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Which Is Worse Or Scarier, A First Date Or A First Interview?

Written by: Josef Stetter, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Josef Stetter

Have you ever noticed that job finding and dating sites are very similar? Most job finding sites require you to indicate that you are hard-working, dedicated, and committed, a team player and have excellent communication and interpersonal skills. Most online dating profiles go something like this: I’m smart, I’m funny, I’m intelligent and I’m looking for someone who is smart, funny, and intelligent. The interesting phenomenon is that for either the job finding site or the online dating profile all these words are subject to interpretation, depending on the individual or the company. Have you ever met someone who goes to an interview and states that none of their work will be any good, they will always show up late, they are completely unreliable, and they really really hate people! This rarely happens; the only time you might be able to get away with that is if you’re related to someone in the company or sleeping with them. Subjective words can be very dangerous, let’s get a little closer as some of these creatures might try to bite me head off... 

A photo of man and woman having a conversation.

In the workforce and online dating chats, this notion of excellent communication skills theoretically exists, what exactly is that? Is it the ability to speak English clearly and coherently? Is it the ability to write books or orate presentations? Is it the ability to tell a story or a joke? No one has ever clearly defined the word and especially not in a work force with multiple industries, positions, and stakeholders. The fact is many people, including executives, have difficulty expressing themselves not to mention have accents or a limited vocabulary depending on their cultural background, knowledge and experience. I am certain everyone has come across at least one individual that does not have excellent communication skills; yet this individual has managed to find gainful employment or someone to date. I bet you are thinking of them right now. And all you can think of is WTF how did this person get hired before me or find someone to date, I clearly have better communication than them. Life is so Unfair!!! There is no standard to measure excellent communication skills. Some have taken advantage of organizations such as Toastmasters international that teaches you the art of public speaking, others have joined debate clubs to home in on this elusive yet required job skill set. 

I would argue that most people do not have excellent communication skills, but they would like to believe that they do. The fact is that neither the corporate world nor most single individuals that are online looking for love clearly define what these superficial words used in their profile mean and look like to them. This generic formula creates a false model of confidence that one is qualified for a job or a great match for dating!

The scary part, often the entire profile for dating or job finding are generic and subject to interpretation. Each one of these words can be defined in multiple ways by the individual or the organization. The truth is that we exist in listening, if you tell a joke and people laugh you are considered funny, if no one laughs you’re not. Funny, just like art; is in the eyes of the beholder. Great comedians like Jeff Foxworthy, Kevin Hart, Jeff Dunham, Gabriel Iglesias, Chris Rock, Ellen DeGeneres, and many others are all extremely funny, yet their comedy styling isn’t for everyone. Unless you clearly define what you consider funny; how does one know, especially online, what type of humor will work for you? 

In 18 years of recruiting, I have met my fair share of candidates that were incoherent, however, they were hired by various companies because of their ability to perform tasks. Furthermore, I have yet to meet any recruiter or HR professional that has searched for a candidate with excellent communication skills as the primary required skills for the job. This is why so many have difficulty landing a great job or finding the right match. Originality and creativity in setting up your profile for either job finding or dating can go a long way to find the right fit in that desired and often elusive chemistry. Many today use online platforms as their primary source of meeting someone to date or land your dream job. The process can be very frustrating as we tend to fill in the gaps by making assumptions about what someone “really means” in their profile. As the adage goes “Never assume because it makes an ass out of you and more importantly me.” People tend to present their best side or a version of themselves that is idealistic. This again creates a false sense of connection and “chemistry” as we interpret our attempt at communication as being enlightened and exactly what the other person needs or wants. We create expectations that don’t exist. No wonder many of us are so lonely, miserable, and jaded that we will never meet the one for us or land that dream job. One caveat to note, most people can clearly define what they don’t want in a partner or job yet have a really hard time defining what they do want. In theory, the opposite of what you don’t want should be what you want; this is far from reality. 

This abundance of choice is also creating a model where the grass is greener on the other side and instant gratification. We seek perfection and expect the stars. So, we go on interview after interview or never get one wondering why we can’t find that dream job. We make choices on generic check boxes and what we interpret someone is trying to say in their profile. This is why common sense has become far from common.

Understand that online dating or job finding is supposed to be an opportunity to meet people that would normally cross your path. We don’t know where along the lines it has become the standard of measuring chemistry and expecting to be hired. It is very rare that someone hires you based on your resume and cover letter without talking or meeting you. Also, chances are, if you show up in ripped jeans, a t-shirt, chewing gum, reeking of body odor, or sporting more bling than Mr. T; it is safe to say you won’t get hired or wow your date. What a concept! Communicating face to face without a keyboard or a phone to text…just like they used to do before we became so attached and dependent on our technology.

Congratulations, you made it through the battlefield a.k.a. the abyss a.k.a. the black hole of capturing someone’s interest from an online profile and now it’s time for your first date, I mean interview. On the one hand you’re terrified as you want to impress this person and on the other, you’re excited about the opportunity. Will they like me? What should I wear? Where should we go? Will we have chemistry? Life is like a box of chocolate you never know what you gonna get…

The first date aka the interview

Which is worse or scarier, a first date or a first interview? In many cases, they are almost the same. You must pick the right outfit, have your resume ready and mentally prepare yourself for those repetitive useless questions that really don’t say anything about how truly unique you are. Most interviews begin with the generic and useless loaded question of tell me about yourself… Most first dates begin with the auto responder questions such as: So, what do you do?? Where you from and many other routine and boring questions. It can be exhausting to try to actively participate in answering these routine safe questions that often generate as much energy and enthusiasm as molasses hardening. The truth is that many first dates are usually boring and can be nerve wrecking, especially when two people are coming from two different worlds or connecting through a picture on an app or online. Both people on the date are trying to make a good first impression and this can be awkward at time, which is a great way to make a memorable first impression. On an interview too many candidates try to say all the right lingo such as I am a team player and I love my job and I am really hard working without actually given real information on the results you produced, the strategies you executed and the impact you made…

The statistics show that over 80% of all workers in North America hate their jobs, see here. After all, who doesn’t love feeling drained and uninspired and carry a conversation that is so titillating an exterminator will decide to let the creepy crawlers live! I mean how can any company not love a cookie answer that ebbs and flows along the lines of I worked as an engineer and I was part of a team and we solved different problems because I am very dedicated, which gives so much insights about absolutely nothing! These answers don’t give insights on what makes them tick and what really matters to them. And they don’t offer a real sense of CHEMISTRY. How many dates have you been on that you were asked what you do…heard crickets and came home to tell your friends or family “ OMG, we have so MUCH CHEMISTRY, he/she told me exactly what they do! With a level of blah I have always been looking for.” Sadly, it is very similar in generic interviews which is why you do not land your dream job. DARE TO BE DIFFERENT than everyone else. Come in with confidence, have examples of Results you produced and what strategy you used to execute them. You can use (SMART/SWIFT) Smart Measurable Achievable Results in Time method or (STAR) Situation Task Action Result method or (PAR) Problem Action Result method or (CAR) Challenge Action Result Method or (AIDA) Attention Information Desire Action method or (PDCA) Plan Do Check Act method; just as long as you highlight how great you are and your ability to produce great results for the company that is interviewing you! DO NOT BE cookie cutter and regurgitate the same information job seekers have memorized as an answer for the past 35 years. Change the odds in your favor and use the land your dream job program here and get results in as little as 2 days and a $30,000 raise!

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Josef Stetter Brainz Magazine

Josef Stetter, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

For nearly 20 years, Josef Stetter has incorporated humour, energy, passion and full self-expression into his personal and professional life.

  • Award Winning & International Best-Selling Author of 11 books.

  • Award Winning Speaker and Guinness World Record Participant

  • Did not know what I want to do when I grow up so switched careers 9 X and jobs 18 times

  • Work in Recruitment. Clients have included: Deloitte & Touche, Aecon Construction, Tata Consulting Services, Canon, Aviva, Skechers Shoes and more!

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