners or family. Well, at least time we spend awake. 

Fourth Step: It’s about the right “fit” 

When it comes making a connection, whether with a potential partner or a hiring manager; there’s someone for everyone.  Personally, I always look for competent people who are also nice. I believe in hiring “good” people. In addition to how well candidates’ skills and experiences align with the job posting; in an actual job interview I’m looking for people who can communicate to me that they are reliable, thoughtful, kind, honest, funny, enthusiastic about the job, willing to learn, and supportive of others. Provided these candidates have the requisite skills and experiences, I realize I can train them on the job itself. Keep in mind that a job interview is more about helping a hiring manager see you as a “good fit” with the company and less about repeating all you’re the skills and experiences you listed on your resume or in your application.  Generally, employers realize that even if a person comes to them from a similar job at another business, they will still have to train the new hire on the specifics of the job. What they can’t train you on is how well your goals, values, and personality match with the organization and team. 

Final Step: Sealing the deal 

Congratulations! You ripped it up in the first interview! Now you might be asked to come back for a second or third interview, but you don’t typically know that until they call or email you. You think back over the interview, and you feel that you were on your game, But you have some lingering questions.  Were you clear about your interest in and fitness for the position?  You really won’t know until you hear back. It reminds me of unlocking your door at the end of the evening, sitting on your sofa, and reflecting back on how your date went. In both cases, you have the decision to make. You can play it cool and wait to be pursued, or you can work up the courage to text and tell your date that you enjoyed the evening and hope that you can get together again. Again, the dating analogy works with our job search. After an interview, you can wait to be called, or you can send a follow-up message to human resources or the hiring manager. In that email, you want to thank people for their time and be clear why you think you are a good fit for the job.  Make sure you clearly communicate that you are interested in the job: Enthusiasm makes a difference. Just like in dating, that follow-up won’t guarantee anything, but a follow-up message offers a lot of benefits: it shows gratitude, good manners, and is your opportunity to communicate that you are sincerely interested in taking the conversation further. 

If you are looking for more career and employment tips, check out the APH Connect Center today.