What is worse, an important date or promising interview?
How dating and the job hunt are pretty much the same.
By: Jeremy Divinity
“I’ll text you later…
We will follow up with you at the end of the week…”
“You were great but…
We think you’d be a great fit but…”
“The timing just isn’t right…
We apologize but we have to push back our hiring date….”
If you’re either single or searching for the next career opportunity, the phrases mentioned above may seem all too familiar. It’s rough out here, it’s frustrating, and it can be overwhelming. Trust me, I’ve been navigating both treacherous worlds at the same time. The search for romance and a new job yields the same thrill.
What’s worse, an important date or promising interview?
The two are interchangeable. In each situation, you are putting yourself in situations where you face the possibility of rejection. Consistently putting yourself in energy draining situations voluntarily to be accepted. Not only by our potential date or interviewer but by our peers and family, society.
Whether you are going on an important date or preparing for a promising interviewing, they both are an act of vulnerability. You are exposing your best self, and sometimes, truest self, to complete strangers, only to face the likelihood of rejection.
Each new date or interview has the potential to be the ‘one’. Since the stakes are so high, we go through necessary steps to put ourselves in the best positions of acceptance. This ranges from contemplating what to wear to figuring out your opening lines, along with many other calculated actions.
The anxiety is real.
There are four parallel steps in dating and interviewing. In an ideal scenario, the steps may go something like this:
Step 1. Prospecting: You update your LinkedIn (resume/cover letter) or complete your dating profile, and choose your platform of choice.
Step 2. The Date/Interview: You go to the interview or go on the date.
Step 3. Follow Up/ After The Date / Interview: You follow up for a second interview or try to set up a second date.
Step 4. Commitment or Rejection: You land the perfect job or a new exclusive relationship, with the possibility of rejection.
If these steps are recognizable to you, it is inconceivable not to notice how many similarities there are. I point out some of the situational commonalities between dating and interviewing below:
Step 1. Prospecting
In the modern dating world, along with the job hunt, the most common way to find your next date or interview is through online platforms. Your choice of platform can vary, or you say f” it and go all in.
There are too many dating applications, websites, and services that we can account for. The selected application of your choice is a strategic decision and depends on the type of person or relationship that you are looking for.
Everything has to be perfect to represent our best image of ourselves, from the photos that we choose to what we say. The opening line of your potential date can either make or break you. Like how the cover letter can grab the interviewers attention, or they ignore your application because you didn’t submit one. I’d say that’s comparable to sending a hey or hello.
If you want to go against the grain, you toss out the dating app and try to meet your future date IRL (but, the proceeding steps are still the same).
The job hunt is a numbers game. A correlation occurs between the number of applications that you send and how many interviews you get.
If your portfolio isn’t up to date and presentable then you’re doing yourself a disservice. So you either update your LinkedIn profile, or create a new one, and refresh your resume & cover letter.
Like dating applications, there may be many platforms and websites that you can choose from to find job openings. Some of the websites that I recommend include Glassdoor, ZipRecruiter, AngelList, and Indeed. There’s opportunity out there on the right website of your choice.
When you’ve exhausted all your online applications, you may try another route by going through a recruiter or the old fashion way of networking.
Step 2. The Date / Interview
The only thing worse than a first date is the first interview. In each case, you only have 60 or 90 minutes to make your best impression to build a connection and check if you’re compatible.
The days leading up to the date can be anxious and filled with nerves. What if scenarios arise while you play the date out in your head.
There is only a limited amount of time to impress so we go through every action to present our best selves. To do so, you get your hair cut or done, and dress to impress. During the date, rehearsed lines may occur or you see yourself repeating the same stories.
The first date is an opportunity to check if you and your date are compatible. The best way to do so is to find common ground and build a connection through good rapport.
Your future employer may schedule a phone interview first before they invite you for an in-person. The phone interview acts as a screener. It is the equal to the texting back and forth that occurs before the actual date.
The in-person interview, like the first date, can be overwhelming and exciting at the same time. With high stakes involved, we take necessary precautions so that we set ourselves up for success.
First impressions are everything and what you wear to an interview can show your level of interest for the position. To assure that you look your best, before the interview you get a new suit or dress, you get your hair cut or you do your hair.
Step 3. Follow Up / After the Date or Interview
Excitement, anticipation, and uncertainty follow the days after a great date or interview. This is a period where you start to visualize ourselves with this person or in the future role as you prepare for the call, text, or email back.
You are excited to see your date again. The chemistry was crazy and you could feel what seemed like an emotional connection. What could go wrong?
After the date, we calculate when we should send the text that indicates you enjoyed spending the date and would like to see that person again. Do you send it immediately after the date ends? Or not to seem needy, do you give it a 24 hour grace period before pushing the send button?
Then as time passes, you may realize that you’ve been ghosted on. If you’re not familiar with what ‘ghosting’ is, it is when you never hear from that person ever again. There is no goodbye, or see you later, it’s poof.
But, if you get ghosted, don’t take it personally. It happens, but would you want to be with that person anyway?
The interview went well, or so you hope. During the drive home, you contemplate and rewind the interview in your head. You begin to think about and see yourself in the new position. How could they not hire you? You’re the perfect candidate, of course.
The thank you email is like the text after the date. The purpose of the email is to state to the employer that you enjoyed the interview and your interest in the company. Once you get home from the interview, you google the appropriate thank you email format and the appropriate time to send it. Do you send it that same day or the day after?
There are two routes that you go down after an interview. The first route is the interviewer calls you back with an update on their hiring process and if they would like to hire you. The second route, which is comparable to being ghosted, is that the company doesn’t give you any update at all on their hiring process.
…but would you want to work for that type of company anyway?
Step 4. Rejection / Commitment
The odds are high that will face rejection when dating or interviewing. Not once or twice, but over and over again. The prospect of rejection becomes a part of your everyday life. Yet, each moment of rejection is a precedence to either a better opportunity or future commitment.
When dating, rejection can be demoralizing and frustrating. Yet over time, through gained confidence, you to set up your own boundaries and recognize your worth. Which can change your perspective and the way we deal with rejection. It is the other person’s loss, it was never meant to be in the first place. Take each rejection as a lesson to learn from.
On the other opposite end of the spectrum is commitment. You and your date have a bond, you like this person and they like you too, enough to agree to an exclusive relationship. The exclusive stage is a signal that you want to invest all your time and energy into this one person.
“We think you’re a great fit, but not the right person for this position” or “we decided to move forward with another candidate” are some of the common phrases of rejection when interviewing.
No matter dating or interviewing, rejection feels the same. It is demoralizing and frustrating. You prepared your best for the interview, but all your energy, just to be rejected. Over and over again. But yet, it is imperative that we embrace vulnerability in the face of rejection. Through each experience is an opportunity to recalibrate, reflect, and grow.
You face rejection so many times until you finally land your dream job. The prospecting, interviewing, and rejection finally pays off. And from the employers perspective, out of all the people that they have interviewed, they liked you the best.