As someone who will start looking for a job soon, I have spent considerable time to understand and prepare for the application and nerve-racking process of a Job Interview. Over the past few months, I have seen a lot of posts about how “candidates” can prepare for job interviews, be it standing in front of a mirror and practicing, preparing a script for the interview, researching about the company prior to the interview, or using their networking skills. The posts were quite exhaustive and very informative. But none of these techniques can give a “candidate” the real feel of the exhausting process of a job interview really is. So I thought long and hard about what is the one thing that nerds like us are even more afraid of than being interviewed for a job? Thanks to the severe lack of women in STEM and especially in Aerospace, the answer was not too hard to find. It’s holding a random conversation with a woman outside of work… and modern problems like these require modern solutions. So I decided to prepare for my future job interviews through Tinder, which resulted in a four-month-long experiment, the results of which have been illustrated in this article. For the benefit of fellow nerds in my network, I have broken down the entire process into simple steps and drawn parallels to the actual job interview process, hope you find it useful.
Step 1: Setting up your profile and applying
This is the first step in your application process and it is much more crucial than you think. It basically sets the tone of your search, you get to decide what types of roles you are looking for, how far are you willing to go for it, and then highlight the skills that you think make you suitable for the roles you are selecting. A common mistake that “candidates” tend to make is that we lose focus and instead of searching and applying for specific roles we start looking for any and all available opportunities. In LinkedIn terms, this is akin to typing “interested” in the comments section of “I have a list of companies that are hiring” posts and hoping for a miracle. Having understood that, let us now set up our profiles:
Now that you have set up your profile and decided upon the roles and types of companies you want to be employed by you can start sending out applications, aka swiping right. In case you find a company offering exactly what you are looking for don’t be afraid to put in some extra effort and sending a more personalized application, aka super like. So far, we have only taken care of most of the clerical steps, now comes the interesting part.
Step 2: Being shortlisted and round one interview
Congratulations!!! You have sent out tens of applications and have now started hearing back from a few of those companies. Your inbox starts glowing and you start feeling good about yourself. Now sometimes, candidates can get cocky seeing an overwhelming response or become saddened by the lack of it. In any case, we should remember that it is only round one of a three-round interview process, so maintain your calm and focus.
In this round, the employer wants to check how well have you read their job description, aka tinder bio so you can expect some fundamental questions like:
- Why should we hire you? Why do you want to work here? What interests you the most about this role? …
- What do you do in your free time? …
- What is your greatest accomplishment? …
- How would you define yourself in 2 sentences? …
Remember it is as much as an opportunity for you to know the company as it is for the company to know you, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. Some questions that you can ask include:
- What are the company’s values? What characteristics do you look for in employees in order to represent those values?
- What does success look like in this position, and how do you measure it?
Now, remember, companies interview several candidates for just one position and the first round of interviews is to filter out the ones that match the least. So during the process, remember to keep it interesting and take out as many interesting points from the job description, aka tinder bio, as possible. By the end of this round if selected you would be invited for the second round, aka have her number, of the interview which will be a bit more personal. In case you do not get selected please don’t be afraid to ask the company what you could have done better and if you can still be considered for any future openings. Doing so projects confidence and a desire to learn and grow. Some companies take it positively and who knows, you might get lucky. In case the company comes up with a generic response or does not reply, do not hold it against them, they are probably swamped with similar messages. It might also happen that a company that looked very promising has all of a sudden gone into radio silence, this could be because of multiple reasons (including a global pandemic) and none of it is your fault. Remember communication is the key to any successful relationship and if it has been established early on that the company is not an effective communicator, trust me you will be better off somewhere else.
Step 3: Moving to round two interview
Great job!! Now you are in the selected-few club. You are competing with a few but extremely talented individuals who want the same position as you. What this also means is that talent alone is not going to get you the job, you need to show your commitment and convince the company that you are the man for the job. A rookie mistake that many candidates tend to make is to dish out compliments to the company or even worse use pickup lines, something that sounds like:
- It has been my dream to work at your organization because of the amazing products you make, aka It must have hurt when you fell from heaven because you look like an angel.
- It would be an honor to work for an industry leader like your organization, aka you are the hottest girl I have ever seen in my life.
Chances are the company already knows this and because you are not adding any value by dishing out these generic compliments, you are actually losing out. So instead, you should always try something more specific and do the point, something that sounds like:
- The XYZ team in your company has made some wonderful progress in ABC and I would like to learn more about their work, aka You have a really cute smile I bet you smile at yourself while looking in the mirror.
- I recently read your company is about to receive $ABC from XYZ, how are you planning on using those funds? I heard that your company has ventured into ABC, what is the rationale behind that? aka That’s an adorable dog, you have there! or are you a nature person? Because I can see through your profile that you love taking a walk in the park?
Pointing out these details will help you stand out from the rest of the candidates and show the company you are not there for the package or the brand name but are genuinely interested in the position and have done your research. It is possible that you already know someone who is associated with the company, aka you share a mutual friend with your tinder match, asking for direct recommendations can be tricky and the policy varies from company to company. So before asking for a recommendation, make sure your contact there is willing to help you and is in a position to do so as well. Some of the common questions that you can expect in this round are:
- What challenges are you lacking in your current job? Aka, why are you on Tinder?
- What is your biggest weakness? Aka, what is the stupidest thing you have ever done?
- Can you provide an example of a time you worked with a coworker you didn’t get along with? Aka, Why did your previous relationship end?
These are tricky questions because right here the company is trying to evaluate how well you will fit into the team and select the best fits for the final round of interviews. While some recommend humble bragging as a way to tackle these questions. Replying to “What is your biggest weakness?” with “My biggest weakness is that I am an extremely hard worker” is kind of like telling your match on tinder that the stupidest thing you have ever done is not put on sunscreen while going to the beach. It’s boring, absolutely not true and eventually, she will know that you don’t put the toilet seat down either. So try being as honest as you can. Of course, do not talk about your childhood trauma and parents’ divorce (this is not your therapy session), but be open about your weakness and discuss how you have worked towards strengthening them. Another mistake candidates tend to do is that they speak ill of or undermine their previous employers and this is a big red flag for your future employers. So for the 1st and 3rd questions be candid but discrete, so calling your ex a bitch or your former boss a snob is off the table, use your wits to handle unexpected counter questions. This is precisely when tinder comes in handy because if you mess up the answer there is no second chance or retake and the type of pressure that puts on you can not be recreated in a controlled environment.
Step 4: Selected for a face to face interview
This is it! The last and final round! This is what you have worked for so far! So prepare well. Would I want to give you some tips for this round? Of course, I would! Do I want to… Not at all. You see, several online websites tell you how to swoop your date and wow your interviewer, but none that tell you what to do if it all goes down the drain and I will be doing just that. What do you do if you get rejected? Well, you dust yourself up and try again! Try till you get what you want, for there is no shame in failing but only in not trying enough. Take a look at the number of times I had to reset my Tinder profile because I couldn’t get enough matches or the ones I had did not work out. Each reset taught me new things and helped me gain skills that made me a better candidate for the next one. So instead of being dejected learn and grow. It is much harder than it sounds and real rejections are physically painful, that is why I went on tinder to prepare for my future job interviews because when the pain is real so are the gains.
PS: A huge shout out to all the lovely ladies who have helped me write and review this article, I couldn’t have done it without your feedback and support.❤️