It’s February 14th and you’re surrounded by paper mâché hearts, bouquets of red roses, and boxes of mouth-water chocolates. Most years, you find the décor cringe-worthy, but this Valentine’s Day, you’ve been struck by Cupid’s arrow and have a date - so you reluctantly succumb to the cutesy teddy bears and candy sweethearts asking you to ‘be mine.’ During your romantic dinner date, the person you’ve had your sights set on hands you a small box with a vibrantly-red bow tied on top. Upon opening the box, you discover that your date has gifted you with the job of your dreams!
Ok, I realize that’s wildly unrealistic, but can’t a girl dream a little? Regardless of your feelings towards the holiday, there is a clear correlation between the rules of dating and the job interview process. Similar to going on a date, when you show up for an interview, you want to dress to impress, deliver a great first impression, and successfully sell yourself to the other party. While your interviewer certainly won’t be giving you any heart-shaped goodies or flowers, they are capable of gifting you with an attractive job offer.
Here are 3 ways Valentine’s Day provides some noteworthy guidance on Interviewing for a new job.
Put Together a Killer Ensemble
Your unicorn onesie may be velvety-soft, cozy, and perfect for making a bold first impression, but it’s definitely not the way to present yourself to a hiring manager. Dressing for success – whether that means a suit, skirt, or button-down shirt – is the best way to make an initial statement about how invested you are in your potential employer. In a similar fashion, you wouldn’t show up to fancy restaurant for Valentine’s Day sporting ripped jeans and a dirty, sweat-stained t-shirt. Your attire should always be appropriate and consistent with the occasion at hand. Pick out your outfit the night before your big day to remove any clothing-related stress that may ensue if you wait until the last minute. When in doubt, remind yourself that it’s smarter to be over-dressed rather than feel mortified when you discover you’re extremely under-dressed.
A Little Pre-Meeting Prep Goes a Long Way
From reserving a seat at a trendy restaurant to planning an unforgettable night out with that special someone, being successful in your romantic pursuits requires you to do some planning in advance. You won’t woo your date on Valentine’s Day if the first two restaurants you visit are fully booked with no available tables. A similar level of prep work is required for nailing your job interview.
Before arriving for your interview, take time to conduct thorough research on the employer – learning as much as possible about the company’s products/services, their competitors, industry trends, the interviewer, and any recent news or noteworthy announcements. Additionally, be sure to study the job description for the role you’re interviewing for so you can connect your work experience to the specific needs of the role and mirror the company’s language. Gaining an in-depth understanding of the company’s values, needs, and challenges will demonstrate your commitment to your potential employer and help you build rapport with the interviewer.
Craving more advice on how to prepare for an upcoming interview? Check out our 6 Tips for Soothing Your Pre-Interview Jitters.
The Three Day Rule
Everyone has heard of this outdated rule, otherwise known as ‘wait three days before contacting your date to avoid appearing desperate or needy.’ If you had an amazing time on Valentine’s Day and don’t want that special someone losing interest, then it’s important to give them a ring or shoot them a quick text to express your desire to see them again. After your interview, you should show the hiring manager the same courtesy. Sending a short thank you note that’s tailored to the conversation you shared with your interviewer (and shows your appreciation) will keep your candidacy top of mind.
If you don’t want to be just another casual fling, then set yourself up for success by incorporating the above advice into each and every interview. Putting in the extra work will communicate your sincere interest in the opportunity you’re vying for and show you're not afraid of commitment!