How to Date your Interviewer


I save a lot of notes on my phone;they’re usually jokes I come up with or trains of thought I don’t want to lose. I was scrolling through a few of them the other day and came across an old attempt at a cover letter. It went a little something like this…”Working for both print and digital organizations, I’ve gotten to tweet and post about thing that I love. Not to mention I’m pretty much always on the internet. I’m like the lorax, I never leave I just warn people about internet trolls and give advice.”

Yeah I know it’s pretty rough. Except for the line about being the lorax (I’m hilarious). But this is a good example of the balance I was trying (and am sometimes still trying) to achieve in my cover letters and interviews.

When I was job hunting, I was called in for a lot of interviews. And when I say a lot, it was probably over 50 in a 6 month period. I won’t say this made me good at being interviewed – if I had improved at interviewing over that time, it probably wouldn’t have taken me so long to find a job. But I did learn a lot about the dynamics of relationships as well as the odd ritual of meeting strangers for 30 minutes, telling them all your hopes, dreams, and failures, all with the knowledge and fear that they alone hold your future in their hands hanging over your head.

Mostly I think I wasn’t particularly good at interviews because they are a lot like taking an oral test, and I am not a great test taker. But interviewing is also very much like dating. It’s a test of compatibility and wit and resourcefulness. It is about something more then just being good on paper. And if you don’t perform, your future is affected–maybe not majorly, but a potential life path is now closed.

Much like dating, in pretty much all the interviews I went on, I could usually tell whether my interviewer was “into me” or not. I remember leaving one particularly fast-paced meeting for a publicity assistant position with Penguin Young Readers; when my interviewer left me at the elevator bank, I caught her eyes and the look she gave me was such that I knew immediately I wasn’t getting invited back. But along the same lines, the two interviews I had for the job I currently hold were some of the best conversations I’ve ever had, no doubt resulting in my hire.

Good interviews, like good dates, are a result of a connection, and that’s hard to make when you’re a little bit terrified during the whole process. One needs to be cool, but not too laid back, focused and determined, but not over bearing– I usually just wanted to get my words out in the correct order, let alone be fabulously funny while doing so.

This of course all stems back to my desire to be liked. I always came out of those conversations a little flummoxed, a little anxious, but ultimately hopeful. And though I had my fair share of disappointments, the only way to get what I wanted was to get back on the horse, and know that my soulmate of a job could be just around the corner.

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