Just like the job search process, dating can be
a long dreary slog through a hellscape of unending frustration and disappointment tough. Finding the right one takes work, patience, and a high threshold for rejection. Fortunately, almost everything you know about dating can be applied to your next job search.
1. Applying online isn’t your best bet. Sure, there are thousands of jobs posted online. But there are also thousands of job seekers just like you vying for the posters’ attention. No matter how scrubbed up and attractive you look, or how much you match what they’re looking for, you might not catch a hiring manager’s eye. Networking is always your best bet for finding the right fit. Still, you should definitely…
2. Work on your online presentation. Applying online might be a black hole of crippling rejection, but you can’t neglect it. A networking connection who might able to set you up with an interview will need to pass along your LinkedIn profile, along with anything else that might be pertinent. So just as you wouldn’t post that photo your friend took at Burning Man (you know the one) on your OkCupid profile, you shouldn’t put an inappropriate photo on LinkedIn either – even though far, far too many people do. Likewise, you should write a profile statement that conveys your value and makes you seem interesting to a prospective employer. And for all that’s good and holy, proofread the damn thing at least once.
3. Dress like you mean it. How many times did you change outfits before you last first date? Exactly. You should put at least that much thought into your attire for your next job interview. The same rules apply to both: dress appropriately for the occasion and the venue. Your clubbing skirt or favorite trucker hat should stay at home. Actually, if you still wear trucker hats, you should probably take a long, hard look at your life.
4. Do your research before the first meeting. We’re not saying you should stalk (OK, maybe a little), but a small amount of research can make things much easier. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can tell you a lot about your impending date. LinkedIn, company pages and a cursory Google search can do the same for a job interview. In addition to talking points, you’ll either find something that interests you or makes you want to run the other way. Red flags include constant leadership changes, massive recent layoffs, and a passion for competitive vaping (this exists).
5. Be on time. If you’re going to be late, call and let them know. At least send a text. I mean, come on.
6. Don’t change who you are to meet someone else’s needs. She loves The Bachelor. She cries while watching it. She has long, involved conversations about it with her friends. She really wants you to like The Bachelor, too. Do you knuckle under and pretend that don’t you think The Bachelor is a nail in the coffin of a dying civilization? Of course not. If a hiring manager springs something on you in an interview that you’re not OK with, you shouldn’t pretend to be fine with that, either. Doing so will only lead to burnout and resentment. Be who you are.
7. If they say all their exes are crazy, run. If your date can rattle off a list of freaks, weirdos, nutjobs, and psychos from their past, that’s a bad sign. Likewise, if the hiring manager tells you that all of your predecessors “didn’t work out”, that’s a sign of a deeper problem with either the company or the hiring manager (or both). Maybe they keep hiring losers. Maybe they’re just fickle. Maybe your predecessors jumped ship as soon as they could. High turnover in the position you’re applying for is a red flag. Ask for the check as soon as possible.
8. Be prepared for the reality to differ from the sales pitch. “He’s really successful. Owns his own business and everything. And he’s really funny!” In reality, he sells World of Warcraft items on the internet from the dank recesses of his mom’s basement. His idea of humor is quoting tired Reddit memes. You’ve been there. You’ve probably also been in an interview where the hiring manager described a job that sounded completely different than the one you thought you were applying for. This happens more than you’d think. Wait out the interview politely, then hit the bar. You wouldn’t take that job for all the money in the world, but still…
9. Follow up afterward. A follow-up email after an interview can go a long way toward sealing the deal. And like dating, be cordial, complimentary, and thank them for their time. But don’t be creepy, needy, or overly eager. A post-interview follow up email should be sent the following day. Resist the temptation to send it from the elevator on the way out. And yes, you should still follow up, even if the job was wrong for you or the interviewer was a toolbox. You never know what other openings they may have down the road or who they might know.
10. There are plenty of fish in the sea. Cliché? Absolutely. But that doesn’t make it any less true. Even if you’re suffering a six-month dry spell, don’t take the first gig that comes along. It’ll only keep you from finding the right role. It might take a while, and it might require you to do some work on yourself, but patience pays off.