Many of us worry about having quality conversation on the first date as much as we do having quality conversation while interviewing for a job. You could waste time practicing for both individually, or you could find the similarities between the two to master both simultaneously. So how are the two similar to each other?
Putting your best foot forward
Whether it’s the person you matched with on your dating app or the interviewer who expressed interest in your credentials, your goal is to sell yourself to the other person. You want to impress, but you also want to entertain. Finding a balance between confidence in your abilities and arrogance is crucial in both situations, but practice beforehand will benefit you in both, as well!
Know when too much is too much
No one wants to sit there while someone talks endlessly about how great they are or how much experience they have. Likewise, no one wants to listen to someone complain about their past employers (or friends). If the goal of a first date or job interview is to get that next call, then you need to learn how to read people to know when enough is enough. This is another essential balance to improve your skills in both settings: talking and giving away enough of yourself to be intriguing, but not too much to be perceived as boring, annoying, or unqualified.
Remember to be honest at all times
When we meet someone new, we all want to do our best to impress them. Being dishonest is not only obvious, but it can also get you into an awkward situation. It’s okay to admit past failures and mistakes, so long as you show how you improved yourself and learned from them. Of course, when meeting someone for the first time, whether it be a match or an interviewer, less is more when you’re detailing how you messed something up; you’re unlikely to get a second call if you expand on your failures. Find the balance between being completely honest without being overwhelmingly so.
Come prepared with quality questions
There comes a point in every interview when the interviewer asks, “do you have any questions for me?” This is important, because you don’t want to ask an irrelevant question just to ask something, but you also want to ask something to convey authentic interest in the company. This is relevant for first dates, too, in the chance that natural conversation dies down and you have to ask a question to keep the momentum going. Before an interview or a date, come prepared with questions that are thought-provoking and relevant; any random question thrown out of nowhere will not improve the conversation, and may even be off-putting.
Ensure you are listening actively
There will more than likely be a moment in either a job interview or first date where you will look foolish if you weren’t previously listening to what the other person was saying. So do your best to really internalize and listen to everything your interviewer or match says so that you avoid asking a dumb question and getting this as a response: “I already said that before. Weren’t you listening?” People want to be respected, and showing that you are listening and engaged will help you stand out.
Don’t worry if it doesn’t go as planned
Especially in a first date or job interview, we’d like to be able to plan the entire couple of hours out perfectly, but realistically, neither will go as well as you would like it to. You may realize that the match or the company you thought was perfect for you doesn’t actually live up to your expectations . . . and that’s OK. Even if you mess up the date or interview, it’s all about practice. Going on more of each will improve your skillset drastically, and in time you’ll forget about that awful date or that awkward interview you had a while ago.