real life

11 ways job interviews are like first dates (and how to nail them both).

It makes sense when you think about it…

Getting ready for a job interview recently, I stood in my underwear with my hands on my hips, looking at my wardrobe.

I’d put stockings and lipstick on; all I needed was a dress that made me look professional, credible, talented, kind, and highly qualified.

Running out the door in an outfit that did nothing of the sort, something occurred to me: ‘Why am I behaving like this? Where am I going, a first date?’ And then a second thing: ‘Well, I guess it could potentially be just as awkward.’

Trying to impress a prospective employer is, weirdly, a lot like meeting some guy or girl for a drink. Technically speaking, there should be a far lower chance of making out, but it’s still all about first impressions and composure.

I couldn’t help myself – here are 11 ways your next job interview is exactly like a blind date.

1. You Google-stalk the person you’re about to meet before you leave the house.

Well yeah, obviously. You may not be an actual real human person if you don’t. Besides, this is a much better use of your Facebook super-sleuth skills than that time (Saturday) you went real deep down a social media rabbit hole and ended up on your ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend’s cousin’s hot friend’s holiday photos from 2007.

2. You have a long, tense conversation with yourself about whether you need to wear high heels.

Ah, you’ve entered the dress code appropriateness matrix. Simply weigh up in your mind how much you believe your choice of shoe will affect your future against how judgmentally corporate (or short) you think the other person may be. When in doubt, ask your mother – and never wear thongs. Otherwise, just walk with confidence in whatever shoe-envelopes you chose and focus on more important things.

3. You turn up with every intention to put forward the best version of yourself.

Good. Terrific. This is a really great start. But you’re about to go into unfamiliar territory and meet a near stranger, so it’s possible that you will forget your own name. Pick three strong, brief points you want to make about yourself and concentrate on getting those ones NAILED. Everything else is a bonus.

4. You become uncomfortably hyper-aware of what your lipstick shade says about you.

Oh, don’t waste time and possible happiness on thoughts like that. Move on, you look lovely.

5. You have a drink or five to calm your nerves.

KIDDING. This one only applies to the first date. OR DOES IT? No, really, it does. Don’t drink and interview. Unless you’re in New York, and you have one of those late-night, over-cocktails interviews I’ve heard about, but even then I’m 96% sure it’s a trap.


6. You focus so much on impressing someone else that you forget to work out if you like them.

Job interviews and dates are two-way auditions. Of course you want to leave the best-possible impression, but you’ve got to be in it for you, too. Forget yourself for a moment, and interrogate the other person. It’s a damn impressive move professionally (it shows confidence), and it definitely ups your chance of leaving that room knowing what you want.

7. You almost miss the chance to answer a question beautifully because you’re daydreaming.

What are you doing? Daydream on the bus ride home. Right now, you’ve got an Important Life Thing to pursue. Snap back to the moment you’re in and do that thing where you listen to a person and respond. You can find out whether they get cookies delivered to the office later.

8. You get that weird thing where you’re speaking, and you can definitely hear your voice saying things out loud and feel your mouth moving but time has lost all meaning and you can’t work out if you’ve been talking for 30 seconds or 10 minutes and now you’re thinking about that instead of what you’re actually saying and you start wondering if you’re still talking and if you are, how are you even doing that?

Relax. In most cases, you’ve only floated weirdly in timelessness for the equivalent of an earth minute or two. Just casually zone back into what you’re saying because it’s probably brilliant and you don’t wanna miss out.

9. You wonder if this whole thing would have been Sliding Doors level different if you’d worn that other dress.

Nah. Probs not. Just wear the other dress on your second date, or your second-round interview. It’s what Gwyneth Paltrow and John Hannah would have wanted.

10. You survive the supreme awkwardness of saying goodbye.

Do you shake hands? How sweaty are your palms? Did they just look at their watch? Is this over? Are we standing up now? What if I miss when I go in for the handshake? What if it went really well, is it acceptable to go in for a hug? What if it went really well right until the moment you hugged them? Christ, I don’t know, you’re on your own here.

11. You can’t remember a single detail about what just happened.

Yeah, that’s adrenalin for you. Don’t worry, if it was really bad, maybe it’ll turn up on YouTube.

What’s you sure-fire tip for surviving job interviews?

Want more? Try these:

The 7 reasons you’re not going anywhere in your career.

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