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Interview people before dating them

Interview your date? Yes you heard it correctly. You should interview someone you are thinking about dating as if they are applying for a job. Think about it. Employers make prospects go through a process before hiring them because they understand something which is also true for relationships. It is a commitment. Would it seem wise to hire someone, and then interview them for the job months later? No. Yet, we as a society do it all the time with relationships. So as someone who has had many interviews and also given a few, I present a few interview questions which transfer well to relationship screening.

Why do you want to work here/ be with me?
It is quite amazing how many of us enter relationships without ever asking why? In fact, this question is much more likely to make an appearance later on when things get rocky. But employers ask this during an interview to feel out our intentions. Likewise, the purpose of asking this question to a potential suitor is not to expect a deep, elaborate answer. Like most interview questions, the reaction to the question itself can be more telling than the words spoken. If they talk about what we can do for them rather than who we are, we know right away they will do more taking than giving. And if someone cannot give basic reasons for wanting to be with us, why take things any further?

How have you handled conflict with coworkers in the past/ mates in the past? Nearly every interview I have done included some version of this question; and with good reason. Before getting involved with anyone, you want to know they handle conflict well. How much sense does it make to wait until conflict happens to then find out what type of crazy they are? Now of course they are unlikely to just come out and admit, “Yes I’m stubborn, petty and have anger management issues.” But when it comes to conflict, there are 3 types of people; those who avoid, those who escalate and those who resolve. If the other person cannot present some believable instances of resolving past conflicts, we can dodge a major bullet by walking away before finding out the hard way. This would also be a good time for us to assess how we ourselves deal with conflict.

Why did your last job end/ relationship end? Many employers ask this question during an interview and we figure it is merely to see if we were fired. But often it is to see how we talk about our previous employer and if we learned anything during our time there. Just the same, asking why the previous relationship ended is not to find out who was dumped. It is an opportunity to see how the person speaks about their ex and if they learned any lessons. If they present themselves as a perfect angel and their ex was the cause of every problem, it shows they do not take accountability for their part in the relationship (which means they will repeat the same mistakes with you). And if they dish the down and dirty about their ex to someone they barely know, you can be sure they will someday do the same to you. It may also be a chance to gauge if they are even over their ex.

Why should I hire you/ begin a relationship with you?
I believe this is one of the most important interview questions to ask for several reasons. For one, this requires the other person to talk about what they bring to the table. But ever more importantly, we now have a chance to see how they view themselves. Do they seem conceited, humble, self-aware, entitled or possessive? Do they have a poor self-image or expect us to rescue them? Can they actually talk about what they have to offer, or only focus on what we can do for them? And please do not go for the extra mushy, “I will love you better than everyone else” line. In my opinion, such statements are actually quite arrogant. We should not look for the perfect speech because everyone cannot articulate themselves well. But what you are looking for is someone who is genuine and honest.

If I hire you, where do you see yourself in 2 years/where do you see us in 2 years?
I know this sounds like asking someone about their 5 year plan, but we are not. As with most other interview questions, there is an ulterior motive here. We are really asking what goals they have for the relationship. And yes, 2 years with someone should be more than enough time to decide whether or not to make a permanent commitment. In fact, this question is not quite as threatening as directly asking if they want marriage, children, a change in locations, etc…. But more than anything else, it reveals why they are even dating in the first place. Believe me, you want to know if someone wants to settle down or just have fun in the beginning. Whipping out ultimatums later on only reveals something about us. What it reveals is we assumed we both had the same goals, though never bothered to ask. It is unfair to claim someone lead us on, if we never questioned their intentions.

I know when first meeting someone, you may worry interview questions can scare them off. But if a few honest questions about their intentions scares them away, are you not better off? They clearly were not serious about wanting to be with you if they consider these questions too much to handle. Most people go through months and years of dating to find out this very information. But life is too short to avoid asking real questions because we want a few months of ignorant bliss.

What is the point of asking a bunch of questions about favorite movies and foods, if we fail to learn about their character? Assessing character should always be the goal of giving your date an interview. And if you find you just cannot bring yourself to ask such questions out of fear they will not accept you, then you need to answer a much more important question. Why do you believe you are ready for a relationship?

By Corey Dorsey

Image by Dako