8 Ways Interviewing for a Life Science (or any) Role is a Lot Like Dating

By Jeff Caskey, Principal Search Consultant at Workforce Genetics, and Sarah Ellinwood
February 14, 2023 💗

Buttoning up that nice jacket. Putting on a little lipstick that adds the right amount of “pop” without going overboard. Digging out and dusting off those swanky shoes from the back of the closet.

Whether you’re swiping right on Tindr or throwing your resume out there on LinkedIn, there’s a lot of similarities between landing that next job and landing the potential love of your life (or temporary fling – whatever floats your boat!)

1. First impressions are very important.

First impressions are lasting impressions, so make sure that you dress and present yourself in the way that you want your date/interviewer to remember you. While you don’t necessarily need to rock a full suit when you first meet someone, you’ll want to come off as polished and confident.

No matter if you’re interviewing in-person or over Zoom, you’ll want to make sure you’re cleaned up and wearing a nice outfit that instills confidence. And if the interview is virtual, you might also want to consider throwing up a virtual background to hide things that could be distracting

2. It’s nerve-racking.

Whether it’s your first date ever or you’re a seasoned veteran in the game of love, chances are you’re always going to be a bit nervous. What if you mess something up? What if you get something on your shirt? What if you stumble when answering a question and come off as weird?

Similar feelings arise as you get ready to step into a room for an interview. Don’t let your nerves get you down, though – being nervous is a normal response and shows that you care. Try some breathing exercises or go on a quick walk around the block to help relieve those jitters.

3. You don’t want to come on too strong too quick.

Unless you have major fireworks, it’s probably not advised that you go in for a kiss on a first date. You also probably don’t want to tell the person that you spent hours combing all of their social media accounts to figure out all of their history. Things could go from “date” to “stalker” real quick.

Likewise, at a job interview you want to balance your enthusiasm – show excitement, but don’t go talking about how you’ve wanted to work at Google since you were a toddler.

4. You have to decide how much of your story is appropriate to tell on a first date/interview.

While some people might be more reserved, others let things fly without a filter. Neither personality types are “wrong” in an interview, but if you fall more into the latter category make sure you know how to rein the conversation back in. Your date/interviewer probably doesn’t need to know that you had a colonoscopy for gastro issues a few weeks ago, nor do they need to know that you were a few minutes late because your cat had tummy troubles on your mattress.

Take note, though, that while you need to be mindful of oversharing, that doesn’t mean you need to hide your personality. If you’re a funny person don’t be afraid to crack a joke – just don’t make it awkward.

5. You are trying to figure out if there’s “chemistry” between the two of you, and they’re doing the same.

You certainly don’t want to be with someone you don’t “click” with – likewise, your interviewer doesn’t want to hire someone that doesn’t quite mesh (or worse, causes conflict) with the broader team. On the flip side, you also don’t want to be employed at a company that doesn’t share in your values.

6. You’re trying to gauge if you have similar interests

This falls in line with the point above – if you have similar interests, chances are you’ll have pretty decent chemistry. This could include hobbies, favorite TV shows, video games, etc.

A quick tip – if you’re in the interviewer’s office or can see some of their office in their background, take note of any fun desk decor or tchotchkes they might have. Chances are this will strike up a conversation and help to break the ice.

7. Do they have a reliable history?

In the dating world, this usually means checking to make sure they’re not a felon, serial killer, or overall creeper.

In the corporate world, while you as an interviewee are probably not checking to see if the company is comprised of murderers, you’re probably doing some googling to see what kind of history the company has. Has the company been dinged in the media for sketchy research practices? Is their GlassDoor page filled with negative reviewers?

8. Sometimes you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince/princess

Let’s be real – these things are very stressful, and very time consuming.

Trying to shuffle around your work schedule to accommodate an interview while also trying to not tip off your coworkers. Figuring out what restaurant you want to meet at. Worrying about if you’ll get a call back or if you’ll be ghosted.

Unfortunately this is all part of the process – whether you’re on the hunt for love or pursuing a new job, it pays to not settle though.

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