What do recruiting and dating have in common?

So you’ve lined up that first date – from viewing each others’ profiles, maybe connecting through a mutual acquaintance, exchanging messages, maybe chatting online for a while, but now if the big moment!   Will it be love at first sight? Is this “the one”? Nerves frayed, feeling red-faced and flustered, but also excited – who knows what will happen next?

Did you think I was talking about the perfect date? Really?  I was actually talking about going for an interview for your dream job!  Take a moment to re-read the first paragraph – not so different, huh?!  In this week’s post, I draw on dating analogies to help you make a better impression with those you meet wishing to join your team.

Connection made: It’s really boring trawling through a bucket-load of CVs.  After the 4th, 5th, 20th, they all seem to start to merge into one.  It’s a challenge to remind yourself that beyond the resumé, there’s a real person with feelings, personality and potentially the perfect match for your vacancy.  Once you have decided who you do want to meet, move quickly, whilst you still remember what drew you to their CV.  Make the connection and show them you are keen to know more.

First impressions: From the words you (or your recruiter) uses to give the thumbs up for the date, to the interview instructions, to the building lobby and receptionist for your company, before you even set eyes on the candidate, they have had a chance to start to assess you.  I have lost count of the number of times that I have had an interview postponed, or the interviewer turned up late, so it’s something I never do to people I interview. Why? What would you feel if your date cancelled your first meeting or arrived 40 minutes late with no legitimate reason? EXACTLY!   Be really mindful of that first impression, because you can only make it once!

What next and when? After that first date, everyone tries to second guess how the other person felt, and it always feels worse if you feel like you made a connection.  Don’t leave them waiting too long, if you liked them, why don’t you at least give them a positive sign or message?  Too many businesses follow their rigid process in terms of candidate feedback rather than taking a more human (and timely) approach.

Rain check or blow off?  We’ve all met interview candidates where we just weren’t sure if they are right – can’t quite explain why, because the CV looks just right, but something says that they aren’t the right fit.  Likewise, most people have sat through an interview and then hoped to NOT hear from the company, because although the role and the package are spot on, something else doesn’t feel right.  If it were a date, we’d invariably be more inclined to go with our feelings and move forward to the date number 2 (or close things down quickly).

So why is it that many businesses leave candidates dangling whilst they work through internal process, then tell the successful candidate, only to eventually let the “rejects” knows a while later?  Doesn’t help the impression of the business, and doesn’t help the morale of the candidates.  Be clearer on your desired outcomes up front, then be decisive once you’ve met the candidates so you can move quickly to make an offer and notify those who did not make it through.

Plenty more fish: So the person who you thought was a perfect fit blows you off?  Perhaps they got a better offer.  Perhaps they simply used you to leverage a better package where they currently work.  Like dating, recruiting the right people for the right roles mean that sometimes you need to face rejection.  There’s little value in dwelling on what could have been, or feeling despondent and heart-broken.  If it wasn’t to be, it wasn’t to be.  Use the time and energy to see what you might change or refine for your next big date!

If, with the new year, your business has opened up those much needed recruiting requisitions, or perhaps you have “use it or loose it” budget that you need to spend before tax year end, as you go out to market to fill your vacancies and grow your team, think long and hard about the impression you and your business makes.  Candidates are just as savvy as you, and just like on a date, they’ll be judging what you do, and how in much the same way that you are assessing them!

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