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Interviewing and Dating: A Comparative Analysis

Dec 23, 2007
It is the evening of your blind date. You are off to a good start. You know a little about your date and your date knows a little about you. The description of your blind date seems too good to be true. From what you know, they are a perfect vision of your ideal partner.

From what you have learned, they have the right physical attributes and personal qualities. Your matchmaking friends are even more excited than you because they are convinced that you are absolutely perfect for one another. The date has been set. You can hardly wait!

As you sit nervously with your friends in the restaurant, your eyes are peeled on the entrance. As you engage in conversation, your friend announces that your date has arrived. You watch as your date walks towards your table full of smiles and hugs for your mutual friends, as well as anticipation for their introduction to YOU. So far so good. The introductions go very well. Your date is very attractive and has a great personality.

Based on your intitial eye contact, handshake and smile, your date seems to like you too. You can sense each other's nerves and are very careful about saying the wrong thing and turning each other off.

After about fifteen minutes of slightly awkward conversation mostly dominated by your friends, your date, who by the way is a nurse, says, "So, I hear you are a pharmaceutical sales representative with one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the country. That sounds so exciting. How did you get into pharmaceutical sales? You begin by talking about how you have always been interested in medicine, enjoy selling, and never saw yourself at a desk job.

You go on to explain how you joined your current employer when they launched one of the best-selling nebulizers on the market. As you humbly mention that you grew your sales territory to rank as one of the highest in the country, the waitress interrupts to take your plates and asks if you would like desert.

Wow, the conversation just flowed. You even forgot you were on a date! Your date was so interested about what you had to say, and they responded so well to the great questions you asked them about their work and family. Your date can sense you are truly interested in them. In the first half hour, you both realized you have so much in common. Deep down inside you are praying they like you as much as you like them, and hope they are not seeing anyone else. By the end of the night, it seems your date feels the same way. You both agree to a second date - this time alone!

Okay, let's rewind the tape. You are not in pharmaceutical sales yet. But, that is what you want to be. You have just graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Biochemistry with a concentration in Psychology. You have had your resume professionally developed and it is time to send it out. You scour all the job boards and classified ads and talk to everyone in your personal network. Things are looking up. In less than two weeks, you have lined up four promising interviews.

So, if everything is going so well, why are you so nervous? Is it because you are afraid you are going to fail at making a great first impression? Take a deep breath. There is a way to overcome this fear, and you hold the key. Remember that blind date? What was the hardest part? That's right, it was the anticipation! Once you got there, everything went smoothly - especially when they asked you about your (future) job.

Why did it go so well? Because it was about YOU! No one knows you better than yourself, and that is who they want to get to know better - you! They want to meet YOU! They already like you!

And therein lies the secret. The very fact that they have invited you for an interview means they have pre-qualified you for the job! Can you believe that? It is true! They are hoping that you are as good in person as you are on paper. If you are, like your blind date, they're going to pray that you'll stop interviewing with other companies and accept their offer to join their company.

So how do you gain the confidence you need to overcome your interview jitters? First, believe in yourself. Know how talented and knowledgeable you are. Remember, your resume says you are, and that is why they want to meet you. Next, do your homework. Learn about the company. Ask genuine questions to show how interested and aware you are in what their company does, why the position is available, what the position is about, and what the potential is to grow with the company.

Volunteer to tell them what you know about their company, using it as a lead-in for a question you might have or save it as a response to a question they may have. Do not fail to ask questions! Do not wait until the end and say, "No, I think you answered all my questions (that were silently in my head!). Be proactive in the interview. As long as you know who you are and know something about them, you should have no problem hitting it off.

If for some crazy reason they decide to offer the position to someone else, don't be discouraged. There are other fish in the sea. Think of it as a great experience and opportunity to practice your interviewing skills.

In summary, the interview is a meeting between two interested people. They already know about themselves. So, it's about you. They want to meet you. They want to get to know you. Just be yourself, be interesting, polite, and show your interest in them.

If it is meant to be (hey, remember, you might not like them. Did you ever think about that?), you will be invited to a second interview or will be offered the position after the first meeting.

If it were an interview, you would want to follow up to show your interest, right? It is not different when in the business world. If you are interested in the ocmpany, make sure you send a thank you letter within a day of the interview to thank them for their time, reiterate something that was discussed to remind them of what you would bring to the position and of who you are from the pool of candidates, and to express your strong interest in joining their company.
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