• Love At First Sight?
  • By :Matthew Kirdahy

    One will make you money. One could break your budget. Yet, they are to be approached almost identically--most of the time.

    The job interviewing process and the dating game are so analogous that professional career coaches compare the two as if they both involve a resume and rosé.Hardly. But the similarities are striking.

    Carole Martin, an author and professional interview coach who has taught at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, centers much of her tutelage on the notion of job interviews being like first dates.Martin has preached about revealing too much personal information at a first meeting.

    "Unbutton one button at a time "Martin said in an interview with Forbes.com. "Don't rip open your whole shirt." That particular interview axiom resonates more with her male students than female, she mused.One of her general rules: "Leave your modesty at the door and bring your heart into the interview. Be your authentic self. When we try to be people we're not, we don't do well.Who would've thought such motherly advice would carry through adulthood?

    Martin explained that the job candidate or the suitor on a date aren't the only ones who need guidance in these situations. She tells interviewers, who essentially play the power role in the interview equation, not to make snap judgments about a job candidate. So what if the knot in his tie is slightly off-center, so her heels are tacky--shake hands and hear what they have to say before discounting them.

    Ann Baehr, a professional resume writer and president of Best Resumes of New York, expands on this interview-dating parallel on CollegeRecruiter.com. To allay some of the fears and anxieties associated with both, Baehr looks at it this way: "The very fact that they have invited you in for an interview means they have pre-qualified you for the job."

    That's one way of thinking to prevent your palms from getting sweaty. And for the first several minutes, everything goes smoothly. Then for whatever reason, you hit a fork in the road. Neither the job nor your date seem like the right fit. Perhaps you're not as qualified as you thought. Perhaps you realize that the person on the other side of the table isn't who you thought they were.

    In that case, Baehr says, over-compensate in other areas for this deficit. Sell, sell, sell yourself so "they [the interviewer] feel you're not such a risk if they bring you in.

    Then again, you could be the one who isn't interested. If you let the interview continue, it's a waste of time for both parties. If the date goes on, you might catch yourself spending more money than you think he or she is worth.Looking at your watch, shaking your leg, mind drifting, get out now?

    That's a matter of style, Martin said. But if you're in a tolerable situation, it's best to let the interview or date run its course and make contact later via e-mail expressing your disinterest. Alternatively, you can choose to end the encounter, make your excuses and leave. At least you'll have the satisfaction of knowing it was your decision.

    Of course, everything could go right as rain. If so, walk away with your head high. Expect to leave with pride and hope for a call back. But forget about getting the job on the spot.

    "I've never gotten a marriage proposal after a first date," Martin said. "You're not going to get a job offer right after a job interview. It's a process."

    If it doesn't work out, there are plenty of suitable vacant jobs and an innumerable sea of single people looking for "the one."

    Author Jillian Straus broaches this topic in her book Unhooked Generation: The Truth About Why We're Still Single. Basically, she says, if you're not happy with the status quo, just move along, based solely on the fact there are tons of opportunities out there.

    "We have more choices than the generation that came before us," Straus said. "There are many options out there, especially with the Internet. We may not want to commit to one person because of the multiple choices. It's sort of a 'why suffer?' mentality."

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