4 Of The Best Tips For Interviewing Success (That Double As Great Dating Advice)

Photo: getty
The 4 Best Tips On How To Prepare For An Interview (That Double As Dating Advice)

You might not think finding love and looking for a job have a lot in common, but some of the most effective interview tips double as great dating advice.

The behaviors, choices, and communication are surprisingly similar and, more importantly, mostly in your hands. Instead of trying to convince someone to hire or like you, there are better ways to create a good match.

Though using interview tips for dating may sound sterile, they are simply ways to see and hear another person more clearly, as well to help others appreciate you more fully.

To do that effectively, your job is to be authentic rather than "sell" yourself. This way, an organization will choose to hire you or the guy will become interested in you for your true self ─ a long-term benefit to ensure accurate expectations and strengthen your own confidence.

RELATED: How To Shine At An Interview (Even When You're Super Nervous!)

So whether you want to land the job or meet a romantic partner, here are 4 interview tips that also make sound dating advice.

1. Expose your best self.

Open up about yourself using good judgment. That means answering questions in frank, focused ways, as well as asking some that will help you figure out if the connection with your potential employer or date is a good match.

Start your inquiry with "what" or "how." Or, for something a little risky, try "I wonder…"

In a work interview, if you haven’t already determined this, ask the question, "What do you think are the most important skills for this work?"

The response will help you focus your answers to the interviewer’s questions and tell short stories of your past experience that showcase these skills. This will also help you prepare for behavioral interviewing that poses questions about how you handled particular situations.

On a first date, you can step out a bit more with, "I wonder what you value in another person."

Asking this question exposes values, which may save you time figuring out if you're compatible and like to do or know the same things. In contrast, typical explorations about similar likes and activities don’t show what’s under that surface or what’s truly important about the other person.  

Demonstrating your confidence in communication and self-presentation will show you’re self-assured. That demonstrates a powerful characteristic potential work. It also contributes to your sex appeal for dating.

Since a big chunk of the message you send comes non-verbally, pay attention to your tone of voice, direct (yet warm) eye contact that avoids boring a hole into someone with an unremitting gaze and relaxed, calm body language. Use that awareness to read others accurately as well.

Smiling when appropriate will not only release your own endorphins and stress, but it also adds a pleasant lilt to your voice. (Give it a try!) What you say and how you say it adds to your charm, as well as credibility. But don't force a smile if it isn't genuine because people will notice that.

2. Tune into your emotions.

Despite what may sometimes amount to endless analysis about jobs and dates, emotions can often tell you the bottom line for action. They show what you really want, providing direction and making good choices when it comes to job opportunities and potential matches.

Positive emotions, such as delight and enjoyment, tell you that a good match is possible. Negative emotions such as anxiety, fear, or discomfort are warning signs to consider further, whether you’re interviewing for work or considering a relationship.

If you find yourself making a choice merely because the other person seems to want you, beware as well. It’s in your interest to take the "inter" in interviewing seriously. That emphasizes the importance of mutuality and being together in something.

Test and express your emotions by bringing them up in any situation. You could say, "I feel enthusiastic or engaged by..." Alternatively, register concern by mentioning, "I feel uncomfortable about…" Or, show doubt, "I hesitate about …. because…"

RELATED: How To Figure Out What You Want In A Relationship (So You Can Attract The Right Guy)

3. Do your homework.

Find out, within reason, as much as possible about the person you are meeting — whether an interviewer or possible date.

For the interviewing situation, also become familiar with the employment context online and through any connections you have and make. The same sources could be used to learn about a possible date.

By the same token, avoid coming to any rigid conclusions about the position or person until you have a chance to test assumptions in person. Otherwise, your prejudices may infiltrate your own self-presentation, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Though first impressions are important, stay open for additional information to avoid lazy labeling that does not do justice to the complexity of others.

4. Connect through empathy.

Putting yourself in another person’s shoes may make you feel somewhat vulnerable — as if you’re possibly losing focus on your own needs. But it’s an investment that helps foster trust in relationships.

(For a superb prescription for building trust and empathy, listen to this 15-minute TED Talk with Frances Frei of the Harvard Business School.)

Whether you're talking to an interviewer or your date, encourage a deeper connection by paraphrasing or summarizing what they've said to confirm your understanding. Use accurate descriptive language about their emotions to show you get how they're feeling, in addition to what they're saying.

In an interview, you might mention something positive or interesting about the interviewer or commiserate about the challenges of seeing an endless parade of people who are hungry for jobs (with a rueful smile possibly).

On a date, it’s even more important to start building the trust that’s a foundation for a healthy relationship. If you’re not willing to take that time and risk, why should the other person? And if you see your date has no interest in mutual understanding, that tells you soon enough that it's time to look into alternatives.

These interview tips — that double as effective dating advice — can help you avoid detours in both aspects of your life.

Before you make your investment in either, though, take a few minutes to define your goal or specifically what you’d like to accomplish. That will help focus your experience and contribute to a better result.

RELATED: Use These 10 Job Interview Tips To Impress Your New Date

Ruth Schimel, PhD is a career and life management consultant and author of "Choose Courage: Step Into the Life You Want" and related handbooks, who writes widely about personal and professional development. Ruth consults with individual and organizational clients in the Washington DC area or by phone and email, encouraging them to access their own courage for fulfilling their dreams as they prepare for the future of work.

YourTango may earn an affiliate commission if you buy something through links featured in this article.