The Dating Game

For years I have equated the recruiting and interview/hiring process to dating and marriage. My analogies usually result in a chuckle on the other end of the line, but not surprisingly the comparisons resonate.

Let’s face it, recruiting is like finding the best match on a dating site. Screening, sizing up, introductions, coffee/lunch, chemistry and the crucial moment during the conversation where you say, I want to go the next step with this one!

First interviews with a prospective employer are akin to first dates. Preparation, looking your best (which suit? new hair cut? practicing the smile in front of the mirror maybe?), meeting the individual you might spend the next few years or a lifetime with, etc. All the while assessing, testing, asking probing questions and wondering, do they like me? Do I like them? Will there be a second date? Haven’t we all had a blind date or interview that went so well you walk away floating on air or one that went awry the minute you walked in the door?

And like any courtship, there are doubts, strategies and how to land the one you want! With budding relationship, the hiring process is a series of conversations, testing and ultimately chemistry. After all, you’re considering making a commitment to a potential new employer and kids (if you’re managing), where you’ll be spend more daylight hours with than with your own family. Candidates worry about time demands, leaving their old relationship for the new, managing the break up from their current situation, the financial well-being of their potential new partner and if they’re attracted to what the other side has to offer.

Clients love to pursue those who belong to someone else, enjoy the chase, expect to be desired, and flash their goods, i.e. successes and future stability. If after the second or third date/interview, both parties have fallen, than potentially there’s a ring and sometimes a pre-nuptial put in place, before the contract is signed.

And once that commitment is made your former suitor still expects you to work at the relationship. And you, the newly married hope you’ve made the right choice. I know I’m simplifying here, but any good partnership, whether it’s work or marriage, requires dedication, staying power, weathering the rough spots and sometimes a little counseling. If the foundation is strong, a few good years may be ahead.

And like any good marriage, clients still look for the candidate willing to commit for the long-term, for loyalty and stability. So if your resume is loaded with lots of short-term relationships, don’t be surprised if the new suitor is gun shy! The old fashioned rules still apply, even in this volatile, hi-divorce rate, lay-off prone world we live in.

And if/when there is a break up – be kind, be professional – both sides have a reputation at stake. Do unto employers/employees as you would have done to you. It’s all part of  the dating/interview game!