Courting a Career

What do you call it when you dress carefully to look your best, ensure you have fresh, minty breath, make an effort to be right on time, and remember to think before you speak? 

Did you think ‘date’ or ‘interview’ first?  Might depend on what you’ve done more of in the last decade or so…. Me, I have been on way more interviews than dates of late (I don’t think married Date Nights count unless you shaved your legs). 

My new job search has me in the midst of a flurry of interview activity.  So called ‘Informationals’, initial conversations with HR and Firsts with Recruiting, then it’s the Hiring Manager and a round with his peer on the east coast, next is the VP of Something and a go-back somewhere else.  My dance card/calendar is as full as fresh meat on Match.com.

If you think about it, there are startling similarities between a date and an interview.  Before the arranged time, you feel something between anticipation and anxiety.  During, you will try to remember to both make eye contact and suck in your tummy.   Ideally, there would be the rare perfect balance of liking and being liked.  And then afterward of course, there’s the loaded question of ‘next steps’.

There is also a bit of a blarney factor in both, too.  Maybe it’s just wording something to sound a tad bit better than it is in reality.  Here’s an example:  “I did not complete my Master’s Degree,” (or ever start it, for that matter) “because I was so eager to get real life job experience.”  Meanwhile, I just read that almost 40% of women lie about their age on a first date. That surprised me.  Sounds like too big a commitment.  But certainly I’ve downplayed certain tendencies I’m not wildly proud of.  For instance, I pretend I don’t drink wine all the time.   And I do this in both during courtship and the interview process. 

The similarities continue the day after.  I had a big one (interview, that is) so naturally I was doing the rehash on I the phone with my bestie bright and early the next morning.  We carefully reviewed everything the guy said and did and evaluated my every move in response:  ‘What do you think he meant by that?’  ‘Is that a good sign?’  And the dreaded ‘Oh God, I can’t believe I said that; do you think I offended him?’  Cringe.  Any of that remind you of the day after the big date? 

Interviewing is most like a blind date, I suppose.  You’ve talked to the guy on the phone of course, and stalked him on LinkedIn, but you don’t really know about your chemistry until you meet in person.  There is just a feeling of rightness that tells you to keep pursuing this opportunity.  So we continue along in both processes, moving forward and allowing ourselves to become more hopeful as we progress.  The more time invested, the bigger the stakes.  Will this just be practice?  Or could this be The One? 

And what is a date really, but a job interview that lasts all night?  The only difference is that in not many job interviews is there a chance you’ll wind up naked at the end of it.  

Unless I’m doing it wrong.

Cheers!

Gretchen