VOL. 132 | NO. 256 | Wednesday, December 27, 2017
If Interviewing Were Dating
Interviewing for a job is a nerve-wracking process. When else do we want others to judge us? We spend so much time preparing – finding the perfect clothes, organizing our resume and sneaking out of our job. We ask for recommendations from our old bosses.
Not only are we judged during the interview process, but if we’re rejected, the company doesn’t even owe us any explanation. And very often, they don’t give any additional information about why we weren’t picked.
That leaves our brain to wonder what happened. We spent so many hours preparing. Where did we go wrong? Did the hiring manager not like us? Did we fail a test? Were they looking for someone with more experience or a better education? Trying to sort through these possibilities is stressful. It can take days and have no answer.
In reality, it’s possible we weren’t selected for reasons that had little to do with us. Really, this can happen. For example, the hiring manager may have already had a candidate preselected. Or perhaps the job has been put on hold and nobody was hired. Rarely will the company fess up to these details.
But an equally important (but less considered) question is: What did you think about the company? Did you feel that you were a good fit with the hiring manager? Are you excited about the job? Do you want to work for the company?
Think of interviewing a little more like dating, and a little less like taking a test. Sure, you’re not looking for someone to marry, but you are looking for people you’ll spend a considerable amount of time with. You may even see them more than your spouse.
We would never go on a first date hoping the person might marry us – without knowing much about them. Then, why would we ever approach a job interview this way?
If you already have a bad job, why would you want to potentially find another bad job? The best job is always one where there’s a mutual match. The company likes you, and you like the company.
So, rather than spend all of your time worrying about whether the company likes you, shift your focus to whether you like them. Decide if you really do want to spend more than eight hours a day with these folks.
And if you do get rejected, don’t assume it’s the end of the line. The company probably doesn’t really dislike you. Maybe the timing wasn’t right. Or perhaps they see you in a slightly different role than the one that was available when you applied.
In fact, because they have met you and know you now, they may be even more likely to talk to you again when a future opportunity rolls around. Keep your eyes open for other jobs that may be a better fit. But if you are called back in, be sure to find out if the company is a good fit for you.
Angela Copeland, a career coach and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at copelandcoaching.com.