The most pressing concerns in a twenty-something woman’s life are the need to find the perfect job and the perfect man – two events which culminate in a single event that can lead to a promising future or bitter disappointment.
I’m taking about the first date and the first interview; two events which are ironically full of the same patterns of behavior.
The dance of courtship begins in most cases hesitantly. Whether introductions are made through networking, the internet, or pure chance, a period of distanced but inquisitive conversations take place. During this period background research is often conducted by both parties. Online profiles are scrutinized (whether on Facebook or LinkedIn), mutual friends are interrogated, and names are Googled. Basic questions are often answered, and once both sides agree, a time and place are chosen for an in person meeting.
Before arriving at the big date/interview, a woman must carefully select an outfit. For an interview this decision is ruled by the “dress for the job you want, not the job you have” mantra, and a similar idea rules the first date outfit as well. It’s obviously all about the first impression, so most women want to look their best, but not like they’re trying to hard. Talk about a conundrum. Thankfully, the location and activity of the date helps, but it’s almost impossible to be sure how a guy is going to react to an outfit!
Once the date/interview starts, so do the real questions. In a first date situation both parties usually try to get to know eachother, but in many interviews the dialogue becomes all about the interviewee. The focus of an interview might seem to be all about testing your knowledge of the potential employee (of the company, of the technology, of the industry, etc), but what about some of the details about the employer? Do they share your morals and values? Is there casual Friday, with a cocktail hour? Are they movers in their industry or are they complacent to stay the course? These are exactly the kinds of questions that future boyfriends get grilled with to determine their compatibility, long term worth, and sanity, but we often forget that the same should be asked of companies since we are essentially entering into a relationship with them.