Are You Interviewing or Dating?

Posted by Howard Kang, Ignition Officer

When interviewing for a job we tend to use a formal tone as that’s what interviews demand. We have our resume prepared listing our achievements, past successes, work history, as well as a few bulleted points of what makes us unique.

When we’re on a date (don’t worry, it’s been a while for me too) we approach conversation much differently. The interview strategy doesn’t work. The person sitting with you doesn’t care all that much about your college GPA and if you spoke to her in a rigid and formal tone it would be awkward. In fact, I’m pretty sure that if you listed your accomplishments off during the entirety of the date, your chances of seeing this person again would be slim.

Think about the language used in both situations and how they contrast. When we communicate on the web I think it requires a balance of both an interviewing voice and dating voice, favoring the dating voice. Listing statistics and rankings is easy so that’s mostly what’s primarily communicated to our prospective students. Look what we have done, this is how we’re unique, and this is why you should care. The main issue with this is that when you communicate as if you’re interviewing, you’re not fostering connection. Connection becomes a ancillary goal because interviews are based on evaluation of credentials.

People know the hard facts about your institution. If they don’t they can find them on Google, your website, and on your print communications. So why do we need to keep reminding them? Why not show them why you’re known as a friendly campus instead of repeating the message and hoping it sticks, why not charm them with authentic and human stories unique to your institution that capture their attention, why not spend some time interacting with your audience as if it was a date and not an interview?

Everyone appreciates a little romance. :)

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