Why Recruiting is Like Dating

Apr 10, 2013   //   by Jay   //   Blog, Recruiting, Talent Acquisition  //  No Comments

Finding the right candidate for a position can be a tough process filled with numerous pitfalls and formalities. A wrong decision early in the process can lead to misunderstandings and awkward conversations between the hiring manager and the candidate during the final stages of the hiring process. In a sense, recruiting is like dating for a professional partner. The employers and job seekers are both looking for mutually beneficial relationships that fulfill each other’s needs. Finding the right person who has similar personalities, goals, and interests can be a challenge when you don’t know where to start. As with any game, dating or recruiting, it is helpful to have a solid strategy.

Understand Your Goals
Dating is a disaster if you don’t have a solid understanding of who you are. Without a firm grasp of your identity, it is difficult to envision, nevertheless, find your ideal partner. You need to spend time and create a map that outlines your values, future goals, deficiencies, and non-negotiable. Evaluating your situation and having a clear understanding of your needs is vital to representing yourself in the most positive light and marketing your brand to attract the best partner (candidate). Likewise, a strategic recruiter will research the open position in order to get a full picture of what an ideal candidate may look like and how they will fit into the company.

Develop and Execute Your Strategy
After you know exactly what you’re looking for, it’s time to devise a plan to find the right person. Ideally, this strategy will minimize both time and resources. In the dating world, individuals will typically follow the same procedures as a seasoned recruiter. Relationship seekers may ask their friends to set them up (ask for referrals), visit singles hot spots (job fairs), connect on social media (networking), search the dating websites (job boards), or even casually (possibly franticly) look through their little black book of names (internal candidate database). Although relationship seekers and recruiters should exploit all available resources, recruiters need to be cognizant of their time constrains and utilize resources that maximize their return on investment. Throughout the whole process it is important for recruiters to differentiate themselves from the competition since talented candidates are never on the market for long.

The Initial Contact
Serious relationship seekers need to initiate the first contact. If someone catches your attention, you need to walk over and introduce yourself. Initial contact should be friendly and welcoming. It may be tempting to aggressively pursue your target and state your intentions quickly, but that approach may scare the person away. You must restrain your excitement and practice some finesse in developing rapport with the individual first. For many attractive individuals, they are constantly inundated by suitors and you are most likely not the first person who has approached them. Differentiating yourself from the competition is vital to translating your initial contact into a date. Similarly, recruiters need to build rapport with candidates within their initial conversation before introducing any open positions or employment inquiries. An aggressive sales mentality will relegate you into the same group as telemarketers or other recruiters rather than piquing the candidate’s interest in your unique career opportunity. Finesse will distinguish you as a professional.

Candidate Assessment
The first date is the “getting to know you” stage where everyone is a little apprehensive to share too much information. In your excitement you may be tempted to believe that you have found the perfect person, but it’s important to remember that this is only the first date and you don’t know anything about the person yet. They may say all the right things and lead you to believe that your search is over, however, you should remember that a first date always showcases everyone’s best attributes. Likewise, recruiters need to be objective in their first interview the candidate. Similar to a first date, an initial interview may not cover all the nuances of the person’s work experience and knowledge. If you’re impressed by the candidate after the first interview, schedule a second conversation with them to delve further into their professional background. Similar to dating, you need to meet the candidates several times before making any employment decisions. As a professional recruiter, you need to utilize all the resources at your disposal like background checks, soft skills evaluation, technical skills evaluation, and reference checks to qualify the best candidates.

The Offer and Placement
After a few successful dates, there may be an awkward period where each party doesn’t know if they are in a relationship. You may be prompted (or forced) to have “The Talk” where you would “Define the Relationship”. It is extremely important to be very clear with your intentions for the relationship. Any miscommunication during this period can have catastrophic consequences for everyone involved. The recruiting world can have an equally dramatic period during the hiring process. Any misleading actions by a recruiter or a candidate may have ramifications that extend far beyond the open position. Relationships between the recruiter and the client can be jeopardized if there is a communications failure with the candidate. If the proper steps were followed leading up to the job offer, there shouldn’t be any surprises in the candidate’s reaction to the offer. Recruiters need to be very forthcoming with their candidates about the likelihood of a job offer, expectations if an offer is made, and the terms of employment. In the unfortunate event that the candidate turns down the job offer, the recruiter should keep the connection positive, professional, and viable. Unlike in dating, it is not advisable to burn any bridges with the candidate and figuratively (or literally) burn their employment files. Although that candidate may not have chosen your position, they can become a great asset for future openings and possibly refer you to someone else just as qualified.

Following Up
After a long courtship process you are finally in a relationship with the perfect partner. Although your hard work has paid off, you’re not in the clear yet. Relationships need to be maintained and communications cannot cease simply because you’ve “locked” your partner into the relationship. Although you may believe the relationship will last forever, in reality the partner can become dissatisfied at any time and leave the union. Although the recruiting world differs slightly in the amount of communications that need to be maintained with the employee after they start working, it is still very important to continuously communicate with your employee to make sure they are happy. Just as in dating, nobody likes to go through a break-up after investing so much work into the relationship.

There are many parallels between recruiting and dating. Although the comparisons were occasionally comical in nature, there are similarities between the underlying process of developing personal and professional relationships. By following a clear recruiting strategy that mimics a process that everyone is familiar with, new and seasoned recruiters should be able to able to utilize their personal expertise in their professional lives.

Image courtesy of [Ohmmy3d] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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