First date or job interview: These 10 hints let you succeed

Dating-experience as a professional success driver

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In the life of every high school and university graduate eventually comes the moment of the first job interview. Already days before nervousness sets in, your palms are wet when you think of the appointment. For years, you have been sitting on hard benches in school and/or university to create the conditions to finally get this invitation. You hoped for the day to come, but now you lie awake at night with so many questions buzzing through your head, making sleep impossible:

How do I make a good first impression? What should I wear? What should I say? What embarrassments should I avoid? How can I succeed in a way that my first appointment here is not the last one?

Do these thoughts sound vaguely familiar to you – but related to a different topic? At the job interview, you'll meet someone with whom you may spend a lot of time in the future. You have met and now want to find out if you fit together. If you can grow, succeed and also have fun together. – If you think about it, isn’t this situation similar to a first date with the partner of your dreams? The interesting thing is: The situation of the first date actually has much in common with a first interview. Even if your interview partner will also use formal criteria to decide whether you meet the requirements of the company, a positive decision is never taken without a fit on the personal level.

Now, you want to optimize your personal impression. But how? In the interview you should consider exactly the same ten points, which you would focus on, if a date is really important to you:

1. Prepare properly
Think about the aims and the background of your interview partners. They meet with you because they want to find the best possible candidate for an important role. How can you give them the confidence that you're just this candidate?

2. Present yourself for the occasion
The first impression may not be the deciding factor on that day, but you have no second chance to make a first impression. Dress to the occasion and consider the expectations of the interview partners. If you are convinced that you will impress with your personal skills, there is no reason to go too high a risk by showing up in ripped jeans.

3. Be open but also show your determination
At the beginning of the interview both sides will want to get to know the other better. Talk of you, be open and honest, showing humor if it fits, but do not get into inconsequential chat, which only takes time away from the real topics. Show that you respect the time of your interview partner and help him/her to understand you and see your assets.

4. Impress but remain likeable
Act with self-confidence. Here and there you may incorporate stories about your successes. But do not overdo it and stress also how you can act as a team player. Very few people like arrogance. A likeable guy who achieves successes together with others will have a better chance than a show-off who overemphasizes his own contributions.

5. You are more capable than you think
Not showing-off is important. However, nobody is attracted to a candidate without skills, successes and self-confidence. It may be a thin line, but it is okay, when you talk objectively about strong results that you delivered, when you know and articulate your strengths. And rest assured: There were great moments in your life that are worth talking about: Think of the people you've helped and inspired, the results you achieved. Which skills helped you to succeed in the past? Which strengths see others in you all?

6. Paint a beautiful future
This conversation is a first step to a hopefully positive future. Help your interview partners to find out that the future will be special, if they choose you. What benefits will they have if they hire you? Which skills do you already possess? Which areas inspire you so much that you could learn them quickly? Make them think: Yes, I want this candidate and no one else!

7. Communicate, rather than just talking
As always in a good conversation, it's not just what you say, but also how you listen and interact with your conversation partner. By holding eye contact, reacting authentically and an open posture you can show that you are not just interested in yourself. Ask questions. With good questions related to the background of the company you can show that you did your homework and at the same time gain helpful information for yourself.

8. Form an opinion
Even if it feels like it: The goal of the conversation is not only that you leave a good impression. This interview is not a one-way street. Try to find out as much as you possibly can in order to form an opinion about your potential employer. Do not be pushy, but ask questions on topics that are important to you. At the end there are two people who have to make their decision, and you should be prepared for yours.

9. Show yourself the way you are
A decision, which is made on false information, can be a good decision only by chance. Do not play a role and state your opinion on topics that you care about. You will not be able to hide your true self for long, so it does not make much sense to do this at all. Show your positive sides, but only if they are for real. Do not be afraid of trick questions - people usually do not expect the right answer, but want to understand your thinking process.

10. Make your decision
If there is an offer for you: Congratulations. Now you have to decide if you want a common future. Go ahead with the assumption that your interview partners represented the true spirit of their company. Did you enjoy the day? Be aware that important things that you did not like today will hardly improve later. For your decision, the head is important, but you should also listen to your stomach and let your heart have the final call – as you would do in a true date!

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