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If you were startled by the title, don’t worry! We’re not promoting any illicit job search strategies. But some of the same behaviors used by successful flirts are also used by successful job seekers.
Here’s a list of “10 Flirting Tips” from a dating website, with suggestions for using them in an interview. (And if you’re more interested in flirting than interviewing, you can figure out how they apply in that situation.)
Although interviews make almost everyone anxious, try to relax and view this as simply a chance to meet a new person and see if you hit it off. The more you can enjoy the conversation, the more likely you are to make a good impression. If you are a nervous wreck before every interview, check out our tips at Conquering Interview Anxiety.
The first thing an interviewer will notice is whether you seem friendly and approachable. A genuine smile gets the meeting off to a great start. And please note the emphasis on “genuine”. Researchers have found that a fake smile does not create the same facial expression as a real one, so try to think about something that really makes you happy when you shake hands with the interviewer.
Although you may naturally look down when thinking of the answer to a question, try to maintain eye contact most of the time. This will help to maintain a positive connection between you and the interviewer. Cultural norms about eye contact differ, however, so if you and the interviewer are from different countries, you may want to do a little research on body language.
If the interviewer doesn’t ask about something that you feel is particularly important, feel free to politely bring it up. For example, “Would you be interested in hearing about the leadership role that I had on several project teams?” or “I’d be glad to explain how my graduate training will help me succeed in this position.”
Know when to lighten up. While some interviewers may maintain a solemn demeanor, most will appreciate a more relaxed tone. After all, you want to seem like someone that people would enjoy working with.
Remember that visual comes before verbal. Interviewers immediately receive a strong visual impression before you even say a word. Your appearance can imply many things (rightly or wrongly) about your judgment, decision-making ability, and attention to detail. So examine your appearance carefully before leaving home, then do a last-minute check in the restroom mirror.
Your goal is not to get just any job, but to find one where you’re a good fit for the position. So you need to look for networking opportunities that expose you to people or organizations which match your background and personality.
At the end of almost every interview, you will have an opportunity to ask questions. If you don’t have any, you may not appear very interested in the job. So do your homework and come prepared with questions that make you seem knowledgeable and motivated. One caution: delay questions about salary and benefits until you actually receive an offer.
Non-verbal signals always override the words we use. In an interview, you want to appear relaxed, comfortable, friendly, and open. If this is difficult for you, practice with a friend until you’ve mastered appropriate body language.
If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will. But it’s not enough to simply think that you’d be a great hire. Both your words and your non-verbal behavior need to reflect self-confidence. On the other hand, if you are already highly confident, be sure that you don’t come across as arrogant.