My son, Cameron, was preparing for a phone interview for an internship and we began talking about how job interviews are sort of like first dates.
Both scenarios compel you to try to be yourself while simultaneously striving to put your best self forward in order to impress the other person. The dance steps are not easy to master.
Regarding first impressions, comedian Chris Rock says, “The first time you meet someone and are getting acquainted you’re not actually meeting the person; you’re meeting his PR department.”
This makes a good case for not offering someone a job after just one interview and not eloping at the end of the first date.
Don’t confuse the two
I began to think of ways one should NOT cross the wires on interviewing and dating. For example, early in a dating relationship it might work for you to be a bit coy and to even play hard to get. That’s not a strategy likely to succeeds for you when you’re in the final stages of the hiring process with Goldman Sachs.
Interviewer: Well, this completes the fifth and final interview. Your resume is excellent and your references are solid. We think you’d be a great fit for Goldman Sachs and I’ve been authorized to present our salary offer and benefits package.
You: Ehhhh, I’m not really sure I want this job.
Here are some other ways you don’t want to confuse job interviews and first dates.
Interviewer: I feel good about your qualifications and experience for this position in our firm. I think we’re a good match.
You: I feel the same way. How about I slip into something more comfortable and refresh your drink.
Interviewer: You’ve had a chance to look over the job description…
You: It’s so noisy and crowded here. How about we finish this interview back at my place…
Interviewer: I’m calling to offer you the job. When do you think you can start?
You: Whoa, this is moving a little fast. I just got out of a long-term vocation.
Interviewer: The background check is really just a formality. You can count on coming to work for us on Monday next week.
You: Are you thinking this is an exclusive working relationship?
Interviewer: Excuse me?
You: I’m not ready to get tied down to just one company. I’d like to see other employers.
You: I’ll come in to work a few times and let’s just see how it goes.
Interviewer: Are you serious??!!
You: Part-time could lead to full-time, you never know. (said with a wink)
Confusing interviewing and dating can work the other way also
Your date: I’m always nervous on a first date, so I know I’ve been rambling. Please ask me something.
You: Where do you see us in 5-10 years?
Your date: I had a lot of fun tonight. Can I call you tomorrow?
You: Well, I haven’t had a chance to contact your references. Can I have the names and contact info for your ex-wives?
Your date: I’d like to see you again. In fact, I’d like to see you on a regular basis.
You: How many hours a week are we talking about?
Your date: Well, I haven’t really calculated…
You: I really want to have my weekends free.
Your date: But weekends are…
You: And let’s talk about maternity leave.
Boyfriend: We’ve been dating for over a year now and I was wondering… will you marry me?
You: Is there a signing bonus?
Boyfriend: A what??
You: And if I said yes to your proposal, what are the opportunities for advancement in this relationship?
Boyfriend: Isn’t engagement and marriage an advancement in the relationship?
You: Well, after a few years of marriage experience I’m going to expect to move up, along with a substantial raise, of course.
Boyfriend: Never mind, you’re fired.
Ramon Presson, PhD, is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Franklin (www.ramonpressontherapy.com) and the author of several books. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. To read Presson’s previous columns go to www.franklinhomepage.com/?s=ramon+presson