Swipe Right or Move On? Why Job Searching is Like Dating

The job search and dating are more similar than you think: equally humiliating, excruciating, and rewarding. We’ve all been there: you’re sitting in a room wearing a carefully considered outfit. You’re nervous, but excited. You’re really hitting it off with the person across from you. You talk about where you went to school, your past jobs, and your goals for the future as they nod enthusiastically, even offering up some interesting anecdote of their own. This is going so great! You leave feeling confident, maybe this is finally the one!

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Then you sit at home and wait as you incessantly check your phone for a call, message, or email. You start daydreaming about your new, better life. You rehearse what you’ll say when they get in touch. One day goes by, then another. Pretty soon it’s a week later and you follow up in a way that’s polite but not clingy. Still nothing. After another week or two with no response it finally hits you that it’s not going to happen. They’re not going to call. So, you start the agonizing process of analyzing what went wrong.

Worst feeling in the world, right? But were you sitting in a date or a job interview? Either way, rejection is not fun. Don’t worry; we’re here to help as you carefully consider when to swipe right and when to move on. Use these strategies to avoid the situation above when searching for the job, or the S.O., of your dreams.

Use technology, but don’t go overboard.
The hundreds of apps and websites devoted to job searching and dating are both a blessing and a curse. You can find your next boss or your next significant other without ever getting off the couch. But it’s also easy to become overwhelmed with so many options. It helps to narrow it down to one or two apps that you can check daily in 20 minutes or less rather than spending hours obsessively scouring four or five apps. Your time is valuable, remember that!

Tap into your people.
As helpful as technology is, nothing beats the power of a personal recommendation. People set their friends up on dates all the time, and the same goes for job interviews. Peruse your connections to find out who may know someone at a company you’d like to work for (or someone who’s cute and single). Treat networking events like bars or parties – they’re full of people who can help you find your next job or your next date. But of course, don’t go overboard on the drinks.

Ask good questions.
At the end of almost every interview I’ve been on as well as those I’ve conducted for my job, the interviewer always asks a candidate if they have any questions. It’s disappointing when the response is a quick “no” and the conversation abruptly ends. This is an opportunity to get advice from someone in the job and to learn more about a potential workplace. Take advantage! If your date spends the entire time talking about themselves and never asks questions, you probably won’t want to see them again, right? Whether on a date or an interview, it’s hard to think of questions on the spot. Come up with them beforehand so you’re prepared.

Follow up the next day.
Nothing kills the momentum like total silence. After an interview – or a date – it’s good practice to reach out to the person thanking them for their time. Put yourself out there to make sure you stay top-of-mind. Send each employee who interviewed you a thank you email or, even better, a hand-written thank you note. “Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me. I’m so excited for the opportunity and look forward to next steps” is the job equivalent of “I had so much fun last night, drinks again soon?” after a date.

Never, ever settle.
Once you find yourself with a job offer or a third date, it’ time to weigh your options. Give as much thought to a potential company’s culture, benefits, and growth opportunities as you would your date’s personality, goals, and even their living situation. In the end, you have to trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, rushing into it may not be the best choice. There is nothing wrong with waiting for “the one” (as long as you are financially able).

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