Job Interview And Dating. They’re Related?

People in the know are always talking about preparing for job interviews and how important they are, especially when you want to get your career going, find a job or work on getting a promotion. If anyone has ever given you the advice, “Make sure you do your homework”, they’re really saying you should put some serious thought into the opportunity of meeting the employer. Although you might feel confused on what to do, I’ll bet you’re already doing it; just not in the job hunting, career or promotion context.

I’m guessing you’ve had times when you’ve headed out to meet some friends, gone to a party, a wedding, perhaps a blind or first date. What these situations have in common is they all involve meeting and interacting with people. And I think it’s safe to say that in all these situations, before you head out your front door, there’s things you think about and do.

First of all, you consider what you’re going to wear. What you choose depends on the situation, and it’s likely that what you wear to a wedding will differ from what you wear when you’re heading out with your friends for an evening at some local pub or a backyard barbeque / party. And a date? Oh you’ll put some thought into what you’ll wear because you want to do two things; look good and feel comfortable. Looking good is all about making the right impression. Hmm… same as an interview.

And it doesn’t stop with clothing. You have a shower or bath, shave and groom your hair, check your face a little bit closer than usual for anything that might mar your good looks. Apply the deodorant, maybe even dab on some baby powder if you feel you’re in danger of showing some sweat and you check yourself out again. Ah, you realize your teeth and breath need attention so you brush them, floss, swish around some mouthwash and your confidence is rising. Your ready.

As you think less about how you look and more about actually meeting this person, I bet you start thinking to yourself, “How will I introduce myself?” and, “What can I talk about?” You might come up with 2 or 3 things you hope they’ll find interesting about you and be impressed by. “Impressed by” … hmm… there’s that first impression thing again.

Now if you go along with the dating theme, you’ll want to find out about them so you have some kind of idea of who you’re meeting. It’s possible you might even ask people who know this person, “What are they like?”, “What’s their situation?” or “What do they do?” You’re gathering information aren’t you? The more you know about them, the better you’ll be prepared to say and do things you hope they’ll find attractive. You want them to like you and you don’t want get off to an awkward start by taking them to a Steakhouse, order yourself the largest cut on the menu and then find out they don’t eat meat for ethical reasons. For a first date, might have been better to go for pasta, sushi or seafood.

Okay so you’ve done some preliminary homework, asked around, maybe even went online and looked up a social media page or two. All of this is simply called research. See? You’re putting in the work ahead of time with the hope things go well. Now during the actual time together, you’re talking up your good qualities, down-playing your liabilities or if you do share a weakness, you hope it won’t end the date badly. After all, you’ve made that first impression, and you’re working on building on it; strengthening how you come across in a positive way. Hmm… there’s that, ‘making an impression’ theme again.

Okay now sooner or later you’re getting to the end. If you’re still interested in them, you hope you’ve done enough to have them interested in you too. You might ask to call them in a day or two, get a number, maybe even plan a second date. If things went well, you get a second meeting, and if not, you get a blunt, “I’m just not interested”, or even a, “I’ll be in touch” and it just doesn’t happen. Hey, they won’t always be interested in getting into a relationship with you just as you might find things about them that you don’t find attractive. The impression you’ve made and the impression they’ve given you are what’s going into the decision that you’re good for each other or it’s not going to be a good match.

By the way, if things don’t work out, it might sting tonight – even tomorrow or a few days later. Eventually however, you realize there are other people to meet and you might even be thrilled things didn’t go further when you find a better match.

Dating in this sense is much like the interview for a job. You want to make a good impression and that means doing your homework, putting effort into your presentation, talking about your good qualities you hope they’ll find attractive and of course, you’re also sizing them up too as a fit.

Whether you like the dating analogy or not personally, there are a lot of similarities. And telling people you’ll do anything work-wise is like saying, “I’ll date anyone”. Yeah, that’s never a good idea now is it?

A Proven Way To Improve Your Life

Should you be extremely cautious of anyone guaranteeing your life will improve if you only follow their advice? ABSOLUTELY! Right up front, I’ll tell you there’s nothing to buy, this isn’t a scam, and at the end of this read, you will I trust get the point without getting stung.

Although I’ve posted blogs before on this topic, I want to put a different spin on it today; something you can actually do from this day forward and I’m willing to bet things will improve. Okay so what is it I’m in danger of building up too much and not revealing? Why it’s decision-making.

Simply put, if you made different decisions in the past about the big things, your life would be very different from what it is today. And honestly, if you had made different decisions about the little things, the big things might have ended up differently too. But the key isn’t to lament the decisions you made that went wrong, the key is to make better decisions now; today and each day in your future.

Ah but how to make good decisions when you’ve got a history of making poor decisions? That’s a necessary and good question to pose. The answer is to put off making decisions until you have gathered the information you need in order to make an informed choice. When you make decisions without the facts, it’s like flipping a coin and you may make a good decision or it could turn out badly.

A practical example would be helpful I’m sure. Let’s look then at the issue of buying a car. Some will walk into a showroom with no intention of buying on their visit and leave having made a purchase. What happened? Well, the allure of a new problem-free car, all shined up with that new car smell, and a time-limited discount on financing…it’s all too good to pass up. After the sale however, the buyer notices that the service schedule calls for service every 8,000 kilometres, and each service runs about $250.00. Then the fuel economy isn’t what they’d hoped for, and while it has some of the technology like bluetooth and satellite radio, those come at an additional cost after a 4 month free trial period. The deal starts to look less favourable, the radio subscription and bluetooth aren’t continued, and it’s too costly overall to run. But hey, it looks great in the garage!

The same advice is what I’d suggest about school and upgrading education. Suppose you’re drawn to the appeal of being a veterinarian. Taking care of animals is what you’ve always been good at; taking them for walks, scratching their tummies, and looking after the neighbours when they are away. So you pay a private school money you took on loan to take a Vet course, and after taking the 6 month course that seemed to promise so much, you get a certificate that no Vet practice will recognize. No, to work in your area as a recognized veterinarian, you need to have a 2 year University degree from a provincially recognized institution.

In the example above your money is gone, as is the six months you invested, and so too is your trust and your hopes. Now you’re bitter. On the other hand, it would have been prudent to call up a few Vets and ask them if they recognize certificates from the school you are considering taking a course. If they continually say they don’t, don’t invest your time and money. If they do, take the course with confidence.

In short, it’s this information gathering, commonly referred to as research that is critical. While some people will scoff at doing research because it takes too much time and they don’t know where to start, the same people generally make poorer decisions. Get into the habit of not bothering to do research before making a decision, and that pattern will continue and your small decisions go badly followed by the bigger decisions.

Ironically, it’s often easy for people to recognize when their friends are making bad choices based on little information. Take a person whose telling their closest friends that they are ready to have sex for the first time. “What do you know about him or her?” is often the first question asked. In other words, “Have you done your research?”

One last example concerns home buyers. Some people go out, get attracted to the granite counter tops in the kitchen and the soaker tub in the on-suite bathroom and the high ceilings and put in an offer because they don’t want to lose out to another buyer. They skip the home inspection because they think that’s an unnecessary expense, and they when doing a minor renovation find mould in the walls, and the whole kitchen they fell in love with has to be ripped out and brought up to code. Research, research, research.

To sum up, doing research until you have enough information to make an informed choice will improve the chances of making good decisions. Even the phrase, “an educated guess”, actually refers to people who based on their experience and research, make guesses summing up all their past experiences and knowledge to date which increases the likelihood of being right more than wrong.

The best decisions are made not on the spur of the moment or emotion alone, but when research indicates one choice is wiser than another.

Here’s Why Knowing A Company’s Values Is Critical

Suppose I were to ask you to name three or four strengths you have that are work-related. Now I start timing you. How much time would you need to do this? If it takes you 5 seconds to do this, you know yourself extremely well because you are consciously aware of not only what your job requirements are, but you are equally aware of your personal strengths as they relate to your ability to perform that job well.

On the other hand, if you struggle to answer the question promptly, can only partially answer the question or can’t answer it at all, it would suggest you either don’t really know your self well, or you are in a job where what is required and what you bring to the job are not a good match. To stay in a job that isn’t a good match for your skills without starting to look for another job that is a better fit is not a good idea. Sooner or later you might find yourself fired.

Think of the person at the top of your organization. Perhaps it’s the founder of the company, the owner or operator, maybe a Chief Executive Officer etc. The person who started the company had some passion for the business, saw an opportunity, and seized it by applying their skills to run the business. As the business grew, the company naturally had to hire more people, and those people weren’t selected at random, they were hand-selected because they were deemed to have the skills the company needed at the time they were hired. But skills alone are not what companies look for.

I’m sure you’ve heard of situations – maybe even experienced them yourselves – where someone complained they didn’t get a job even though they appeared to be entirely qualified. So why not? The answer is that someone else had the same qualifications but brought something more; and the more is what you need to think about. Often what the person who is successfully hired brings is an attitude and knowledge of the company that reflects what the company is striving to represent.

Let me be clear. When a new business starts up, the owner is 100% in control of his image, and can be sure that all the people who come into contact with the company have the same identical experience. When the owner hires a second person, they will try to find someone who is equally passionate about the business, and will probably tell them that how they represent themselves is critically important so that customers and clients have the experience with the newly hired person that would be just like dealing with the owner him or herself.

This method of hiring is repeated again and again with each new hire being briefed on the goals and the values that the owner has. If someone has all the skills required by doesn’t or can’t work with the same attitude when it comes to customers, then the customer will go away with a different experience. And that different experience if repeated enough, means the original owners message is no longer the one people are receiving. Regular, long-term customers are going to respond negatively to the new message, and will continue to buy anyhow, or far more likely, switch their purchasing power to another source where they get treated the way they used to.

If you take the time to find out what’s behind all those bullets in a job description, you’ll ask questions and do research that’s designed to find out the right information to know BEFORE you apply for a job. The most valuable thing to learn is what key things the company values. The ‘company’ of course is really a collection of people. So what you are looking for is the core values that people share who work at a company. When you have this information, you should then ask yourself if those values are values you have. If you don’t share those values, it is NOT recommended that you apply, because even if you were to get the job, your true values will surface, and you’ll be conflicted; either having to change your values or keep them to yourself and appear to have different values while working there, and sometimes appearing to have those values outside the workplace on your own time.

And this is why people may be unhappy, stressed out, let go, fired or not even hired in the first place. The fit you see, is not a good one and the company cannot afford to take the chance that hiring the ‘wrong’ person will cost them their reputation they have worked so hard at building. And imagining you yourself were the owner of the company who founded it based on your values, you’d be looking to hire people who were like-minded. If presented with two people to interview and hire for one job, you’d likely settle on the one who brings not only skills, but shares your values and brings that attitude.

When you say to yourself or others something like, “I can’t be bothered researching a company’s values. It takes too long and I just need a job. I don’t see the point.”, you are right. You don’t get it. And by ‘it’, I mean you don’t get the interview, and you don’t get the job. There’s no mystery here, you couldn’t be bothered, and quite frankly, neither can the company.

Modify Your Dream, Or Magnify Your Skills

Got a dream? Not just any old dream; a dream about yourself in the future where you are successfully employed or self-employed? Fantastic. It is likely that the you of your future is different in a number of ways from the present you. So how are you going to achieve that dream?

I’m willing to bet that the you of your future has enhanced skills; some newly acquired skills that put you in a position to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. Without the new qualifications or enhanced skill set, it is unlikely that the vision you have for yourself will materialize, otherwise why couldn’t you walk out the door today and into that dream occupation?

By way of illustration, suppose your dream job is to be a Rodeo Clown. They can laugh all they want, but that’s your dream and you are entitled to it. If the extent of your exposure to horses and bulls is seeing them on television, or going on a trail ride once a year, it is unlikely you will be offered a job at the next Wild West show. In this case, you’re going to need more exposure to riding, learn the tricks of the trade, how to protect bull riders when they are rejected by the bull, and of course how to protect yourself. Without this additional learning and experience, you must scale down or drop your dream of being a Rodeo Clown because it’s just never going to happen.

Modifying your dream in the above illustration doesn’t necessarily mean you have to completely remove yourself from the proximity of it however. So instead of resigning yourself to working in a dingy office with your Business and Economics degree, perhaps you could find a way to get employed working for a Wild West company as their Business Manager, Accountant, etc. In other words, among the occupations that have a Rodeo Clown at the centre of a circle, are there jobs you could apply for that would in some way offer fulfillment for you. So you either modify your dream (Rodeo Clown no more, Rodeo Clown’s Business Manager moving forward), or you magnify your skills (Rodeo Clown school sign me up).

The major difficulty for many is they hold on to their original dream but fail to take the training, education, and gain the experience necessary to one day realize their career dream. Looking from the outside in, maybe you and I can see it’s never going to happen unless something changes in the person, but the person fails to see things objectively.

Perhaps the reason for holding on to a dream but doing nothing to bring it about is fear. After all, if you actually went and got required education, you couldn’t use that as an excuse anymore could you? Of if you took the time to try to get the education and failed, you’d have to admit your dream is over, and some people just want to have a dream to hold onto.

By the way, did you scoff at the example of a Rodeo Clown? Why didn’t I make it more believable, common place or realistic you ask? Well too often, a person is truly reluctant to share their dream because they fear ridicule and being dismissed. A person has the right to dream of being and doing whatever they find joy and happiness in. Just because that occupation may seem remote to you, or unattainable, I think it serves us well to give a person a chance to talk about what would really make them happiest. When they do, you might see passion, excitement and energy that has been lacking as they talked about jobs and occupations that were what they thought you wanted to hear from them but that they have little interest in. If you are in a position to help them succeed, or help them do the necessary research they need to get going, that’s the help you should provide.

The encouragement you offer another may be to listen, to ask questions, find out why that is appealing, how long that dream has been had, and challenge them to do a few things to find out more about making that dream a few steps closer. If in the research, the person realizes that the dream is actually unrealistic, such as in the case of needing 7 years of school to become a Dentist, that may help them move forward in another direction. On the other hand, if your words help them realize that their dream job is within their ability to make come true, you may have been the one person in their life that actually helped move them along. One day, they might retire from being a Rodeo Clown and at their retirement dinner, speak your name as the one person who encouraged them and helped make their dream come true.