I am sure most of you will have seen or heard of Channel 4's 'First Dates' which sees budding singletons turn up for blind dates, in the hopes of finding a meaningful connection and lasting love. What many of you possibly don't realise, is the similarities between a first date situation and a job interview! The two are very similar in terms of how you are expected to behave and conduct yourself, so we have grabbed some of 'First Dates' most valuable lessons to give our job-seekers a few little nuggets of interview advice. We would like to extend a thank you to the following date's for the mistakes they made...
1. Don't jump the gun
It can be expressly straightforward in an interview situation to get carried away. If you are lucky enough to be offered a position at an interview, don't panic and deliver a rapid yes. Take some time to negotiate yourself a decent package post-offer. You want to the create the illusion of 'in demand' not the illusion of desperado, as Jamie kindly demonstrates below...
2. Don't forget your interviewer's name
This is highly awkward and there is absolutely no excuse to forget your interviewer's name. Prior to every interview attended, you should conduct as much research as humanly possible on the business and you should have stalked your interviewer on LinkedIn at least once. Educating yourself on the interviewer gives you the opportunity to discover common ground, which could work in your favour. We've all forgotten names in social situations and we all know that it restricts our contentment levels significantly. Using one's name induces a familiarity that you might be unable to achieve otherwise. You can't say "well Gary the way that I implemented that campaign was..", you'd have to say "well.....urrr, errr, arh" and then pause for ages. Awkward.
3. Blagging it can pay off
Who doesn't love that feeling when you've divulged a load of legitimately intelligent stuff, with no palpable idea of where you've conjured it from? Interviews can actually be a great time for self-discovery and an incredible confidence boost (if you don't have a total nightmare obviously!). You are more knowledgeable about your industry than you believe and your job is probably more impressive than you think. It pays to blag it a bit!
4. Choose your words wisely
Everyone can get lost in the heat of the moment and say things that they deeply regret through lack of thought. Especially when nerves are involved. The best advice 'First Dates' can contribute, is to select your words wisely and THINK before you SPEAK. Jargon that is perfectly acceptable within your industry circles might have a completely different connotation in others...
5. Punctuality is imperative
It's one thing if you show up late for a date. It's an ENTIRELY different ballgame when you turn up late for an interview. Arriving late can impact your chances of scoring the role immensely. Employers take precious time out of their schedules to conduct interviews. They only tend to meet the very best candidates. If they get the impression that you're wasting their time, they will likely hold it against you throughout the process...that is if you are even awarded a process after your punctuality mishap.
6. Don't show up drunk
Seems like an obvious one but a lot of initial meetings are often held in bars and restaurants, particularly in the city. It is advisable that you:
A: Don't turn up completely blathered
B: Don't get drunk during the interview
If your interviewer opts for an alcoholic beverage, the safest thing to do is to go for something soft. Don't risk it. Interviews can be fairly intense situations, especially if you're someone who gets nervous. Will all that additional adrenaline you could find yourself reacting much quicker than your usual Friday in the pub!
7. Don't bring framed photo memorabilia of yourself...
...and for the love of LIFE please don't proceed to describe that photo as being your 'James Bond look'! Potentially the worst thing you can do. In any situation. In your entire lifetime.
Attaching a photo to your CV falls under the same painful category. Some employers don't mind it, but the general consensus with photos on CV's tends to be to leave it off. Quite frankly, it's moderately weird and in the interests of equality and all that, you might be doing yourself an injustice if you include it (no offence).
8. Venture out of your comfort zone
An interview situation is generally out of one's comfort zone. It's important to break free and go with the flow. If your interviewer challenges you, don't freak out about it. Take it on! If you are challenged in an interview, the interviewer is usually judging how you cope with it rather than the results. You don't really have anything to lose either. At the end of the day, if an interview goes badly it isn't the end of the world. It obviously wasn't the right opportunity.
9. Take it on the chin and move on
Purdey has this one down to a tee! What is the point in wasting your time thinking "why didn't they like me?" and worrying about an unsuccessful interview? You aren't going to score every job you go for (unless you're exceptionally lucky!). Every business is looking for entirely different skill sets, culture fits and attitudes. Always ask for feedback, as this can be constructive and help you in future interviews, but don't worry yourself further. If anything, it's a lucky escape! You want an offer from a business whose culture fits you perfectly.
10. Pre-plan your outfit
It is highly important to dress appropriately for your interview. You need to be comfortable and professional combined, so planning is key. If you are going on a lot of interviews, purchase an interview outfit! It is imperative that you don't dress offensively, and it is widely accepted that interview dress is business-like. Even if you're going to visit a creative agency who are notorious for their casual dress code, unless they pre-warn you that you may wear jeans to your interview, don't do it. Take inspiration from Laura, and buy shoes that fit.