First Date vs First Interview.
Updated: Mar 28, 2020
We have all had those times when we were “young and dumb” as for me ...I am still living in those days. Thankfully this time I’m making smarter business decisions and it seems to be my personal life is the side that is suffering. So I was 19 with design being my main priority. However, I of course had to have some sort of a social life outside of the office and I wanted to meet new people...which seemed like an increasingly difficult task considering I spent most of my time trapped in a cubicle. Still, I decided to sign up for a dating app. It made the process of meeting people so much more seamless. It gave me a chance to filter through weirdos and if I didn’t like someone I could simply block them rather than having to avoid them in real life. All that being said there were still some crazies that managed to make their way from my inbox to across a dinner table. A few that I entertained far too long, but I had never been in a real relationship at that point in my life so I never really knew what to expect. I strongly believe that your first date is just like an interview with a new company.
The concept is ultimately the same.
Your goal is to impress the other person and hopefully move forward in a way that benefits you both. You ask a series of questions to try to feel the other person out, and at the end you hopefully get called back to fill that position.
Dot your I's and cross your T's.
The first stage is research, you can’t show up to a date/interview without any background on the company or the person. With interviewing, gathering information might be as simple as searching the company name on google. You want to make sure you know why the company was founded, what their general purpose is, exactly what the role they are looking to fill entails and if you would be a great asset to them. With dating, you will seek the answers to these same questions but things may get a little more complicated. Research is ten times more important when it comes to an individual you are considering spending your time with. I say this because leaving a job is as easy as giving your two week’s notice but leaving a relationship...well that can be a book of its own. Researching your date won’t be as simple as googling a name, because in most cases you may not even have their first and last name let alone a real one. When you meet somebody new please do yourself a favor and save their number in your contacts.
This is the best thing you can do early on because now you can go on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and any other social media platform that sync’s contacts in hopes to find their profile. Now, if you get lucky and find a profile you can then google their username or page handle with hopes of finding something else. Trust me google is your best friend when it comes to being catfished. Prepare yourself, don’t wait too long to do your research. You want to come to your interview/date with all the facts so that you can then ask questions to verify what your role will be.
Okay...It's time to meet!
Looks are an essential factor when it comes to dating/interviewing. You need to put on your best and most appropriate outfit with a goal in your mind of earning a compliment of some sort. Don’t get stuck on the word best because the last thing you want to do is “overdress” because they are looking for someone who is destined not desperate, keep in mind these are easy to visually differentiate.
As designers we are taught to believe that busy is beautiful but less is more. This is why research is important so that you can determine a tone to set at the first encounter. For a marketing company you might want to wear something business professional whereas for an advertising interview you might want to lean towards something more business casual. Know your colors and what works for you because you don’t want to wear a beautiful red button up because red is bold and you want to be taken seriously when that color doesn’t go well with anything else you have going on and can be considered a sign of disrespect to certain cultures. You need to represent your brand properly. I usually wear the same coral that is part of my logo, don’t think your employer won’t notice if you match your resume style because trust me they will. Remember you and your work are a package deal. When it comes to a date outfit the same rules apply, don’t over do it and do yourself a favor and keep it cute or keep it mute.
So remember I said I’m young and dumb, one example of this is how I constantly ignored red flags. Most people don’t even think about red flags when they are entering an interview. That will be your biggest mistake. It isn’t just about impressing the company, you have to remember that they have to be a good fit for you as well. You need to identify what your red flags are. I only have a few, for example when a company asks you things like “do you change your hair color often? And how often if so?”. Now you might not think this question is an issue being that a company wants you to always appear professional and it can cause risks within certain career paths...but I am not a financial advisor, I am a creative! For women, especially women of color, changing your hair happens often. It can make you feel beautiful and more confident in yourself. Like what’s next? Are they going to tell you that you can’t wear any makeup. I need to be able to express myself creatively through my personal appearance and I feel everyone should have that right. In my opinion, you should not let a company dictate who you are. Stand your ground but to do this you have to be sure of yourself. Another red flag is when the potential employer asks you to design something specific prior to an interview. I’m a strong believer that my portfolio speaks for itself. I am not handing out free work. I will open up Photoshop as soon as I am hired. I do not feel the need to prove my skills when my capabilities are shown clearly through my portfolio work. Red flags with dating are fairly simple. Energy being the biggest one. If the person is giving you an awkward vibe then plan your escape route immediately.
Text your best friend to hit you up with that “fake emergency call”...you know the one I’m talking about. If the energy is good and you proceed, make sure your date puts as much effort into their appearance as you. Nobody wants to go out of their way to look good when their date decided they were going to come meet you straight after the gym. Make sure you are asking questions and that your date is asking them back. If they aren’t then there’s a definite chance they might not be interested or in a worse circumstance they are just boring as dirt. Depending on the date number you need to figure out exactly what it is you want to know. For ex. What do you do for a living? Do you have children? These are essential questions that you definitely want to know the answers to because you don’t want to be in
a serious committed relationship and then realize you and your partner don’t have the same wants in life. If everything goes well with your date/interview you need to make sure you are the last candidate standing.
You do not want to think you have secured your position and then be surprised when somebody ends up taking your place. The only way to be sure of this is to ask questions and read between the lines because you may not always get an honest response. Don’t be afraid to ask if you are the only person they are seeing on this level. If they deserve your time then you deserve their honesty. Getting comfortable in your new role is very important, of course in the beginning it will be a learning experience that includes a lot of trial and error. You will need to be open to the concept of stepping out. You will be exposed to new relationships, a new environment, a new way of thinking and ultimately a new position in your career and in your life. You need to make sure you take advantage of all of these things.
Okay I'm here....now what!
New relationships are the greatest thing you will gain at your new job...sorry to say but nothing lasts forever, some people even believe that all jobs are temporary no matter what HR labels them as. So BE SOCIAL and build relationships with your coworkers and especially your higher ups, now I’m not saying be an ass kisser but don’t turn down the opportunity to go to lunch or out for drinks when you are asked. Being standoffish never got anyone anywhere. Everyone has a past and needs to be concerned about securing their future. You can be 2 desks away from someone who was previously employed at your “dream company” or in the same department as someone who is in line to be your next boss. Resources are an important factor at your new job ( we will get into this in a later post).
The best resource you have is your coworkers, everyone has a different set of knowledge and you will learn more from people then anything you can read online. You may be so excited about your new position that you are solely focused on just doing a good job, but you should wake up everyday with the thought of “how can I be better today then I was yesterday” life is not just about accomplishing tasks it is about progression. Career paths are always adapting and new positions are being created all the time. You can always reinvent yourself and your stance within a company. I personally have always progressed when I took risks and became disruptive. Nobody likes to be repetitive, we all love to spice things up every once in a while and me being a creative...well that’s what I specialize in.
However, you can’t just go around changing things around on your own accord. Above all you need to make sure your confidence level is high because to be disruptive takes guts and you need to be sure of yourself before you make that type of commitment. The first step in shaking things up is observation. Go into meetings and take notes, this doesn’t mean just jotting down some of the things being mentioned because it includes taking mental notes on your peers. There will be someone who disagrees with everything being said and won’t speak up at all. This person should be you in the beginning and I’ll tell you why.
People love to feel like they are in control, so in the beginning you will give them that satisfaction and only voice your opinion when asked because you want them to know that you don’t want to present yourself as someone who speaks out of turn..but don’t worry this will change dramatically.
There will be someone there who overwhelms people with their ideas and never lets anyone get a word in edge wise..you don’t ever want to be this person. It is usually someone in a higher position who just has that "know it all" personality because there is no one to tell them that their ideas aren’t the most ideal. You want to know who you are dealing with in a closed room so that you can know how you should ease your way into the conversation. When you hear something that doesn’t make sense to you ask questions first and then jump in based off the responses you get. Speak your mind but make sure to apply what you know..because you don’t want to be the “know it all” when in all actuality you know nothing. The last candidate standing.
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