When I first entered the job market and long after my approach to interviewing was one sided. I worked on my resume, read a bit about the company, dressed appropriately, and did my best to interview well. At that point where they asked “do you have any questions” I didn’t have many, confirming that I understood the work schedule, benefits, and salary range. If they called with an offer, hooray! Getting paid trumped all else in most cases. I think the only time in those years I didn’t take an offer was when I was lucky enough to have two offers at the same time. Not sure what to call that, but It certainly wasn’t dating.
Today I see an interview as a first date. Both sides should be thinking is this a good fit? That often drives me to ask more direct questions, because I want to find out now if it’s not a good fit – there is no point in glossing over potential differences only to face a painful break up later on. Some employers welcome this, some are taken aback. I can remember a recent client who called me about some work and was surprised to find me interviewing them far more than they interviewed me.
If it’s a good first date for me and they call, then it’s time to think about a second date (interview) and dig in a bit more. The key is to not get euphoric about getting a second interview. It’s good to be in the running, but that second interview is when you can get down to details. Ask for a tour of the office, check the break room, see what your potential desk/cube look like, see if the hardware is new or old, and definitely negotiate on the benefits (remember that you should care about your total benefit stack and value, not just the salary).
The comparison to dating is fun, but useful and I think enlightening. If nothing else it should make you smile as you sit in the reception area waiting on your next interview!