Love is in the air, and we don’t just mean flowers and chocolate. In honor of Valentine’s Day, we put together a list of six ways recruiting is like dating—and tips for nailing the first date.
You’ll recognize most of this advice from your dating days. And even if you haven’t played the field in a while, remember that successful dating means evaluating the other person to see if they’re a fit, while also making them feel like a million bucks.
6 Ways Recruiting Is Like Dating
You have specific goals when you go on a date. Maybe you’re looking for marriage material. Or maybe you just want a fun person to hang out with. In either case, the process will follow the same basic pattern—just like recruiting:
- Set your minimum criteria. Make a short list of deal-breakers that will disqualify a candidate from the position. You do this in dating without even realizing it, but those qualities are always in the back of your mind. As a recruiter, you may be looking for specific experience, education, or management skills.
- Make yourself attractive. Who hasn’t spent time and money trying on different outfits or getting a new haircut for a special date? You do it because you want to make the right first impression. In recruiting, we call this employer branding. Your goal is to realistically present your company as an attractive place to work so the right candidates will consider taking the next step.
- Meet the right people. There are lots of ways to meet people—parties, group activities with friends, online dating sites, and even blind dates. Recruiting has its equivalent for these opportunities as well—networking events, conferences, social recruiting and job boards, and employee referrals. The best way to meet the right person is to stay active in as many of these venues as possible. When you restrict yourself to just one venue, you limit your opportunity for new introductions.
- Set up the first date. The first date is all about discovery—finding out whether you want to move forward toward a relationship. In recruiting, the first date is the interview. The interview gives both parties an opportunity to see if there is chemistry. If there is, you can move forward with the next step.
- Communicate! Everyone hates that feeling of thinking a date has gone really well and then being met with silence for the next two weeks. The same is true with candidates. Be respectful of their time by following up quickly and responding to their emails. Even if you weren’t impressed at the interview, it’s not fair to leave the candidate hanging. Their resume may be just one in a stack of possibilities to you, but their livelihood is on the line.
- Maintain the relationship for long-term success. Let’s say you’ve successfully navigated a dating relationship and you’re ready to tie the knot. Would your spouse-to-be appreciate it if you suddenly quit investing in the relationship the moment the vows were over? It doesn’t work for marriage and it doesn’t work for employment either. Once you bring a candidate on board, continue investing in his or her long-term success with a strategic onboarding program, mentorship, engaging culture, and opportunities for growth.
Tips for Nailing the First Date
Everyone knows there are things you do and don’t do on a first date. Recruiting is no different. Here are some of our best tips for nailing the first date/interview:
- Don’t reschedule at the last minute. It sends the message that you don’t respect the candidate’s time.
- Be present. Don’t answer the phone, check texts, or leave the room.
- Keep the interview positive. Don’t talk about how badly you need to fill the position.
- Don’t badmouth previous employees.
- Save the offer for later in the process when you’ve gotten to know the candidate better. No one wants to get married after one date!
- Make sure you like the person. Even if the candidate meets all your qualifications on paper, he or she may not have the right personality or soft skills for your organization. And that’s okay.
When you marry someone—or hire them—you’ll be depending on them to pursue not only their own interests, but also yours. It’s a mutual contract that should benefit both parties. That’s why the recruiting process is so important. Hiring the right person for the job positions you for long-term success.
And that’s true for dating too.