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First Things First: Job interviews are like first dates…

Hello!... Sorry for the delay but it’s taking me longer than usual to adapt to this new Finnish life. So officially, you’re reading the first post of 2020 in #FIRSTTHINGSFIRST, yay!!

Just in these months of existential adjustments, I started thinking about the very first time I went to a job interview. It was about 10 years ago, OMG! Of course it wasn’t my brightest moment, but neither was the worst. Although I prepared with time, doing my previous research of both the company and my interviewer, I couldn't help but sweat blood at the end (not literally)!... That's right, my nerves betrayed me, and I did almost everything I was told not to. And just when I thought everything was lost, at the end of the interview I had an unpredictable comeback with my charisma, an excellent recommendation letter and an impeccable CV, that is, a lucky strike. It was obvious to the company that it was my first job interview and maybe I was the least bad interviewee of the day… Because at the end they gave me the opportunity to be part of their team and show they hadn’t hired me by mistake hahaha…

Throughout my professional career, I’ve not only had more job interviews, but also I’ve been on the other side of the desk living this process from another perspective. Job interviews are experiences that you’ll surely live or have already lived at least once in your life. And this meaningful event can be as traumatic and/or as special as a first date, right?! Just like when you have a first date, you’ll surely feel nervous, your opinion will be influenced by the first impression you have on the person in question, you’ll try to impress, and the chances of you doing something that puts you in an embarrassing situation aka screw things up, are of 99.99% and finally the result of this event will be unpredictable. As much effort as you have put on your end to be the nicest person in the universe, just like when your first date ends, and you immediately wonder: will he/she call me?... The same thing happens when you leave a job interview. There are aspects that are not entirely within your control and that you must be able to differentiate to be satisfied with yourself about your performance and at the same time have more chances of succeeding. Now, I will introduce you to the #FIRSTTHINGSFIRST, which will help you ace your first or next job interview:

  1. Dress for the job you want, not for the one you have… Clothes are an extension of your personality, and yes, this is very important. The same effort you put into choosing the right outfit you’ll use on a first date should be equivalent or greater than when you’re dressing for a job interview. It’s proven that clothing is an important part of personal marketing and it’s a non-verbal communication tool that also includes aspects of personal grooming such as hair, beard and makeup. Don’t be ‘overproduced’, just keep it simple. Don’t use too many accessories, very revealing, too tight or too baggy clothes, also don’t wear make up as if it’s the Oscars’ red carpet! The key to a good outfit is that it represents you, that it’s suitable for the occasion and especially that it fits your size hahaha… Avoid wearing all black as if you’re going to a funeral and not only I say it, Anna Wintour thinks the same thing.

  2. Confidence is power… There’s nothing more attractive than someone with self-confidence, right? In job interviews, it’s one of the elements that adds many points in your favor; controlling your anxiety and nerves will show confidence not only in yourself but also in your talent. Just as in everything, do not over-abuse this and show yourself arrogant and let alone reckless. There are issues or questions that are strictly out of place on first dates, such as talking about your ex, for example. I recommend you in a job interview to not ask questions about salary. In some occasions it’s part of the application to indicate the salary you’re willing to receive, however, it’s not a topic to discuss during the first interview, since you must wait to have a job offer on the table to talk about it. Otherwise, you could divert the attention of the recruiter and imply that the most important thing for you about the position you’re applying to is the financial compensation. Although it’s a very important point, it doesn’t have to be obvious.

  3. Aptitude or attitude? Both! They’re equally important, you must have a good attitude to achieve your goals, but also you must be able to show that you have what it takes. While attitude shows your disposition, aptitude demonstrates your abilities. Prepare yourself intellectually for a job interview, I suggest you do a previous research about the company, its main competitors, its role in the industry overall, a complete overview of the position you’re applying to, etc. This basic information will demonstrate your potential and help you be ready for any question that may take you by surprise.

  4. As my mother said: Mijita, what do you think? That I was born yesterday? Don’t invent personal achievements or super fantastic skills. It doesn’t work on first dates nor job interviews. Convincing the company that you’re the ideal candidate for the job it’s only possible by being yourself. There’s no expectation on being perfect during the interview. If you make a mistake, apologize and continue. This will show that you can handle challenging situations. Similarly, if you exaggerate reality or lie about an aspect of your personal and professional life, remember that one way or another, truth always comes out.

  5. Don’t suffer, enjoy the process... You don’t need to be stuck on that if at the end the outcome isn’t the one you expected. Sometimes the worst disappointments also carry opportunities, I suggest you ask the company for feedback about your job interview and also thank them for taking the time to interview you, as this will leave you with an open door to be considered in the future for new positions in the company. Keep in mind that it doesn’t matter the number of job interviews in which you haven’t been chosen or the number of failed dates that didn’t go as expected. The important thing is that you learned through the process and that everyday you’re one step ahead of being ready for your big opportunity.

These are the five #FIRSTTHINGSFIRST so that you conquer with your intelligence, knowledge, confidence, attitude, experience, punctuality, professionalism and good humor the love of your life… Ha, joking! I am talking about your dream job.

Don’t forget that the first 9 of every month there will be a new post, word of honor!

So now you know, if you want to keep reading this first-time experiences diary, remember: when was the last time you lived something for the first time? Until the next post!

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