In talking with friends about job/internship interviews, the number one thing people mention is the nerves.
It makes sense: you’re trying to remember everything you can about the company, to fit your best experiences into the interviewer’s questions and you’re sitting uncomfortably to disguise the stain on your shirt from the coffee you spilled in Cool Beans pre-interview.
It’s a lot to think about, but I think the trick to interviewing well is to take a step back and remember this secret:
If you can flirt, you can interview.
Flirting is all about letting the other person know you’re interested, while appearing interesting yourself. You’re trying to persuade them that you would be a great match without jumping over the table and screaming “CHOOSE MEEEEEEEE!” (Note: desperation does not read well in either professional or social settings.)
Bottom line: you want to let the other party know that you think they got it goin’ on, while letting them know that you got it goin’ on too.
Interviewing is the same thing.
Obviously, your tone, language, content and attire should be different in both situations. Batting your eyelashes, talking about your favorite “That’s What She Said” joke and wearing your latest Forever 21 minidress may work on any given Thursday at Overtime Tap, but a professional suit and knowledge of the industry are going to get you a lot further in the board room.
That being said, you do want to let your personality show through in an interview. You don’t want to come off as buttoned up as your suit; you want to show that you’re a real, interesting, likable person who is not only a great candidate, but would make a great coworker. Most often recruiters want to hire people that they want to work with.
So how can you translate your flirting skills into interview ones? Some general pointers:
- Smile and look the interviewer in the eye. Simple. Effective.
- Take your time. If you need a minute to think about a question, simply say “That’s a good question. Let me think about it for a moment.” There’s no harm in pausing. It’s better to collect your thoughts than to end up rambling for 10 minutes about something off topic. (Ever have this happen to you on a date? It’s uncomfortable.)
- Dress up. Again, you get ready for a night out; do same thing for an interview. Just make sure to leave anything you’d wear to the bars stays at home. Tips for guys and girls work-appropriate dress here.
- Humor (when appropriate) is good. You have to read the situation with this one; if your interviewer seems welcoming, adding a lighthearted story about your crazy commute at your previous internship (for example) adds another layer of depth to your application. People like people who make them laugh.
- Pretend you’re Kanye West. Fake confidence until you feel it. Tap into your inner Kanye for inspiration to be your most confident self. Note that there is a fine line between confident and cocky. Yes you are a great candidate; no you are not God’s gift to accounting/marketing/nonprofits. Remember, likability is important too!
- Ask questions. Everyone likes to talk about themselves. Prepare some questions to ask ahead of time so you’re not at a loss for when the interviewer turns questioning over to you.
- Follow up. If you like someone, you’d text or call after to say you enjoyed talking with them, right? Same thing goes with interviews. Send a thank you note or email within 24 hours of the interview and mention something specific you talked about to personalize it further.
Follow these tips and gain confidence to nail that interview! Who knows, you may work up the courage to finally ask out the hottie in your Sociology class as well!
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Want to put these tips to work before the big interview? Schedule a mock interview with Career Planning.